Case Study

Switching From Manual Provision Calcs to Bloomberg Tax’s Timesaving Automation

October 16, 2023
Switching From Manual Provision Calcs to Bloomberg Tax’s Timesaving Automation

A mid-sized pharmacy services company operating across the United States and Puerto Rico has grown significantly over the past eight years, resulting in near-constant changes and updates to its tax position. See why they made the switch from a manual Excel-centered process to Bloomberg Tax Provision plus Bloomberg Tax Workpapers for automated peace of mind.

[Download our Buyer’s Guide to Tax Provision Software for a helpful step-by-step process for evaluating tax software.]

Challenge: Too much time spent on manual processes that result in a year-end headache

As at many mid-sized companies with a tax department of one, the tax director has to manage a lot of work in the most efficient way possible. While the company does outsource some tax work, and their auditor plays a more active role in reviewing the tax director’s work, she still finds herself with more work than hours to do it.

This is especially true for calculating her provision each month, which she estimates amounts to about 20% of her workload. She also found herself spending too much time trying to get her rate rec right at year-end.

“I’m not given a whole lot of time to get that work done,” she said. “Anybody in tax will tell you – it takes three weeks to do, but they only give me two hours to do it.”

In addition to efficiency, accuracy is her top priority. Because it is a private equity-owned company, the reporting numbers are carefully reviewed and can have a big impact on the growth and direction of the company as a whole.

She was relying on an Excel spreadsheet for provision, which meant a lot of manual data entry, flipping back and forth between tabs, and searching through cells to figure out where the errors might be.

“It would take me a couple of days to roll my Excel workbook over from one year to the next year, and I was always worried about whether I copied and pasted everything correctly,” she said.

The tax director knew she needed a better system, but the provision solutions she was familiar with were all out of her budget.

“I rely a lot on our external advisors and it doesn’t make sense for me to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a provision software,” she said.

What she found in Bloomberg Tax Provision was the software she needed at the price she wanted.

“To be able to get a tool in my hands for the price that Bloomberg Tax offered was huge,” she said. “To get that much more accuracy, that much more information for the price – I could sell that to my boss.”

[Download our Buyer’s Guide to Tax Provision Software for a helpful step-by-step process for evaluating tax software.]

Solution: Instant, accurate provision calculations with Bloomberg Tax

When she started using Bloomberg Tax Provision, the first thing that appealed to her was the ability to instantly and accurately roll over her workpapers month to month and year to year. What used to take her days was done in seconds without any manual copying and pasting.

“I calculate the provision every month and now there is a lot more I can do upfront,” she said. “With Excel, you would have to compare notebooks to notebooks, and with the provision software, a lot of that information is just in that one provision. It rolls forward all of that information year to year. The fact that I can go to that and see what’s happened in the past, see what notices we’ve gotten, see what payments we’ve made, and have all that information at my fingertips – that is exciting to me.”

In fact, she keeps her Bloomberg Tax Provision software open beyond the one time each month when she’s calculating provision.

“I use it for extensions, I use it for estimates, I use it for just tracking where we are, making notes and putting information in there as it happens,” she said. “It’s a very good repository of all of that information.”

The other functionality that was particularly attractive to the company was the ability to easily add a new state or company.

“As we’re growing and going through acquisitions, I can add in a company just by putting in their tax returns and limited amount of information and all of the rest rolls together like it’s supposed to without having to reconfigure my whole workbook,” she said. “It takes just a few seconds versus what I was having to do in the past. That’s probably my biggest timesaver.”

[Request a demo to see how Bloomberg Tax Provision automates complex calculations for accurate provisions that always tie out.]

Automated data prep to expedite the entire provision life cycle

By making the move to Bloomberg Tax, the tax director was able to improve her overall workpaper process with automated data transformation.

The Bloomberg Tax Workpapers tool consumes her raw trial balance data from NetSuite, cleanses it into a format that is usable for computing M adjustment amounts, and then maps those amounts to her tax provision. Instead of copying and pasting the values into the provision, the tax director is now able to use the integration with her provision software to reduce risk related to manual data entry.

It also saves time transforming NetSuite data into a usable format.

“The way NetSuite is set up, it puts out separate balance sheet and profit and loss statements instead of a single trial balance,” she said. “I would have to take the balance sheet, take the P&L, adjust the P&L signs, add those together, and then go back company by company to put retained earnings in there. I don’t have to do that anymore.”

Now, Blomberg Tax Workpapers automatically consolidates the separate financials into one cleansed trial balance, making it easy to identify new accounts and perform calculations like pre-tax income and change in balance year over year.

While implementation of other software can often be a burden on small tax departments, the tax director found the process with Bloomberg Tax to be quick and painless.

“I knew that our situation was a little bit unique in the way that we pulled things together, but the Bloomberg Tax team was excellent,” she said. “Things were explained to me very clearly. It only took a week in total to get everything set up and running.”

Results: Time savings at year-end, plus auditor-ready reports

One of the most immediate timesavers this tax director has found in using the Bloomberg Tax software is the intuitive design and data display.

“We’ve got three main companies that are taxpayers and I can see them side by side rather than going back to a tab and then have to go back to another tab to see totals,” she said. “I can see what’s happening within each company, all on one screen.”

This not only allows her to easily see all her data and provision information in one place, but also to quickly pinpoint any errors.

“If my entry doesn’t balance, I can zero in on which account is not right a little quicker,” she said. “I can change it from that screen and not have to go back to another screen and add three things up to figure out which one is out.”

In the absence of a tool, (m-adjustment calculations) were probably taking me 45 minutes to an hour, and now it’s 15 minutes.

When it comes to her m-adjustment calculations in particular, she estimates the automation has decreased her time spent by at least 60%.

“In the absence of a tool, that process was probably taking me 45 minutes to an hour, and now it’s 15 minutes,” she said.

Overall, the combination of Bloomberg Tax Provision software and Bloomberg Tax Workpapers data transformation has enabled her to work smarter – saving her time and giving her more confidence in the accuracy of her reporting.

“I feel much better that we’re calculating month to month and not having this big struggle year- end to try to get that done,” she said. “I think at year-end it will save me a considerable amount of time, and I’ll have a package that I can give to our auditors and say, ‘Here’s everything.’”

[Request a demo to see how Bloomberg Tax Workpapers can streamline workflows, eliminate manual data entry, and keep your tax provision calculations accurate and up to date.]

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