Is your property management software growing your business (or holding you back)?
1 September 2022 | Gestion Immobilière, Property Management, software | Condo, Manager
Ask anyone in property management if they use property management software, and they will all answer “yes.” However, ask what they use it for, and you will likely get more varied answers, often regarding which software they use; in some instances, that property management software is used by the property management company and not at all by the property managers that work for them.
I was recently at the REMI Conference in Toronto, where a property manager for a large Toronto company confided in me that he generates purchase orders by hand. This was a bit of a shock – especially in our modern age and for a manager of a larger operation that was not a small, mom-and-pop shop. I wondered how this could be, and my conclusion was that the required tools to effectively manage condominium buildings are fragmented across many platforms.
Not only that, but the decision as to which issues require software tools often lies with the property management company, not with the property manager.
It is common, then, that property management companies invest first in a management system that can automate (if not somewhat) the processing of financial transactions while ignoring or undervaluing software that improves client satisfaction or adds greater efficiencies to a property manager’s job.
So, is your software holding your company back?
Ask yourself if your software is:
- A place that stores documents versus a place for sharing information.
- A repository of data versus information to support decision-making.
- Reactive versus proactive.
- Manual versus automated.
- Only for the management company as opposed to something that provides client self-service.
- One which you have outgrown rather than a property management software that grows with you.
If you agree to one or more of the above, the answer is “yes.”
A system for property managers
If you are looking for project management software to help your business grow and will grow with you, then there are a few aspects to keep in mind.
For one, is the software web-based so it can be accessed anywhere?
Furthermore, does it have a mobile app that brings functionality to the manager on the road and the ability of self-service to your owners, residents, and tenants? The software should be to condominium management what ATMs are to banks.
Secondly, does your software have the tools you need to manage a condominium, and are they integrated to remove duplicative work?
In general, the system should have a comprehensive set of tools to manage the five basic areas required to manage and administrate a condominium building, including Accounting and Finance, Communications, Administrative, Operational, and Technical.
Thirdly, does your property management software allow for multi-level security over access and functionality?
Moreover, does it provide for full transparency of information with complete drill-down capability from financial statement line item to an electronic copy of the actual invoice, purchase order and any associated expertise report?
If so, then it should also:
- Provide direct access to real-time financial information and budget to actual forecasting from the accounting and finance module, including electronic payments and digital signatures.
- Make performance statistics available to managers to share with board members in regard to the number of services requests opened and closed or how long a request has remained unresolved. It should also allow for the direct reservation of common amenities and broadcast messaging through the communications module.
- Generate certificate transfer packages for notaries for the sale of a unit, as well as automated meeting convocation tools from the administrative module.
- Contract and authorized supplier database with renewal and expiration reminders, again generated by the operational module.
- Support the technical documentation of your building – What engineering systems are present, what type and model, where are they located, and track modifications and replacements, warranties, and linked it to purchase orders to facilitate generation of accurate reserve fund studies and annual operating plans.
Fourthly, functionality should exist that places the expertise within the system.
For example, you should not have to be an accountant to enter a special charge for a co-owner infraction. Basic information should be entered by administrative personnel through dropdown menus, and the system should generate the accounting transactions to affect the charge.
Lastly, is your property management software easy to implement and use ?
and does the software provider offer high quality customer support, online training sessions available to subscribers that not only shows how the software works, but how to use it to accomplish your daily work within the regulatory framework required.
Fit for purpose
The above criteria make an excellent system for providing management services to your clients. However, what does your property management software do to help you run your business? Depending on the size of your condominium management company, you may have many property managers, and consolidated backoffice functions for administration, accounting, and operation services to provide those operational services that do not require a trip to the building.
For example, let us look at the sale of access keys and remotes and updating the intercom system. Your software needs to be able to establish work assignment parameters so that work is automatically routed to the best person to fulfill the request. These workflow management tools increase efficiency that allows you to grow your business without adding additional backoffice personnel. It also provides a payback on your software investment, and let us be honest, it would be nice if your software paid for itself?
In conclusion, property management teams need an all-in-one property management software – one that is integrated, accessible to all, anywhere at all times, and provides full transparency. Moreover, you need a system that your business will not outgrow and pay for itself over the long run.
If this is not the property management software you have, then perhaps it is time to look for a better alternative.
Read the article, published in CondoBusiness magazine, online: https://issuu.com/riccardo11/docs/condo_august_2022_lr/26
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