3M Automates Depreciation and Saves 325 Hours

Challenge

3M’s depreciation process posed multiple challenges for the team. They collected data from several sources including SAP, PeopleSoft, and Oracle; expansive Excel workbooks; and BNA Fixed Assets software.

Manually aggregating huge datasets and standardizing different formats cost the team valuable time. They lost more hours manually reconciling fixed asset data to the general ledger. And, they lacked an efficient process for importing data and adjustments into Corptax where Forms 4562 and 4797 would be auto-populated.

With so much moving, tracking, and analyzing data by hand, the process lacked oversight, posed risks to accuracy causing potential rework, and negatively affected staff morale.

Solution

The 3M team created a process improvement plan to:

  1. Generate book and tax fixed asset roll-forwards from source systems and compute resulting Schedule M adjustments for depreciation and gain/loss on fixed asset dispositions using Alteryx.
  2. Push data directly into Corptax from Alteryx via the CSC Corptax® Connector for Alteryx.
  3. Reduce the current 500-hour manual process for preparers and reviewers
  4. Improve overall accuracy and controls with respect to the general ledger and depreciation process

They executed the plan by first documenting and mapping existing processes through workpaper reviews and interviews with preparers.

Next, they developed Alteryx workflows to aggregate data from sources and produce fixed asset roll-forward schedules for book and tax that also computed related Schedule M adjustments.

And finally, they used the Corptax Connector for Alteryx to rapidly push Schedule M adjustments for book/tax depreciation and gain/loss differences directly into Corptax.

Results

3M declared the project a huge success. In the words of Tax Technology Specialist Mary Beth Racca,

The ability to use Corptax Connectors was very valuable. We were able to push data through to forms and post the Schedule M adjustments for all relevant entities. We made any changes needed in seconds. The project helped us learn the Connector, and we apply it to a variety of other return applications.”

With the new process in place, 3M estimates a time-savings of:

  • 325 hours (65%) compared to their manual process

They also point to significant improvements in quality control as they:

  • Reduce manual touchpoints
  • Automate reconciliation with the general ledger
  • Efficiently reconcile return amounts back to the fixed asset roll-forward calculation

3M’s new depreciation process is repeatable, scalable, and runs in a fraction of the time with negligible risk. The experience helped the team identify further areas for process improvement, so automation benefits continue to accrue.

They also appreciate having more time to spend on value-adding initiatives and getting home before dark during busy season!

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