If you’re reading this, chances are your tax team is so caught up in mundane tasks they can’t address higher-value work such as research, planning, and analysis. So strategic tax questions for your organization go unanswered.
Robotic process automation (RPA) could be the solution you need. Tax accounting, property tax, and other areas all have several tasks that are ripe for RPA, including:
- Gathering data
- Moving data between applications
- Running reports
- Managing workflows
- Populating forms
In tax, RPA can help decrease costs, minimize errors, and increase efficiency throughout your tax workflow. It can also free up time to answer your burning tax strategy questions. So if you want more details on which property tax tasks you can and can’t automate, keep reading.
Tax & RPA: 4 Tasks You Can Automate
1. Extracting data from documents.
Instead of having members of your team read property tax documents, locate relevant data, and manually input it into your system, you can employ software such as MetaTaskerPT to automate the extraction workflow. Here’s a brief overview of how it works:
- You scan property documents and upload them into the system.
- MetaTasker converts your images into readable text and mines data from the documents using machine learning.
- MetaTasker exports the data into a report that can be imported into your property tax software.
MetaTasker goes beyond the realm of RPA into smart process automation (SPA), an advanced version of RPA that is particularly useful for scenarios that involve unstructured data. MetaTasker employs trusted crowd workers to ensure a consistently high level of data accuracy (greater than 99%), and less than a 24-hour turnaround time.
2. Retrieving data from the web.
RPA is also useful for gathering information from the web ahead of receiving certain tax documents. Instead of having your team manually scour assessor websites for hours, employ bots to retrieve the data you need. Often called scraping, bots can be configured to automatically access target websites and capture data such as assessed values, tax amounts, and so on.
3. Generating reports.
Many teams are now using RPA for tax reporting. Bots are capable of completing tax returns much more quickly and accurately than people can. They retrieve the relevant information from your tax software and fill out returns automatically, performing any necessary calculations along the way. Then all you need to do is submit the form to the appropriate assessor.
4. Reviewing and approving tax payments.
When you get hundreds of tax bills, reviewing and approving them is time-consuming. But bots can do the job for you, as long as you configure an acceptable range or threshold for approval. For example, you may specify that bots can automatically approve and pay tax bills that fall within a 5% range of a predetermined amount, and tax bills that fall outside this range should be reviewed by a member of your team.
4 Tax Tasks You Can’t Automate
1. Building appeals cases.
When you receive valuations that you don’t agree with, you have the right to appeal to lower it. However, it’s not a simple matter of asking for a lower valuation; you need to provide evidence that supports your claim, such as an independent study or market research. This is a job for an experienced tax team, not a bot.
2. Handling automation exceptions.
Invariably, some automated tasks will encounter exceptions to one or more rules. In these cases, human intervention is necessary. For instance, in the above tax bill approval example, any bill amount that falls outside the 5% range would go to your team for review. They would then investigate the bill and determine why the amount is too high or too low—it could be that the tax collector made a mistake.
3. Maintaining and monitoring bots.
Much like the initial configuration of your bots, you also have to maintain them over time. There may be a need to adjust rules or make updates. You may, for instance, find your automations are creating too many exceptions, and decide to increase certain thresholds to reduce the burden on your team. Alternatively, you may have to update the URLs of assessor websites so bots scrape the right ones.
4. Identify other task areas to automate.
Once you’ve gotten accustomed to automating certain tasks—and as technology continues to evolve—you’re likely to realize other areas that can be automated with tax RPA. Of course, this is a human-only task that could benefit from one or more brainstorming sessions with your team.
Supercharge Your Tax Processes with RPA
The future of tax is smart automation, and CrowdReason is at the forefront of this trend. Our tax experts have created two value-packed solutions to aid your tax teams in their daily work. In addition to the advanced data extraction software MetaTaskerPT, tax teams use automation and decision-making tool TotalPropertyTax.
TotalPropertyTax (TPT) is cloud-based property tax management software that automates much of the manual, repetitive work associated with the tax cycle, including asset categorizing, assessment notice and appeal management, and bill processing.
Tax and RPA go hand-in-hand, and it’s easier to implement than you think. See for yourself how our advanced automation software works—schedule a demo of MetaTasker and TPT today.