Is your tax team currently using a homegrown tool to manage your company’s property taxes? You may be in that position for any number of reasons—you’re a small-enough company that your solution seems sufficient for the job; you expect you’ll have to pay more for vendor software than you do for your annual tax liability; or maybe you’ve simply been doing things the same way for so long that you haven’t investigated your options lately.
Homegrown solutions may be an appropriate choice for companies in their early stages, but if you’re part of a well-established organization looking to grow, you can bet that same tool is holding you back.
Below are three signs your homegrown solution is falling short compared to most third-party property tax software solutions. If one or more resonate with you, it may be time to look at other software tools that were tailor-made to provide the exact type of support you need—and can even help your team get ahead.
3 Signs You’ve Outgrown Your Homegrown Property Tax Software
1. You’re working overtime in the days and months before deadlines.
Is your team working long hours days before an important deadline? Are your people working 12-hour weekdays from January through May (and Saturdays, too)? Handling data entry, complex calculations, and form-filling manually—even in small doses—is extraordinarily time consuming. Though long hours may seem like the tax industry standard, the truth is—property tax compliance doesn’t have to take that long. (Tweet this!)
The right third-party software can cut that time dramatically. MetaTasker software handles the microwork of data entry for you, achieving greater than 99% accuracy. And TotalPropertyTax can generate 500 returns in under 15 minutes.
Eliminating manual data entry and utilizing advanced software for return generation dramatically reduced the time global communications giant Comcast’s property tax team devoted to compliance activities.
By improving your team’s efficiency overall, the right software can also help to avoid the idle time some team members experience during the “off” months.
2. Your highly skilled (and highly paid) team members spend a huge amount of time on data entry.
Homegrown solutions require manual data extraction and data entry to work. If your highest-paid people are focused on these aspects of property tax, they have less time for activities that deliver greater value, such as managing tax risk, looking for tax reductions, and finding opportunities to appeal too-high assessments. As a result, your team isn’t as valuable to the organization as it could be.
The right technology can give your tax team a competitive advantage—here’s what you need to know to get ahead.
Technologically advanced property tax software that has the latest tools embedded, like robotic process automation and machine learning, allows your team to work faster. That means there’s no longer any need to waste time on data extraction and data entry. By embracing these concepts, you’ll be able to take greater advantage of your strategic knowledge workers, using them to do more valuable tasks that will elevate your status as a department.
3. Your IT team can’t provide ample support for the application.
Even if your IT team succeeded in building an application that meets your needs to begin with (which, unless they’re experts in property tax, is unlikely), the greater struggle lies in maintaining and upgrading it for the long term. IT exists to serve the organization in its entirety, not just your department—a fact that’s sometimes overlooked in the early stages of decision-making. Property tax changes fairly frequently; companies also grow and change. Relying on IT to keep up with those changes in a timely manner will prove to be difficult.
Third-party software vendors have teams of architects and developers who do nothing but work on the product, fixing bugs and adding valuable features that help you do your job better. And the right software partner will even let you customize it to some extent, improving its value and performance. Plus, some software vendors are proficient in the latest technology and make it easy for you to incorporate it into your daily workflow, which only helps make your team more effective.
When You Think Cost Is A Factor...
If your homegrown solution is so time-consuming you rarely have time—or staff members—for activities that create tax savings (like file appeals, re-classify non-taxable assets, and claim exemptions, for example), you’re losing money. And if your current solution uses old technology and rarely gets updated, its performance will only continue to degrade over time, costing you additional dollars.
In addition, sometimes vendor pricing is flexible. Even small companies can sometimes find the right software at a lower price than expected, making it well worth the annual cost. The bottom line: When you find a third-party solution you like, reach out to the vendor and ask about price—you may discover you can implement a solution in a way that makes sense for you.
Interested in taking a look at CrowdReason property tax software?
We’re happy to show you around—just sign up for a free tour of the software today! You’ll see how easy our software is to use, and how it might look incorporated into your current daily workflow. We’ll also discuss your team’s unique needs for property tax software and see how we can be of help more specifically. Get in touch today.