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6/25/15 12:29 PM

Unclaimed Property Best Practices: Dedicated Recordkeeping System and Professional Support

by Greg VerMulm

unclaimed-property-technologyUnclaimed property often is seen as a secondary accounting and compliance concern. As a result, unclaimed property objectives sometimes get shoehorned into the parameters of existing recordkeeping and scheduling technology. Sometimes new technology is purchased to supplement the old. 

  • A regulatory database is simply bolted on to old software
  • Due diligence template letters are dropped into existing customer information systems
  • Customer contacts are noted manually

Those who control the purse strings might say: "We'll just add manual notes in our old system to document transactions or modify an unused customer field to categorize property. We'll simply schedule reminders in the current system to track dormancy and trigger due diligence."

If it's a bit inconvenient, they explain, it will just have to be inconvenient. There are better things to do with the budget, they say—and you might believe they have a point.

Initially, it doesn't seem like a good use of funds to seek technology solutions specifically designed for a secondary concern like unclaimed property.

However, the ROI of unclaimed property can be deceiving.

  • A cobbled-together solution that seems to cost less can lead to a ballooning of costs for items such as added personnel time to wrestle the software.
  • Inefficient recordkeeping and cumbersome processes can lead to costly mistakes. For example, incomplete data—or data that SEEMS incomplete—can be red-flagged by auditors and lead to records extrapolation, plus penalties and interest.
  • Existing systems might not make allowances for certain types of information, so data is missing altogether. For example, an existing system might not include a complete void and reissue process. It might first appear that a check is outstanding, when in reality it is resolved.
  • When recordkeeping forms don't match patterns reflected in statutory requirements, hours of staff time could be required for reconciliation of records.
  • Adding a new recordkeeping system and setting it up specifically to support unclaimed property (along with many other business functions) produces costs in the beginning, but it can save time, money and headaches in the end.
  • Ultimately, the lowest cost and greatest effectiveness in unclaimed property management can be achieved through professional unclaimed property services and a partnership with a reputable advisory company. Such a firm already has purely dedicated unclaimed property software already in place to complement your own recordkeeping software. You receive critical expertise with services, along with built-in backup systems and security. The ability to use their software immediately means your unclaimed property problems will be solved quickly. 

Most records systems are not designed with sensitivity to the risks of unclaimed property non-compliance.

The ultimate technology solution for managing unclaimed property records and reporting

An ideal unclaimed property system consists of two things: 1) new in-house recordkeeping software designed from the outset to capture and connect the necessary data, and 2) the use of dedicated unclaimed property systems provided by an advisory firm to crunch your data properly to your company's greatest benefit.

With this comprehensive dual technology setup for recordkeeping and processes, potential unclaimed property risks can be identified easily, processed, accounted for and reported. It can streamline the entire process, reduce the amount of time personnel has to spend managing it, and allow staff to focus on more important business tasks. Even if you are not able to completely change your recordkeeping system, the use of an advisory firm to manage it better is likely to significantly improve results and reduce costs.

Take time to carefully analyze your needs and review solutions. Ask those holding the purse strings to be patient while you determine the best solution for your situation and choose unclaimed property recordkeeping technology tools that truly cost less in the end.

Topics: Reporting, Third-Party Support