The role of a corporate property tax manager is multifaceted and includes leading your tax team, training and mentoring staff members, consulting with upper management on complex tax matters, and building and maintaining relationships with other departments. Somehow in the midst of all this, you also need to be on top of:
- Compliance—identifying and adhering to state and local tax obligations
- Deadlines—remaining aware of the myriad of due dates that differ between localities
- Accuracy—ensuring your team has access to and is using the correct data and documentation
- Efficiency—creating a work environment that enables and encourages your team to be productive
With such a full plate, it can be easy for managers to get lost in day-to-day tasks and lose sight of the bigger picture. Below, Jordan Perri, tax director at Allyn International, offers a few insights from his own experience that can help you effectively manage your property tax team and keep operations running smoothly at the same time.
5 Tips For Successfully Managing Your Property Tax Team
1. Make team communication regular and frequent.
Communication is the cornerstone of any good team. The medium is less important as long as it’s occurring throughout the day, but Perri advises not to go too long without a synchronous meeting. It can be every week or every other week depending on the season and overall team workload, but you need a dedicated “true north” time for everyone to get on the same page about looming deadlines and high-priority tasks.
“Ideally, there’s near-constant information being shared among your team, whether in an email, through chat, or in a brief, 10-minute meeting,” says Perri. “This can help reduce important items falling through the cracks.”
2. Keep up with the industry (and your competitors).
There may be plenty to concern yourself within the organization, but it’s also important to know what’s happening outside of it. Perri recommends not only staying abreast of industry happenings, but also keeping tabs on competitors. Newsletters, industry publications, and LinkedIn are all useful tools for this purpose.
3. Encourage your team to stay at the top of their game.
“Even if your tax analysts have over a decade of experience, the world of tax is constantly evolving, so there’s always more to learn,” says Perri. That’s why he recommends you encourage continuing education. “The more they know, the more value they can provide.”
4. Instill ownership in every team member.
Perri says it’s important to create a “culture of ownership” in your team, so that no team member is tempted to say, “That’s not my job.” Even though individuals may have their assigned tax areas or jurisdictions, success happens at the team level. “Every team member should be seeking to maintain compliance, minimize liabilities, mitigate costs, and maximize savings in their own work and that of their peers.”
5. Take advantage of technology.
The right tax technology can save time and reinforce compliance. But Perri says it’s important to be intentional about pursuing and implementing different solutions. “Have your more tech-savvy team members test out any new solution before rolling it out to the entire team. Then modify your processes accordingly, set expectations around its usage, and ensure everyone is properly trained and motivated to maximize adoption.”
Give your property tax team the tools they need to be successful.
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