How a Centralized Platform Can Help Property Managers Succeed
Multi-family property managers already have to concern themselves with a host of daily issues when it comes to exercising control and oversight over their buildings. This is especially the case for those working within the affordable housing sector. In addition to the everyday concerns of maintenance and repair, these managers are also tasked with ensuring each property is compliant with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) guidelines.
Yet, while it can seem as though this industry niche is wrought with more red tape and restrictions, it is possible to thrive here. The key is to identify, install and implement sophisticated software solutions that take the guesswork out of compliance management and ensure that the property is consistent with all regulatory bodies.
To this end, today we’re exploring some of the ways that property managers in this space can transition much of their formal, manual effort into automated software solutions that get the job done more quickly, and more accurately, than ever before.
Automating Back-Office Functions
Any property manager who has been in the industry for a while understands that the job requires a significant amount of planning, budget control and general financial oversight. This is all required to be juggled in addition to all of the extra duties that property managers take on to make life as smooth as possible for renters. You can read more here on the tasks they commonly take into their own hands.
In years past, such administrative activities took place with pencil and paper, later replaced and upgraded with spreadsheets.
Still, while technology has advanced in this realm, it is not feasible nor recommended for agents to complete these calculations by hand. Put simply, the margin for human error is large. Someone could mistype or misunderstand and in an instant, an entire spread of equations is suddenly incorrect. The wrong formula could be copied and pasted into the wrong cell. A link that appears fine on a spreadsheet could be broken when entered into a browser. This is just a sampling of the risks that property managers incur when they put their confidence in a spreadsheet.
To counteract this, investing in a robust property management software solution can help agents stay on track with their housing requirements, while also allowing them the peace of mind that effort and input on their part is kept to a minimum.
Some of the key tasks that can be automated on such a platform include accounting, budgeting, forecasting and portfolio preparation. Next, let’s take a look at why going automatic can help property managers stay on task.
More Accurate, Automated Budgeting
When disparate spreadsheets are used across a property management office, the closest thing anyone can do to saving them in a central location is to create a shared folder on the internal network drive. Yet, this allows anyone with access to view the files, manipulate them or even delete them. Or, two people could be working on a file at the same time without tracking their changes, resulting in a complicated mix up that can be timely and expensive to sort through.
An online management platform, on the other hand, can be set up to allow only authorized persons to gain control of the documents. It’s also accessible from anywhere, at any time, meaning that managers can get a quick update on their property from their smartphone or during off hours. These platforms can also be seamlessly integrated into your existing accounting systems for quick transfer of key data.
Finance-Specific Tracking and Analyzing Resources
More so than any other sector in the real estate industry, property managers are required to keep detailed, up-to-date data on all financial information and history. At any given time, they could be called to deliver a quick report on the numbers and need to be able to pull up precisely what they need in a matter of seconds.
When working with a traditional spreadsheet, it could take a significant amount of time to dig and sort through rows and columns of data, yet with an automated platform, this information can be retrieved almost instantly. How? Each authorized team member will have his or her own authorized dashboard that reveals all information critical to their position. Robust search functions make it simple to mine the data for the information required.
As such, when accounting data is obtained more easily, production levels rise across the board. This results in an improved customer experience and stronger client loyalty, as well. From an accounts payable administrator to the CFO, there is opportunity for every front-facing employee to work smarter and more effectively with their audience.
More Robust Tracking Mechanisms
One part of the property management process is gathering key data on financial and operational performance, then measuring that information against others in a similar portfolio. This step helps overseers better understand how a particular property is faring and if any changes need to be made to its management structure.
The data required to complete these reports isn’t always located entirely in-house. Rather, there are many stakeholders in the process and it’s essential that property managers are able to reach them and get what they need in a timely manner. Allowing access to the centralized platform makes this collaboration more streamlined.
When it’s time to pull reports, create forecasts or analyze past performance, a quality property management platform can deliver graphs, charts and tables that illustrate touch points as clearly as possible. Key metrics often reported on include year-to-date revenue, current balances on loans and Net Operating Income (NOI).
Utilizing a Centralized Platform to Ace the Property Management Sphere
As technology continues to evolve, forward-thinking property managers in the property management sphere can look to transition manual and spread-based calculations and reports onto a centralized platform that anyone qualified can access.
It might appear to be a small step, but when this movement is complete and legacy systems are removed, team members in every department will appreciate the improved functionality and accessibility. Property managers will be the ones to reap the greatest benefit, however, as they’re able to take a more proactive, hands-on approach to solving issues and improving renter satisfaction -- two aims that are difficult to achieve when one is stuck behind a keyboard all day.