I just returned from the 79th Annual IAAO Conference, held in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is always good to be among clients, colleagues, industry-partners and competitors—some of which I’ve known for nearly 30 years. And although we may have different objectives, we all have one thing in common—Assessment Administration. From all the things I saw, the speakers I listened to, and the conversations I had, one main theme emerged—implementation of technology solutions at a rapid pace is having a very positive impact on the work we do.
For example, just over a decade ago the thought of having complete visual access and collecting accurate data of properties without an actual site visit was pure science fiction. Not anymore. Take the exhibit-floor demonstration by one of our industry-partners. They showed how through the integration of their online services Aumentum Valuation can do just that. It allows assessing staff to easily and quickly access oblique and orthogonal images to measure area, perimeter and height of any structure or property without ever having to leave the office. By providing an alternative to field visits to properties, these desktop-valuations offer significant cost savings. They help uncover substantial volume of new taxable properties and improvements which in the past might have been virtually impossible to see because of because of inaccessibility or obstructions. So while just a few years ago, data was gathered at the site and for the most part stored in tabular format, it can now be spatially gathered and geo-referenced with clear imaging as close as six-inches from actual objects.
In addition, analysis tools in new products provide decision support for the building of valuation models as well as the statistical validation of prior valuations. These products provide regression analysis, neighborhood analysis, depreciation analysis and spatial analysis tools to ensure uniform and equitable values are applied across an entire jurisdiction—a key component of a comprehensive valuation standards program and a mechanism for verification of the accuracy and equality of proposed valuations prior to placing the values on a jurisdiction’s assessment roll.
So, was the time spent at IAAO profitable? Yes, very profitable, but also affirming of our industry’s direction as it continues to promote best practices while increasing productivity and accuracy through the use of technology.