Other departments in your company have been automating paper-based processes for years—so why has property tax been left behind…and what benefits are you missing out on? Each year, Levvel Research releases its Payable Insights report that evaluates how Accounts Payable (AP) departments automate their workflows. Because tax departments have been slower to implement automation, we can look to this research to draw parallels to the challenges—and potential benefits—of tax automation.
The Top 3 Challenges for AP Departments
Levvel’s survey reveals three leading challenges for AP departments:
- Manual data entry
- Manual routing of invoices
- Lost/missing invoices
51% of respondents listed manual entry and inefficient processes as a pain point. In that same vein, the manual routing of invoices for approval and lost/missing invoices were the second and third most listed challenges. For property tax professionals, these pain points likely resonate just as strongly.
At PTX, our average customer has 10,000 parcels. That translates to a minimum of 10,000 assessment notices and 10,000 tax bills every year—-and that’s not even accounting for parcels that belong to multiple jurisdictions. Entering the data for each of those notices and bills into a tax system by hand can take weeks of one person’s time. And any time you have someone entering data by hand, you’re opening the door for human error.
Like the AP department, property tax teams are very familiar with lost or missing notices and bills. Challenges with the postal service and internal delays for mail sorting and delivery make it harder to get your assessment notices and tax bills in a timely manner. Recent USPS delays, combined with more employees working from home due to COVID-19, have only exacerbated this lengthy process. And without property tax automation, you may not even know what notices and bills you’re missing until deadlines have passed.
How Automation Benefits AP Departments
Automation tools help AP departments manage invoices more efficiently, and many of the benefits they cite in Levvel’s 2020 report apply equally to property tax automation. Just a few of the top eleven benefits of automation that were cited in the Levvel report that also apply to property tax include:
- Increased productivity
- Lower processing costs
- Improved visibility into unpaid invoices
- Reduction in late payment penalties and interest
- Better compliance
- Increased capture of early discounts
Levvel also found that automated invoice receipt had the largest impact on AP staff who are responsible for tasks like manual data entry. It reduces the amount of time-consuming, low-level tasks that these employees are charged with. This also means that management can spend less time resolving discrepancies and more time developing strategic, value-add initiatives.
Types of Automation in AP Departments
With so many benefits, it’s no wonder that AP departments started introducing automation into their processes a long time ago. The Levvel report found that an increasing percentage of organizations are not only using data capture technology but are also receiving more of their invoices in a strictly digital format.
Many organizations are looking to move from optical character recognition (OCR) technology, which automatically recognizes scanned text, to a fully digital process. The report states:
“In automation, OCR is a road stop, not the final destination. In practice, using it often involves manual re-keying, further verification, and additional attention. The goal is for as many invoices as possible to be sent in a truly digital method. This makes AP nearly touchless, with the only human intervention being exception resolution.”
Other types of technology like robotic process automation (RPA), AI, machine learning, and big data are also becoming very common. In fact, many leading AP softwares are integrating these technologies into their product to provide increased capabilities.
How to Achieve Property Tax Automation
Because assessment notices and tax bills are still printed and sent via the postal service, it’s been impossible for property tax teams to similarly take their process fully digital. That’s why PTX set out to develop a solution. We’ve created the technology to provide your values and bills in a fully digital format. Here’s how:
- Jurisdictions store assessment and tax rolls on computers, but they are printing and mailing that information to distribute it to the property owners.
- PTX receives those assessed values and bills directly from the jurisdictions in their original format
- We use our technology to standardize the information across jurisdictions to create one consistent set of data.
- We provide you with only your parcel details in a downloadable spreadsheet.
- All your team has to do is upload the sheet to your tax system!
This technology is the first to fully digitize property tax values and bills, without OCR readers or crowdsourcing AI. It’s both efficient and accurate, allowing property tax teams to achieve more of the benefits afforded by automation.
To learn more about how you can get your property tax values and bills in a fully digital format, book a free consultation with our team: