When it comes to real estate data, there’s an immense amount of information to collect and organize each year. Developing and maintaining a reporting and analytics strategy helps teams organize and use data to help inform business decisions.
We wanted to understand how property tax teams approached real estate data analytics in the real world. So, we asked some to share their experiences and insights. In this post, we’ll share real-life lessons from industry professionals.
Reporting is the process of compiling and organizing raw data into written and/or visual summaries. In the context of real estate teams, the raw data could include things like tax bills, assessment notices, and jurisdictional data. This data is then turned into a report that can be understood by colleagues and key decision makers, based on a mix of industry best practices, business objectives, and strategic priorities.
Subsequently, real estate analytics refers to the practice of using reports to understand how tax processes are performing. Analytics help you more deeply understand fluctuations in the market, how areas of the business are doing, and what can be done to improve performance.
While reporting provides tax teams with the information they need, it’s in combination with analytics that commercial real estate data provides property tax teams with actionable insights.
One of the biggest challenges property tax professionals cited was in developing their reporting and analytics processes. Their primary challenge was gathering input from diverse team members and stakeholders. Many team members were required to select the right data, reports, and analytics to focus on and coordinating calendars was a slow process.
Once they were able to collect feedback and ideas from key team members, the challenge was then how to structure reports. Many agreed that software with built-in, standardized reporting was a useful starting point, as it allowed them to leverage widely used options. Our own customers found that itamlink’s custom reporting options helped them further tailor reports to their specific needs and use cases.
We spoke with a Property Tax Director for insight into this question. They noted that a central data repository was key for speeding up reporting processes, as it allowed their team to examine all their data at once and view it in many different reporting formats. This resulted in faster reporting, less human error, and the ability to examine reports more quickly.
Along with a central repository, they also shared that a document library was essential for making the reporting process sustainable. That’s because a library allowed historical data to be easily accessed, including original paper documents that may have additional or supplemental information.
Other professionals spoke to the value of configurable reporting, which enabled teams to create reports including the exact metrics they need. Because no two companies are the same, standard templates can’t capture everything an organization needs or wants to share.
Particularly when reporting to senior managers, tax teams found that configuration options were key for presenting the right metrics in the right way. For example, a Tax Manager for a prominent REIT noted that they used itamlink’s standardized assessment, tax comparison, and tax savings reports; along with this, they created custom benchmarking to compare internal and external data on a more granular level. This allowed them to determine whether they were out of range, and if so, where to focus their efforts.
Reporting and data analytics are important functions for optimizing your property tax management processes. But getting it set up – and maintaining processes that work, especially as your metrics and data evolve – are key to that success. If you’re just getting started, consolidating your data in a single location is a great first step. This allows you and your team to dig into your data, then determine the reporting and analytics processes that work for you.
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