Having worked with some of the largest corporate tax teams around, we can say with certainty that most tax workflows are time-consuming and resource-draining operations, and otherwise burdensome. This is because, as humans, we have limits. Even as the volume of data increases, no amount of knowledge or professional experience can enable us to move or process information as quickly as a computer. Hence why today’s leaders are exploring tax workflow automation, the use of digital tools to increase the efficiency of tax practice.
“Technology is your friend when it comes to tax accounting and finance workflows,” says Vanessa Kruze, founder and CEO of Kruze Consulting. “Firms and consultants who are willing and able to adopt solutions that enhance their workflows will be more competitive—and sooner than later, as these workflows will evolve over the next five to 10 years.”
Still, tax workflow automation requires a strong foundation to succeed. If you’re looking to get started with this initiative, keep reading to see a few best practices—with and without technology—that can help support your automation efforts.
4 Tax Workflow Best Practices That Support Automation
1. Set expectations for what information you need and when.
Tax teams often need input from multiple team members and even other departments. Without that input, it’s impossible to prepare and file accurate, timely tax returns. For example, if you operate in Maryland and your property tax return is due April 15, you’ll need information about assets in all your Maryland locations in enough time to complete and file the return. Be sure the appropriate parties know when and what to provide.
2. Use an online document repository.
Kruze recommends that both internal tax teams and consultants make use of online document repositories—namely a cloud-based solution that can help keep tons of tax information organized and easily accessible.
“Some organizations still use paper-based tax workflows, which is incredibly inefficient,” Kruze explains. “But even for those that have moved past paper, many are sending files through email and storing them on personal computers. Emails are less secure and present a greater fraud risk. Your best bet for avoiding security mishaps and slower workflows is moving to the cloud.”
According to Kruze, the biggest area where tax workflow automation can benefit tax teams is around document collection and communication. “So this is the best place for firms to start.”
3. Hold weekly standup meetings.
Regular check-ins with your team are important for keeping everyone on the same page and identifying any workflow roadblocks. The larger your team and the more locations you have, the more opportunities there are for items to fall through the cracks or team members to fall behind.
“Use these standups to review accomplishments from last week, be clear on the agenda for the coming week, and gauge progress,” Kruze explains. “Not only do these brief meetings give managers a way to identify issues, they also present team members the opportunity to ask for help.”
For example, you may have assigned team members to each state in which your company operates. However, you may find that some states are more burdensome than others, and one team member is not enough. Texas, for example, has more than 250 local assessors, each with their own guidelines; by comparison, Maryland only has one.
4. Use technology to help keep track of deadlines.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, there’s been a lot of movement across the country in terms of business locations and personnel,” says Kruze. “This has put many companies, especially those that have dealt with the same set of requirements and deadlines, in the position of having to become familiar with new stipulations.”
To avoid penalties from late filings and appeals, Kruze recommends using a digital solution that helps keep track of tax deadlines throughout the year. “Instead of having to rely on memory and familiarity, tax teams can rely on technology to automatically remind them of impending due dates.”
Make Tax Workflow Automation A Breeze With A Tailored Property Tax Solution
CrowdReason makes property tax planning for companies easy. We provide the solutions—and the support—you need to conquer the entire property tax process.
- Automatically extract property tax data (due dates, addresses, and amounts due) from your tax bills and import it into TPT, an enterprise tax system.
- Track deadlines with an integrated calendar feature.
- Keep all your documents connected to your property tax accounts so you have all important documents readily available for reference.
- Create dashboards based on work done, so you always know at a glance how much work is completed vs. remaining.
Combined, these two solutions help you generate unparalleled efficiencies in the property tax cycle.
Come join the team of happy clients who are conquering their property taxes with our tax automation software. Schedule a demo today.