Looking for ways to make your property tax management process more efficient? Given the magnitude and complexity of the various aspects of property tax—and the fact that corporate tax teams are increasingly being asked to do more with fewer resources—it’s no wonder.
Luckily, a process once heavily reliant on people can now be completed with significant help from robots and software. In fact, having the right combination of these three elements within your daily workflow will do more than just help your team get the job done—it will actually help them get it done better.
So what’s the right balance between them all, and who does what to achieve the best outcome? Based on our experiences working with clients, we outline the division of duties that seems to provide the greatest benefit to the teams that take advantage of all three elements. Not only are they able to manage compliance requirements more easily, but they’re also able to produce better results once the property tax cycle is complete.
Download this white paper to read about three tax trends the most competitive tax teams are already taking advantage of.
Automate Property Tax Management Tasks With Robots
Software “robots”—which emulate the actions of humans interacting with digital systems—can be used to complete a multitude of property tax management tasks faster than they could be done by people. Commonly referred to as robotic process automation or RPA, robots are best applied to tasks that don’t require knowledge or human understanding, and are performed repeatedly in a similar way each time.
The components of property tax management that should be handled by robots are:
- Document processing—Rather than having your knowledge workers input tax document data into the system, robots (in conjunction with machine learning) can do the task more quickly and accurately—even if the data is “unstructured” and presented in a variety of different formats.
- Data validation—Using people to check listings of fixed assets against the information in a general ledger is a waste of time. Have bots take over the task instead to complete this task faster and with fewer mistakes.
- Return filing—Bots can take over the work of inputting data on tax return forms. They’re capable of creating thousands of return packages, complete with cover letters, return forms, and attachments (even custom attachments such as authorization letters), in a matter of minutes rather than days.
- Tax bill processing/payment/mailing—It takes time to track bills, check them, request checks, and prepare them for mailing. Check requests and bill paying can be automated so that everything is paid correctly and on time.
Tax professionals who want to take advantage of RPA could go the DIY route and build a solution themselves in-house. RPA is fairly simple to set up; with a minimum of IT involvement, most business operations personnel can quickly learn how to create and apply these bots. Companies that specialize in the automation of business processes can partner with you to implement it more quickly and easily.
A third, even simpler option, is to purchase advanced property tax management software that has RPA already embedded into its functionality. That way you can glean the benefits of robotic processes, as well as other benefits the software provides, for even more parts of the property tax management cycle.
How does RPA improve your property tax management process?
- It quickens the pace of property tax compliance activities. This is especially helpful for companies operating in hundreds of locations that have numerous assessments (and therefore deadlines) to meet and manage.
- It removes some of the burdens of low-level, time-consuming, and repetitive tasks from your team. Having more time to apply to more important tasks is beneficial for any tax team, including those who find themselves in the unfortunate position of having reduced human resources either temporarily or permanently.
- It reduces data-related errors. With robots handling data entry and validation, manual errors are eliminated, reducing the time spent on error resolution and increasing the accuracy and consistency of your data.
Simplify Property Tax Management Tasks With Software
The standard organizational tools—Excel spreadsheets and online project management tools—don’t typically make property tax management any easier or better, and sometimes they simply make matters worse. You’ll find that switching to software will give you a significant leg up in terms of productivity and efficiency. (And if you’re already using property tax management software and are still in search of ways to make the process more efficient, you’re probably not using the right kind of software.)
The components of property tax management that should be handled by software include:
- Information-gathering—Using software that includes a database of jurisdictional data and depreciation tables reduces the time you have to spend tracking down this information manually.
- Data management—If your property tax data resides in more than one location, such as an ERP system, accounting software, or other legacy applications, choose a software that integrates with your specific systems so the software can pull data from them automatically. You also want software that can bulk import data, and presents data in a way that makes it easy to compare information from year to year.
