Five ways to know if your property management technology measures up to today's competitive challenges

By Judy Hill, SVP, Treasury Management, Taylor Fraleigh, AVP, Commercial Banking

Learn how the proper technology can help set your company up for success.

In today’s competitive marketplace, property managers can use a leg up to run their businesses efficiently while delivering outstanding customer service to the community homeowner and condominium associations they serve. That advantage can be summed up in one word: technology.

Property management software has been around in various forms for several decades, helping managers to streamline and automate their businesses while providing more convenience and round-the-clock accessibility for homeowners. Over the long-term, it can make a real impact on a property manager’s bottom line. In fact, the National Real Estate Investor estimates that software and applications for smart devices offer some real benefits for owners and occupants, accounting for a 45 percent increase in productivity and a 44 percent jump in efficiency.

A dynamic marketplace necessitates that property managers not only keep up with the competition, but set themselves apart. Is your property management system up to that challenge? Here are five features of an efficient system:

1. A single portal. An integrated accounting and banking system provides an easier and faster way for property managers to manage their business and their banking in one application. The days of having to navigate between several systems are gone, replaced with an online system that provides the information property managers need, when and where they need it.

2. Daily reconciling of checks. Using an online system to reconcile checks and transactions helps reduce risk and fraud since accounts are monitored on a daily basis.

3. Automatic drafting and pre-scheduling of association dues. Access to online payment initiation allows homeowners to set up secure, automatic drafts of their association dues from their bank accounts, making payment convenient for homeowners and quicker for property managers.

4. Online homeowners’ requests. Online self-service makes initiating work requests and submitting applications, such as those for architectural changes, easier for homeowners. They can track the status of their request online and plan appropriately for contractors’ schedules without having to contact the property manager. This increases the efficiency of staff while providing homeowners with quick information on demand.

5. On-demand electronic reporting. Technology can help relieve property management staff of time consuming, detail-oriented tasks, such as issuing electronic statements to association Boards of Directors.

Take the long view and realize the rewards

Implementing property management software is an investment, one that requires a learning curve for staff. But by adopting new technology, property managers may also be able to reduce staffing costs over the long term. This can help to boost profits, especially as employment and benefit costs continue to grow, due to a higher minimum wage already enacted in some states and increasing health insurance costs. Property management companies can leverage the cost of implementing the right technology, may be able to reduce staff and as a result increase the company’s margins.

Choosing the right property management technology

As with most things, choosing the right property management software is not a one size fits all solution. Larger property management firms may want to develop a proprietary solution while smaller firms may choose to purchase existing technology. As first steps, property managers need to assess how much they can invest in technology, what tasks they need to automate and how easily they can implement and use new software. Software company Rentec Direct offered advice from 20 property management professionals on the pluses and pitfalls when evaluating new technology.

Staying ahead of the competition

Property management technology can deliver many benefits such as automating processes for accounting and banking, enhancing customer service, increasing communication and access to information, as well as providing long-term cost savings. But, investments in new technology deliver more than internal benefits; they also are an asset in marketing and sales in order to gain new clients. Showcasing best-in-class software can be a real selling point to new associations. It’s important to keep in mind that an investment in technology is an investment in the business, one that translates to exceeding the competition. And, that’s a very good position to be in.