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Automated Notification System Ensures Tax Reporting is Timely at a Local Non-Profit

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Automated Notification System Ensures Tax Reporting is Timely at a Local Non-Profit

Challenge

Our client, a Seattle-based non-profit organization, must align with tax regulations in multiple countries in order to maintain its non-profit status globally. Due to the complexity of juggling multiple tax codes, the organization was missing deadlines even with the use of a standard SharePoint task list. Simply connecting tasks to Outlook wasn’t sufficient for ensuring compliance with the numerous weekly, monthly and quarterly tax requirements.

Plaster Group was tasked with developing a notification solution that would provide automated scheduling and sufficient reminders using out of box technology. Consultants needed to develop adequate tools and processes to automate our client’s finance group workflows, reduce the need for managerial oversight, and eliminate the missed deadlines.

Approach

Plaster Group met with our client’s finance group to:

• Identify personnel responsible for tasks associated with tax code compliance that require notification of impending deadlines
• Combine the international tax requirements of our client’s teams to develop a schedule of important delivery dates many years in advance
• Identify how many reminders would be necessary, and to whom, and iterate to find balance between too few and too many notifications

Plaster Group consultants advocated for delivering fewer, more poignant notifications so that they would be simultaneously visible and valued among our client’s employees and demonstrated the out of box SharePoint functionality that could create the necessary solution.

Solution

Plaster Group consultants developed and implemented a standard SharePoint workflow to email separate reminders at specific times before and after task due dates. Key features included:

• Early Reminders - email notifications sent from the task to the responsible team member thirty days before the upcoming due date, prompting action
• Follow-up Notification - email reminders sent from the task to the responsible team member immediately after a missed due date
• Management Assistance - email escalation sent to the responsible team member’s leader if the task is still open thirty days after a missed due date

Results

Using the workflow, team members now receive a consistent reminder of upcoming due dates, with sufficient time to plan and take action. In addition:

• Email prompts help task owners manage and close their tasks on a regular basis, improving process efficiency
• Automation ensures escalation happens without requiring task owner to initiate
• Since implementation, almost no deadlines have been missed

As such, our client’s tax compliance risk has been reduced across the entire enterprise, as have the risks to their non-profit status. Employees are able to perform their duties more easily and effectively.