The Art of Seamless Public Agency Business Licensing

Before diving into your next tech purchase, take a moment to explore the difference between enterprise resource systems and best of breed solutions.

ARTICLE | Jun 19, 2017

HdL Companies' local tax and business licensing solutions focus on doing one thing right rather than aiming to do it all.

Most public agencies today are facing revenue growth rates that are not keeping pace with service cost increases, particularly for health care and pension expenses. This is the case in nearly every state, region, county and city across the nation in both metropolitan and rural areas.  As a result, agencies are forced to find new ways to cut costs or increase revenue and often need a good measure of both.

Many agencies have chosen to reduce costs by cutting the quantity or quality of services offered.  Others have gone to the voters to increase local taxes to support core services particularly public safety. Finally, some agencies have done both and yet continue to struggle to provide services. 

Meeting Public Expectations

A corollary issue for many public agencies is the relentless advancement of technology, which has dramatically increased both the public’s expectations of service and the costs to provide services which meet those expectations. Most are left trying to make do with technology and service capabilities that have fallen behind the curve. A good example is how few public agencies have well designed mobile applications to provide services to their customers, and yet this is exactly what their customers want. Agencies are faced with either providing services which cater to a mobile-hungry customer base, or serving those same customers in person at their busy counters.

So what is the software solution? Unlike enterprise systems which aim to do it all, a true best of breed solution will enable your agency to realize these key benefits:

  • Your customers can apply, file, and pay their licenses/taxes online 24/7.
  • Your customers can download and print their license.
  • Your customers can do business with City Hall when they want to, from whatever device they prefer.
  • Your customers save time and resources, and your agency can also take “green credits” as you just removed a car trip to and from City Hall to get a license.
  • Free up your counter staff to focus on more complex requests and strategic initiatives.

By making the application and filing process easier to access and complete, agencies increase compliance and related revenues while decreasing staff time spent on processing. For example, the City of Beverly Hills, CA has been able to reduce their business tax related data entry by 90%, 40% of all renewals are now done online and 60% of all new applicants apply online. This increased efficiency has allowed for a greater focus on compliance resulting in additional revenues that have exceeded even aggressive budget forecasts.

Bringing in a Team

An even more cost effective and rapidly growing option is for your agency to transition the local tax administration process to a contracted professional service team. Under this scenario your team and your customers still gain all the benefits of the latest software solution as described above, but with none of the typical hassles of software/hardware maintenance, support contracts and upgrades. The team configures and hosts the software, and should manage all services required for typical local tax administration, including:

  • Taxpayer communications and support
  • Notices, letters, renewals, certificates
  • Processing renewals, returns, applications and payments
  • City management and staff support
  • Freedom of information act requests
  • Mailing process, materials and postage
  • Compliance services, including audits and discovery

A key advantage for agencies relying on a contracted team is the ability to re-deploy otherwise occupied staff to other areas of strategic need.


At HdL, we work diligently to craft and deliver services which help public agencies navigate these trends. HdL has been around for 35 years and serves only public agencies. The firm works with over 400 agencies in 7 states, with populations from under 10,000 up to 500,000.  Most of HdL’s principals have served as local government leaders in roles such as city manager, administrative services director and finance manager. HdL brings actual government experience to the table with each client interaction. That is why HdL software and service team solutions are tailored to public agencies specific needs, developed by practitioners who have faced the same challenges.  Please contact HdL Companies about how we can assist your community manage local tax management and compliance. Check out our website  or call 888.861.0220.

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