Audit Finds Critical Missteps in TAD Software Conversion

By Max B. Baker, Star-Telegram: December 16, 2016

“It never should have happened. … They should have made sure it was right,” Wright said.

The Tarrant Appraisal District did not clearly outline business and technical requirements for new computer software, and then did not adequately test it before flipping the switch for a mass appraisal of property, according to an audit released Friday.

As a result, more than two years after going live with the troubled Aumentum software that TAD agreed to buy five years ago, there were about 50 “broad” requirements still unfulfilled as of October, according to a report to TAD’s executive board by the Weaver and Tidwell accounting firm.

TAD’s board requested the audit after a series of software snafus were blamed for leaving millions of dollars of property off the books in 2015 and causing a surge of taxpayer refunds late this year after the software produced tax rolls that didn’t catch critical changes in accounts.

Tarrant County Tax Assessor-Collector Ron Wright called the audit’s findings “explosive,” saying it contained crucial information that the board had not heard before. He criticized Thomson Reuters, which TAD hired to install the system, because the auditors said the company offered “limited cooperation.”

“It certainly explains why the conversion of the software was such a disaster for everybody,” Wright said. “It explains a lot and the question now is how do we go forward because there has to be accountability for this. But I won’t mask my disappointment with both TAD management and, in particular, Thomson Reuters.”

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