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From the Middle East to Asia and Africa, Dubai-based Al-Futtaim Automotive offers a full spectrum of automotive solutions for both private customers and commercial interests. Its service offering encompasses every aspect of the automotive value chain from passenger cars, commercial vehicles, construction equipment sales and auto logistics, to used car sales, auto leasing and rentals which has a widespread and well-developed distribution network. Their finance department uses Alteryx for several solutions, including reconciliation and validation of over 300,000 transactions a month. This way they can comply with the United Arab Emirates’ new tax law while saving 8 work days a month.
Describe the business challenge or problem you needed to solve
Since 2018, when the UAE implemented a value added tax (VAT) at a standard rate of 5%, companies have had to include the VAT in their final prices and in the invoices. Those who fail to comply face governance and compliance issues
Al-Futtaim Automotive makes over 300,000 tax applicable transactions every month with different customers and suppliers and they need to verify that every transaction complies with the new laws and regulations. They must fix any non-compliant transactions before filing their taxes. Their finance department was verifying these transactions using Excel, but it was a lengthy and cumbersome process.
Describe your working solution
Al-Futtaim Automotive’s finance department extracts data from multiple data sources, connecting directly to SAP ERP, then cross references these with master data such as customers’ & vendors’ information with the transaction dataset. Using Alteryx Designer and the various tools, they customize their analysis to simulate different true or false scenarios. Ahmed Hatim Fatepurwala, Finance Manager, and his team created an Alteryx workflow that automatically extracts and analyzes each transaction to see whether they are right or need to be corrected.
“We put rules in the Formula tool to validate and segregate the data in terms of true or false cases, and we also add rules to analyze why these false scenarios are happening,” Ahmed said. This would then allow them to prevent such mistakes from happening again in the subsequent months. Once they run the workflow, they send the output generated in dashboards to the company’s Finance Head & CFO, so they can authorize the payments and file the taxes.
The finance department has around 70 people, and different teams within the department use Alteryx. Each team, has its own directory on Alteryx Server where they share Alteryx workflows and apps. “Our first project with Alteryx was a risk and compliance project, and from there we have used it for automation in other areas and data analysis. We have a lot of complex accounts reconciliation in our organization, and we were able to automate many of these,” Ahmed said.
His next Alteryx project that he is excited about is to be able to forecast & predict. “New and used car pricing has a complex relationship with lot of variables and categories of data such as mileage, condition, model year etc. We would want to attempt to simulate price points that entice customers to buy used cars at any particular point in time. Such insights is going to be a game changer in the long run.” he added.
Describe the benefits you have achieved
In a month, Al-Futtaim Automotive’s finance department saved 8 days of work using their Alteryx solution. Ahmed said that “Alteryx is a great value-add. It allows us to concentrate more on actionable items. Now our time frame allow us to focus on solving the root cause of problems because the processing with Alteryx is so much faster.”
In addition, “our usage of Alteryx is split among automation, compliance, and analytics. Automation allows us to save energy; we don’t spend too much time anymore doing manual tedious labor. Compliance is critical from an external perspective, and it’s time sensitive. Analytics is something that now we are starting on so we can produce value out of data,” he said.
Ahmed’s favorite thing about Alteryx is that “I can see the user independence in my team. One person can simply hand the workflow to another person. It is very smart and visual. It’s been an exciting journey of automation and analytics.”