Google Workspace Results
Reduced average audit completion time by 35‑40%
• New auditors can be trained in six months instead of almost five years
through centralized, automated internal processes
• The Fiscal Audit Department received first place nationally (2021 TGS) for effectiveness, efficiency and compliance of tax regulations
• Complete audits 35% to 40% faster
Higher-income countries collect over 30% of their GDP in taxes, while lower- and middle-income countries manage to collect only 15—20%. This gap hurts developing countries, as lower tax revenues mean less money to spend on public goods and services. In 2021, the Mexican Congress passed tax reforms, focusing on increasing the state’s tax collection capacities, spurning tax increases in favor of making administrative improvements, closing loopholes, and implementing faster auditing procedures.
With more than 6.1M people, Guanajuato is the sixth most populous Mexican state, and its government has been an early adopter of cloud technologies, being the first state in the country to move to Google Workspace. With 100,000 employees across 14,000 locations, the State of Guanajuato has been using a range of Google Workspace solutions for meetings, email, and secure storage and sharing of documents using Google Drive. By the time the Mexican tax reforms were passed, Guanajuato’s Fiscal Audit Department had already been exploring how Google Workspace tools could be applied to improving their tax auditing capabilities.
Automating data sharing between forms and documents reduces repetitive work
“We needed to give everyone tools that were fast, consistent, and easy to use, so they could spend more time thinking like tax experts.” -- Dr. Carlos Alberto Martínez Tenorio, General Director of the Fiscal Audit of the Ministry of Finance, Investment and Administration, State of Guanajuato
For most people, “complicated, time-consuming, and error-prone” are just a few words that come to mind when talking about filing their taxes. Most Mexican citizens have only experienced this from the side of the submitter, yet those performing the audits face even greater levels of complexity.
A single audit requires the submission of around 150 official forms and documents. Certain pieces of information such as names, addresses, taxpayer ID, income and expense figures need to be entered across multiple forms.
The State of Guanajuato’s auditors were spending too much of their time inputting repetitive information, instead of using their specialized tax knowledge. “We needed to give everyone tools that were fast, consistent, and easy to use, so they could spend more time thinking like tax experts,” says Dr. Carlos Alberto Martínez Tenorio, General Director of the Fiscal Audit of the Ministry of Finance, Investment and Administration, State of Guanajuato.
At the beginning of 2020, the General Director and his team of tax professionals began the year-long process of standardizing, automating, and connecting approximately 200 tax documents and forms using Google Sheets and Google Docs. Now that the forms are interlinked, data entered into one document is instantly replicated everywhere else it’s required. Additional centralized documents now store fiscal information that can change from year to year, so any changes can be applied centrally and then automatically reflected across every other form.
The design and automation process took approximately one year. Next, small groups were invited to do a trial run and learn how to use the new system for audits while Dr. Tenorio’s team of experts checked that the automated processes were providing the correct results. At the beginning of 2022, the tools were rolled out for live use across four offices for almost 300 active users.
Freeing Guanajuato’s auditors and accountants from these repetitive, manual tasks means their time at work can now be spent using their financial skills. “With Google Workspace, our standard forms do the work and we can focus on analyzing the financial data,” says Dr. Tenorio. “We can complete audits 35% to 40% faster and have been able to raise six times as much revenue in some tax categories than in previous years.” Completing audits faster and more efficiently has allowed the Fiscal Audit Department to greatly increase its total audit capacity without expanding its budget or its team numbers.
Standardized processes speed up onboarding and improve efficiency
“With Google Workspace, our standard forms do the work and we can focus on analyzing financial data. We can complete audits 35% to 40% faster and raise six times as much revenue in some categories.” -- Dr. Carlos Alberto Martínez Tenorio, General Director of the Fiscal Audit of the Ministry of Finance, Investment and Administration, State of Guanajuato
Automating these internal processes has had ripple effects on the rest of the organization. Whereas previously much of this knowledge was siloed within teams or with individual auditors, having a centralized system means that the knowledge is shared, allowing new auditors to be trained much faster. “What used to take a person five years to learn, now takes just six months,” says Dr. Tenorio.
Dr. Tenorio and his team were able to implement the automation with Google Workspace tools, without needing to invest in new hardware or software systems. “All the work is theirs. We gave them very little advice,” Rodrigo Duran Chagoya, Director of IT, State of Guanajuato explains. “Dr. Tenorio’s work saved us more or less a year of time that our Department can spend on other priorities.”
The State of Guanajuato’s Fiscal Audit Department also performs better when it is assessed by its own regulators. In 2021, Guanajuato achieved first place nationally in the Global Evaluation Board (TGS), an index where the federal Mexican authorities measure how effectively, efficiently, and compliantly each state performs on the fiscal audit function. With a score of 99.7 out of 100, Guanajuato achieved an almost-perfect mark. This has helped increase public trust in the state, reassuring citizens that funds are being collected and used transparently.
Secure data storage for tax auditors and taxpayers
Tax-related identity theft puts taxpayers at risk of fraud if their data is exposed, costing millions of dollars a year in the US alone. Theft of tax professionals’ hardware is one way such a data breach can occur. With Google Drive, the State of Guanajuato is able to keep sensitive information in government-owned shared drives, securely controlling access and protecting both tax-payer and tax-auditor details.
All the financial information and standardized forms and documents are available with an internet connection and an employee’s Google Workspace account credentials. Auditing work can be performed remotely with the same ease and security as it can at the office, while taxpayers know that their data can be instantly wiped from a device if a theft is reported.
Embracing an innovative mindset
“We’ve been able to achieve goals with Google Workspace that we could not have achieved otherwise. But technology just establishes the opportunity. What’s most important is the drive to innovate and improve.” ‑‑ Dr. Carlos Alberto Martínez Tenorio, General Director of the Fiscal Audit of the Ministry of Finance, Investment and Administration, State of Guanajuato
What’s next for the State of Guanajuato? The Fiscal Audit Department will continue improving its new tools, especially automating the standardization process of tax documents and forms which currently takes place manually. Further ahead, these systems could be shared with other states nationally. For Dr. Tenorio, the technological tools are only one piece of the puzzle. He wants his teams to keep using innovation and automation when solving problems.
“We’ve been able to achieve goals with Google Workspace that we could not have achieved otherwise,” says Dr. Tenorio. “But technology just establishes the opportunity. What’s most important is the drive to innovate and improve.”
*Google Workspace was formerly known as G Suite prior to Oct. 6, 2020.