Almost all companies have been subject to downsizing at one point or another. Even during periods of strong economic growth, sometimes the individual needs of companies in the short-term makes intermittent layoffs unavoidable. Following any downsizing activity, the question then becomes: How does a smaller group of people handle the same workload as before?
Today, the answer is advanced technology. We’ve had a number of property tax teams turn to our software after an organizational change impacted their staff. They’ve discovered that managing the details of business property tax doesn’t have to be as time-intensive as it once was, and that they can, in fact, do more with less. How does a simple software change have such a big impact? It’s all thanks to Industry 5.0 technologies (with a hat tip to Henry Ford).
Transforming Business Property Tax Practice With Advanced Technology
Industry 5.0—what is it? Most companies are still grappling with the implications of Industry 4.0, the fourth industrial revolution characterized by the use of machines and systems to automate production, but Industry 5.0 is already here. (Tweet this!) While robotic process automation (RPA) solutions were the centerpiece of Industry 4.0, Industry 5.0 emphasizes the collaboration of humans and computers in performing physical processes more efficiently. Smart process automation (SPA) is the evolution of RPA; it is the advanced version of automation that relies on both human intelligence and computers to enable a smarter automated workflow.
Translating Industry 2.0 Into Industry 5.0, Courtesy of Henry Ford
Note that even the revised theory of assembly still contains the human element—something that was missing from Industry 4.0. Why did it make a comeback? Because the lack of human involvement meant companies were simply automating ineffective processes with bad data. Scaling the human element back up will ultimately make us more efficient and effective.
Wondering what other advanced technologies could give your tax team a competitive advantage? Download our whitepaper on tax trends to find out.
So how does all this come into play with property tax software?
Software that utilizes SPA allows computers to communicate with each other and with humans in real time, increasing the accuracy of output and the efficiency of the process. For business property tax, that means utilizing the power of computers and the intelligence of people to automate the repetitive and time-consuming task of data entry. (Read about how one company switched to our software and was able to manage the same compliance workload with six people where it once had 20.)
How these concepts are applied in MetaTaskerPT, our advanced business property tax software...
- RPA is a “software robot” that mimics human physical activity tasks that don’t require knowledge or human understanding. For example, computers can be programmed logically to enter your structured tax data into a database because the progression of action is clear: If a particular condition or set of conditions exist, then the computer is directed to do something in response. MetaTaskerPT enters your structured tax data (standardized, or in a table with defined fields) easily and quickly into your system using RPA.
- More often than not, there are exceptions within a process that can’t be answered by simple business logic and require a more cognitive answer from a person. When a computer is unsure of its decision making, our software is programmed to escalate the issue to the “human in the loop.” This person (or group of people) is tasked specifically to handle exceptions, “labeling” data in cases where there are questions. (Read more about that process here.)
- Those person-provided answers are then used to “teach” the computer to learn using algorithms. Using the algorithms, computers can learn to predict what a human might answer in certain instances, helping them to perform the activity with a greater degree of accuracy and speed. This is called “machine learning,” and it’s especially useful when applied to tax documents, which are highly unstructured by nature, via MetaTaskerPT.
Smart process automation is the key to doing more with less. It’s the reason why another one of our clients’ newly downsized teams—from eight staff members to three—switched to MetaTaskerPT and is still able to manage compliance successfully.
“Houston, we have a problem”—Why Some RPA Projects Fail
The main problem is data quality. Experts say that 80-90% of business-relevant data is in a complex or “unstructured” form, and it’s growing by half annually, leaving less than 20% of the data produced today as ready for detailed analysis. Robots are great at managing structured data but have limitations when labeling unstructured data, like tax bills and notices. That last step noted above—machine learning—is expensive expertise to build internally and requires a significant amount of clean data prepared by a human team to be accurate. As a result, a large portion of data is discarded, never analyzed, or transformed at a very high cost.
MetaTaskerPT delivers on-demand data services that integrate seamlessly with your workflows, so your data is automatically labeled using our proprietary machine learning algorithms. As a result, MetaTaskerPT users benefit from having clean, structured data to work with. So not only can they accomplish tasks faster, they also have more time to concentrate on doing high-level tax work that delivers real value for their organization.
Looking for a way to handle a shrinking tax team—and a growing workload?
CrowdReason software can help. Companies that utilize our advanced business property tax software decrease the time they spend on data entry and increase the time they spend reducing their company’s tax assessments. If you’re interested in seeing how the software works, schedule a demo session with us today.