Property taxes are the largest single business expense for most companies managing multi-property portfolios. In an effort to control this expense, many companies outsource some, or all, of their property tax processes to third party providers. The scope of these engagements range from assistance with property tax appeals to a more complete outsourcing of the entire property tax management process. This includes assessment reviews, appeal determination, filing, and negotiation and property tax payment approvals and processing.
Outsourcing to multiple providers helps large organizations cope with managing multiple properties in different locations, jurisdictions, and geographic markets. However, to effectively manage the property tax process for an entire portfolio, having a holistic view with access and visibility to all the data is key. Outsourcing to third parties can create a “silo effect” that increases risk and reduces this type of access and visibility. Additionally, it can be challenging to focus providers on the organization’s strategic objectives as opposed to their own. It is not uncommon for consultants to execute on “easy wins” rather than considering the organization’s overall goals.
With the advent of intelligent automation, tax technology is shaping the future of outsourcing, working in tandem to create value. In this case, using a centralized property tax management software delivers transparency, boosts efficiency and improves reporting. Using a property tax management solution not only improves visibility into the portfolio, but also makes the outsource vendor’s job easier as well.
Using one or more third-party vendors to manage property tax and handle appeals often results in siloed data. Each independent consultancy maintains data in their own databases and in separate formats, reducing the ability to analyze performance and view data across the whole portfolio. When tax and real estate asset information is centralized, the data is more accessible to stakeholders, owners, managers and the consultant. Access to data can be controlled by permissions-based logins that assign users to view or manipulate only the data related to properties and processes they manage. This enables businesses to use one or more providers, as needed, without losing visibility into the entire portfolio.
Handling data in different formats for multiple properties and jurisdictions while sharing that data internally across departments, and externally with stakeholders and/or consultants can be a nightmare. Data is easily lost, work and effort is often duplicated, and tracking becomes impossible. A centralized property tax system eliminates the duplication of work and provides easy access to data and documentation. By re-imagining the process of outsourcing with technology, staff and vendors can regain hours of billable time in their workday.
It should not take several hours or days to find, assemble and package key property tax and assessment information for various stakeholders. Centralization with the right property tax software not only provides easy access to the data, but it also means analytics and reports on demand. Clear access to reports and analytics improves performance and accountability to corporate management. The lack of delays due to searching for data can even improve management’s perception of the tax department.
Intelligent, technology-enabled outsourcing means control, visibility and efficiency. By incorporating new property tax software into your process, you create the ability to have fluid communication between the third parties and various internal teams. This, combined with unmatched system flexibility creates a win-win situation.
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