Do you wish you could change the property tax software you use? If so, I bet I know what usually comes on the heels of that thought: visions of a painful, long system setup and data migration process, hours of retraining on a new system, and finding more workarounds for software that doesn’t quite fit your needs. Basically—a nightmare.
Whether your perception of switching software is based on reality (you had a bad experience previously) or assumptions, getting past it may be the biggest hurdle standing between you and a better, easier property tax management system. It doesn’t have to be a nightmare if you find the right software for your company, and you’re prepared to make the switch.
Our team talks to a lot of companies interested in switching, and they usually have similar concerns. I’ve gathered up some of the most common questions we hear with regard to switching property tax software below, along with the answers. By using these questions as a guide for shopping, you’ll be more likely to find a new property tax software you can switch to pain-free—and one you’ll actually love.
Before You Switch, Ask These Questions
1. What type of software is it?
Cloud vs. on-premise—what type of software do you need? Cloud solutions have many advantages, including zero time for user setup and, because they are fully managed by the provider, seamless upgrades. They also offer quick access to data and are highly scalable to accommodate growth. On-premises and hybrid software solutions require additional company IT resources but may be internally mandated. If you need to keep your data on-site, you’ll need property tax software that offers an on-premise download and installation and then further configuration to work within your network. But if your company has no such restrictions, cloud-based software options are an excellent choice.
2. How does the software handle document storage?
Property tax is centered around documents, including tax returns, assessment notices, and tax bills. Software that can store documents in addition to data will make your life easier, so you won’t have to jump to other systems (like SharePoint, for example) to view relevant documentation. It’s even better if the software links documents with data and gives you the ability to look at them as a whole. For instance, you can view a tax bill alongside the data associated with it, helping you work more efficiently.
3. What does the implementation process look like?
The switching process shouldn’t take several months; if the property tax software you’re considering has a lengthy implementation phase it could be a sign that the design of the software is outdated. The process of migrating data should be fairly straightforward and require minimal effort on your part. If you’d like to avoid that nightmare, stay away from providers who will rely heavily on your participation. You may also choose to run in “parallel,” allowing your team to begin using the new software alongside your older system to mitigate the potential risk of missing key deadlines due to system setup and/or lack of training.
4. What’s the training like?
Just about every software company offers some type of training, but it’s good to ask what the training entails, i.e., is it an actual walk-through of day-to-day tasks using your company data, or just a general information session? Also, you’ll want to get a sense of how the company handles questions after training is complete. Since it may be hard to determine this before signing up, ask for references you can talk to. Then, ask those companies how long it takes to get responses for support questions. If the answer is in days, then it’s probably software you should pass on.
5. When was the last time you made changes to the software?
By the time you make a property tax software selection you should be familiar with its functionality, but you’ll always run across gaps once you start using it. Ask any prospective provider if they offer customizations to make the software a better fit for you specifically. If they’re not willing to accommodate your needs, you’ll have to settle for more workarounds. Also, ask how often they update things like county tax addresses and filing deadlines. They should be doing this annually to stay up to date.
6. Does the software “talk” like a tax assessor?
Some property tax software uses its own system to identify properties—a system that means nothing to a tax assessor. Having to constantly translate between the software’s property designations and the assessor’s designations means extra work for you. Look for software that mimics real life and uses the same property designations, so when you receive a document from an assessor you know exactly where it goes—no translation required.
How CrowdReason Does It
- Thoroughly vetted application design. To achieve our goal of delivering the best application on the market, over 250,000 hours have been dedicated to the design, development, and deployment of CrowdReason’s Property tax applications. MetaTaskerPT has been vetted by users for four property tax seasons; TotalPropertyTax has been vetted for over six seasons.
- Cloud-based software. The majority of our customers enjoy the benefits of our cloud-based solution, including the ability to quickly roll out new features and the assurance of yearly SOC assessments. But if your company requires on-premise software, we’ll do everything we can to help you seamlessly deploy in the manner that works best for you.
- Linked document storage. We store everything in your web application so it’s all highly accessible. Plus, documents are coupled with their associated data and can be viewed simultaneously. No need to follow links or search through other systems, because it’s all together in one place when you need it.
- Smooth, quick implementation. Depending on your company’s size (and property assets), the migration could take anywhere from a day for a small company to a few weeks for a large one. Our database is configurable enough to accommodate a huge variety of data, which makes the importing process simple and quick. We’ll examine your data and ensure it conforms with our system, and import it for you.
- Hands-on training. We provide two in-depth, two-hour training sessions for all our new users, using your own company data. And we also don’t charge for additional training if you need it. As for support response time—it’s a matter of hours. (Ask us for references!)
- An emphasis on innovation. We’re all about innovation, so if you need a customization that we believe will benefit other users in your industry, we’ll do it for free! For an additional fee we’ll always make client-specific customizations in an effort to help make your life easier. Plus, we validate tax addresses, return forms, due dates, and more.
- Real-life property designations. Our software uses the same account-based system used by assessors to identify property because it was developed by property tax professionals. That makes it much more intuitive for you on a daily basis; it also makes implementation faster and easier.
Have more questions about switching property tax software?
This is the perfect time of year to assess your property tax software. If you run into any questions about how switching software might help to address your challenges during the upcoming tax cycle, contact us—we’ll be happy to answer them.