“Real estate taxes are the single largest operating expense for most real estate property companies,” says Ken Rogers. As Director of Real Estate Taxes at Duke Realty, Ken oversees the real estate tax function for the company. From ensuring timely payment of all tax bills to reviewing and appealing property tax assessments, he must find ways to reduce time spent on low value tasks and improve efficiency in his department.
Managing real estate tax “becomes a key issue when you are leasing space to tenants. Since commercial tenants focus on total costs of occupancy (rent plus operating costs), it is critical that landlords minimize the real estate tax component of those costs. This enables landlords to achieve feasibility rents while staying within total occupancy costs dictated by the market.”
“We needed a way to reduce the time we spent on day-to-day monitoring of tax notices, bill payments and appeal processes,” expresses Ken. By managing “low-value tasks in an efficient, cost-effective way,” the company could empower staff to spend more time on higher value tasks within the business.
Ken’s initial criteria were document storage and a fully functional application. The software needed to manage tax payments as well as the appeals processes. He identified three key features of itamlink that improved their processes:
“The benchmarking module is a great tool for making better appeal decisions. The module helps us identify appeals we may have otherwise missed.” It also provides us with consistent metrics for setting realistic targets and appeal settlements, allowing us to remain competitive from a leasing standpoint.
“Bill payment is a critical function, and it’s important to do it in the most efficient way that consumes the least amount of brain power,” according to Ken. “The online bill approval has made it easier for managers to do their other high impact responsibilities and not have to worry about approvals.”
The approval process enables managers to review and audit payments, ensuring they are paying the appropriate amounts. In addition, it serves as a high level review of taxes in relation to previous years.
“The calendar system facilitates timely payment of tax bills and at the same time reduces time and effort expended on repetitive searches. The calendar function centralizes all critical dates and keeps us ahead of the game instead of constantly chasing our tail.”
“One of the most important qualities is that everyone in the company can use the system. After one of the initial demonstrations of the software, one of the property managers said he could actually see himself using itamlink. That’s what sold us on the system.”
The three key benefits of using itamlink is that it provides:
“With Rethink, we got the rollout we envisioned. The team helped us to customize and add functionality that we specifically needed to meet our goals,” continues Ken. “We are able to do our activities more efficiently and that’s important. itamlink has a modern platform and is user-friendly, cutting down our time to learn the system.
The built-in automated processes in itamlink free us to spend more time on things that involve decision-making.”
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