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June 24, 2021

The Role of Software in Commercial Real Estate Tax Management

As real estate teams work with ever-growing volumes of data, technology can help you increase efficiency and improve data accuracy

One of the most significant issues that property tax professionals face in managing multi-property portfolios is gathering, organizing, and analyzing the substantial quantity of data associated with each property. With tax teams receiving an average of 100 pieces of data per parcel, software has become an essential part of their data management strategy.  

Property tax teams are working with an ever-growing volume of data

But it can be difficult to keep track of the many different sources, formats, and types of tax-related data. In the U.S. alone, more than 50% of property tax managers say they lack the tools to assist with property tax data collection and analysis, and 39% say they lack normalized data to make decisions.

Along with the variety of sources and formats, many property tax teams often run into challenges with respect to data sharing within and between departments, as well as with third parties. Teams may be using their own spreadsheets to store information. On top of this, they may even use distinct formatting rules (such as different currencies or date formats) that can make aggregation a pain. Along with spreadsheets, certain team members may be using software tools to assist with the storage, review, and analysis of data. This means that, on top of managing the immense volume of data, there can be multiple sources of truth within a single department.  

As such, a lot of time can be spent reviewing data for inaccuracies and inconsistencies. What’s more, analyzing property tax data to provide accurate, timely reports for budgeting, forecasting, and other management needs becomes difficult.  

Of course, gathering the data and ensuring timely access only represents a portion of the challenges in managing so much data. Other challenges that property tax professionals face include:  

  • Processing payments and ensuring tax due dates and other deadlines are not missed;
  • Identifying potential tax-saving opportunities, such as abatement schemes, exemptions and reliefs; and
  • Linking property tax data to the correct property or parcel, and ensuring it remains in sync with other internal systems.  

Software can help teams reduce time spent on these challenges, make data-driven decisions, and lessen costs. Read on to learn how commercial real estate software can help your team.

How software solves challenges in commercial real estate tax management

From centralizing data for easier access to automating processes, software can help relieve the challenges of managing a multi-property portfolio.  

Below are 5 main benefits of adopting tech within your organization.  

Centralize data and provide a single source of truth

With a central system to store and keep track of data, it becomes much easier to share information between team members, departments, and third parties. It also means that fundamental processes during the property tax lifecycle – such as forecasting and budgeting – are based on reliable data.  

Activity logs, which are often a component of commercial real estate software, can help track when changes were made to data and by whom, increasing transparency. With the data you need at your fingertips, you can spend less time tracking down spreadsheets and work more efficiently.  

Streamline data capture and transfer with automation  

Automation can significantly increase efficiency across teams. For example, using data capture technology to convert paper documents into electronic data can speed up payment processes and reduce errors.  

Similarly, integrations between software tools can facilitate data transfer, such as between your property tax management system and your accounts payable or ERP software. This seamless data flow allows teams to maintain accurate tax and expense data across systems, without manually copying data from one system to the other. Some key benefits include increased efficiency and reduced duplication.  

An integrated system ensures data is current, accurate, and available to team members when they need it. Particularly for remote or dispersed teams, this reduces delays caused by the need to clarify, re-request, and comb through manual records.  

Manage user permissions and roles

Providing access to tax data across teams is essential; however, access must be closely managed to ensure organizational security. Typically, commercial real estate software ensure data security by giving administrators the ability to manage user access from one central location. By setting global user roles and permissions, administrators can manage who has access to what data more quickly.  

As well, these types of systems also make it easier to revoke access for users who no longer need it. Lastly, configurable user permissions and email notifications allow administrators to stay up to date on what data is exported and when, enhancing security and auditability.  

Consolidate all data into a single format

Sharing complex information across teams and departments is much more labor intensive when it’s in different formats. Commercial real estate software allows teams to give others access to the data set when required and provide greater transparency and understanding. When all relevant team members can access data in the same format, organizations can avoid confusion and reduce time spent on unnecessary tasks, such as reformatting multiple spreadsheets.  

Optimize appeal identification and management

In a survey, 41% of tax managers said they only periodically review assessments to identify appeal opportunities. There’s clearly an opportunity for property tax teams to identify more appeal opportunities and increase tax savings. Tools that surface relevant sales and market data can help with this. What’s more, calendar functionality can help track important appeal dates and deadlines, so teams ensure they don’t miss anything.

With the right software in place, identifying appeal opportunities becomes much simpler, and property tax teams can maximize their portfolio.  

Manage data with commercial real estate software

It’s essential to choose the right property tax management software for your team's business needs. To do so, it’s necessary to prioritize your team’s pain points and workflows to figure out what you need in a software.

Property tax processes are becoming more complex, with teams managing more data than ever before. Luckily, software is also more advanced. There are tools available to help automate manual processes and streamline workflows. By reducing time spent on manual tasks, teams are empowered to focus on high-level and specialized activities. Commercial real estate software can help your team overcome challenges.  

This article was originally published in December 2018.

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© 2023 Rethink Solutions. All Rights Reserved