Cumbersome software, inefficient processes, a lack of data visibility… these are just a few things commonly mentioned by property tax professionals when we ask them to identify pain points in their current practice. Until a few years ago, corporate tax practitioners at Comcast, the global telecommunications company, would’ve said the very same things about their processes. Then they switched to TotalPropertyTax (TPT), and eventually added MetaTaskerPT, and turned things around. Here’s the story of why Comcast chose CrowdReason software—and how it’s impacted their practice since its implementation.
Why Comcast Switched Property Tax Software
For years, Comcast’s tax team had been using the same legacy application. The application hadn’t been a good fit for their needs for some time—Comcast’s assets include an extensive network of cable wiring that crosses numerous jurisdictions; complex calculations are required to properly allocate those distributed assets for property tax filings. The legacy application didn’t have the functionality to handle those calculations, so the team was doing most of that math manually outside the system (in spreadsheets), and then loading the resulting data into the application. As the amount of work outside the application increased, the usage of the application itself decreased. Doing the calculations manually also introduced a greater risk of human error and reduced the team’s overall efficiency.
In addition, the legacy application Comcast was using didn’t allow a good deal of visibility over all the company’s tax data. And it was still splintered in different locations and had to be pieced together for reporting and audit purposes. For tax team members to perform their job better, they needed a single tool that would aggregate all their data, giving them both deep-level information about assets and a holistic view of the corporation’s tax valuation.
What Happened as A Result Of The Switch
When Comcast switched from the legacy application to TPT, team members were able to do substantially more inside the application than they’d been able to do before. TPT could handle the complex allocation calculations required for the business, which meant that data was embedded into the system from the start. It also lessened the workload, lowered the risk of error, and increased the team’s efficiency.
Having all of Comcast’s property tax data centralized in one place also made data analysis easier for the tax team. When too much information is located outside the database, it’s more difficult to see the relationships between individual assets and tax bills, for instance. But when all data is integrated in a single place from the beginning of the tax process to the end, it’s easy to make comparisons and identify relationships, because the system knows that data on a very deep level. Comcast can now easily run reports on just about anything the team wants to know. In addition to being more efficient, easy reporting is valuable for audit and reporting purposes, and essential for ensuring the company is paying its fair share of taxes.
The Addition of MetaTaskerPT
The eventual adoption of MetaTaskerPT (our data extraction software), in addition to TPT, improved the team’s efficiency even more. It dramatically reduced the number of hours spent on manual data extraction and data entry, giving the team more time to work on assessments and appeals. Before they started using MetaTasker and TotalPropertyTax, there were more than 20 people working on property tax for compliance purposes; now Comcast is able to manage compliance for the entire corporation with only six people.
Other benefits they’ve experienced: Some tax employees who were previously doing data entry were able to move into positions where they could expand their knowledge about property tax and focus on evaluating assessments. Not only is that better for team members, it’s also better for Comcast, because more time is being devoted to tasks that have real financial impact. And because all the corporation’s tax data is in a single application, accessible through any internet browser (as opposed to the legacy application’s computer-specific installation), team members can now access all the data they need anywhere, anytime.
Put TPT and MetaTaskerPT To Work For You
Our software was designed by tax professionals; it’s also continually being improved based on the needs of our users, which include companies like Comcast—and potentially even your company.
We’re passionate about helping tax teams like yours become more productive and more satisfied with their work, both of which will increase your value to the organization. If you’d like to talk with us about how our software can help solve your tax team’s challenges, contact us; or, sign up for a free demo to see how it works.