- Asset classification and depreciation—Some software applications can automatically categorize your assets and allocate them to specific jurisdictions, also calculating the taxability and reportability of each asset based on jurisdiction rules.
- Tracking deadlines—No need to manually track deadlines; the right software does it for you. Advanced software lets you view missing notices by the deadline, updates notices when necessary, tracks protest activity dates and values, and runs reports on all your notices by county, deadline, etc.
Most integrated property tax software can perform at an acceptable level and will definitely be an improvement over manual processes. But if you have a high volume of properties to manage and are looking for a tightly structured tax process, consider choosing advanced software from CrowdReason.
How does our software improve your property tax management process?
- It lowers your chances of incurring penalties. Not only does our software track and clearly present upcoming due dates, but it is also more than 99% accurate in the data it extracts. Both of these features are key to reducing mistakes.
- It gives you greater visibility over your property’s tax activity. A crucial step in deciding whether or not to protest is to compare your property values against those on prior year assessments. Our software gives you a simple way to track and see those values, making it easier to address what may be unfair property values.
- It gives you more time to devote to other parts of the property tax cycle. Our software was designed by property tax professionals and emphasizes time-saving features that enable your team to manage property taxes more effectively. You’ll never again run into “crunch” time that prevents you from evaluating your assessments and responding as needed.
Improve Your Property Tax Results With People
Once you’ve converted the previous tasks from physical ones to digital, your team will realize important productivity gains. Allowing your team to work faster and smarter is about more than just efficiency; it’s about positioning your team to do its best and achieve more.
By liberating team members from the low-value tasks that surround compliance, you’re giving them more time to focus on higher-value work with a more profitable mission: saving your organization or clients money.
The components of property tax management that should be handled by people are:
- Tax forecasting—With more time to analyze your tax data and examine trends, your team will be able to better forecast your company’s property tax liability for the upcoming fiscal year or quarter.
- Operational management data analytics—Analyze the data surrounding your assets for better insight into its value.
- Strategic data analytics—Analyze how well your tax department or service is performing to ensure you keep your team running efficiently.
- Evaluating assessments and supporting appeals—As the advocate for your company’s property, it’s your job to ensure your property tax bills are fair and to appeal them when necessary. Doing so takes time—and expertise that only a skilled property tax professional can provide.
To perform the above tasks successfully, you need time. That’s why all three elements—robots, software, and people—are necessary for maximum productivity.
Your property tax management process is improved when people perform these high-value tasks because:
- Your team becomes more valuable to the organization. Reducing your company’s property tax bills directly impacts the bottom line and will call attention to your team as a result. Not only will your team’s stature increase, but your strategic focus will also reduce your risk during cost-cutting layoffs.
- Employee retention and recruitment will be positively impacted. Up to 40% of employees have left an employer because the employer failed to use the latest digital tools. Younger workers, in particular, expect to be using modern technologies, and they are increasingly seeking positions that motivate them to do their best work. By giving them more powerful technical tools, you’re enabling team members to utilize their skills more effectively.
Looking for the right mix of robots & software for your people?
At CrowdReason, our goal is to help people work more like people than robots. Our advanced software solutions have RPA processes embedded within them, making it easy for your highly skilled team to start leveraging these tools for maximum productivity.
- MetaTaskerPT performs high-quality, low-cost data extraction for property tax documents at a fraction of the traditional time. It also seamlessly imports data into our property tax processing software, TotalPropertyTax, for analysis.
- TotalPropertyTax (TPT) is cloud-based software that provides valuable data management solutions for all stages of the property tax cycle, including:
- A complete, up-to-date database of jurisdictional data and depreciation tables to reduce your information-gathering burden;
- Assessment appeal management, giving you more time for review and protest;
- Integrated, custom reporting to help you identify more assessment reduction opportunities;
- Bill tracking to eliminate missed deadlines and penalties.
If you’d like to see how CrowdReason software can help your property tax team perform at a higher level, schedule a free demo today.