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How Property Managers Can Streamline A Year-End Financial Close
Financial year-end is possibly one of the most stressful periods for all business owners, property management agencies included.
But, it doesn't have to be that bad. If pre-planned and managed well, your financial year-end close doesn't have to be an anxiety-ridden, manic time of the year. While it might be a bit late to streamline your 2020 financial year-end, now is the time to start putting the processes in place to make sure that next year runs a lot smoother.
Here are a few tips to help streamline your property management agency, ensuring that your financial year-end close goes smoothly.
How property managers can streamline their business processes
The leading cause of stress during the financial year-end is that it's still a regular business month. You always have the same requests as with any other month - which is a lot for property managers!
This makes it even more critical to plan ahead so that you aren't required to put in a bunch more time just before tax submissions.
It starts at the beginning of the year
The work that goes into streamlining your financial year-end starts long before the time rolls around for submissions. It takes a full year of properly managing your finances and business processes.
This includes keeping up with your finances on a monthly basis. Each month, make sure your files are all in order and your invoices, receipts and statements are filed. Add this to your monthly to-do list and make sure that you know exactly what your accountant needs from you.
By starting how you mean to go on, you can avoid backtracking in February trying to see where the gaps are for the whole year.
Start automating & digitising your business processes
Automation technology is there to make your business processes more efficient. Automation allows you to do your job faster and in a more competitive way. As a property manager, there are many ways that you can implement automation.
There is software available that can automate and accelerate the financial close and reporting process. Tools that give you direct access to information from multiple systems, in real-time, are the fastest and most effective way of automating many of those annoying year-end closing tasks.
The most common areas for property managers to automate include:
Proper accounting software allows you to track the ins and outs of your business's financial life. Sign up with cloud-based accounting software that allows you to keep track of all aspects of your finances, from sending out levy statements to tracking payments, invoices and expenses. Staying on top of this month will mean that you don't have to do it all in one batch. A cloud-based solution also allows your accountant and bookkeeper to access your books without you having to send them anything.
A tracking system
A tracking system is not only the best way for a property manager to stay organised in terms of their daily tasks, but also to help stay on top of the books. You can set monthly reminders to send out levies, pay accounts and send through all required information to your accountant.
This refers to a communication-type platform where you can push information onto an app, directly into your customer's hands.
Automating these processes will save you loads of time and hassle in the long run - for all areas of your business. However, it's also important to remember that good technology paired with poor processes will hamper your results. You need to have well-thought-out processes that eliminate manual, non-essential steps. Technology should be used as an enabler of an improved process, not the answer in itself.
Have regular communication with your bookkeeper/accountant
Don't only talk to your accountant or bookkeeper during the tax seasons. Make sure that you have regular communication with them, ensuring that your books remain up to date throughout the year. If any issues arise, deal with them straight away.
It's also important to set up a regular flow of communication. Specify when the best time is for a monthly check-in with each other, the format of the documents that you need to provide, and the way that you would like to share information/communicate.
Use your property management software to analyse your accounts
Accounting and ticketing software can help you analyse your business and spot problem areas. If you regularly keep track of the reports that these types of software are able to produce, you'll be able to spot issues sooner and sort them out way before year-end rolls around.
For example, if you notice that levy nonpayment or late payment is an area where you're losing a lot of money, you can develop strategies to address this with your body corporates. Use these tools to assess your financial strategies on an ongoing basis so that you can implement solutions and better plan for the upcoming year.
Avoid the stress by optimising your businesses processes
The foundation of a streamlined financial year-end close process is built with the right processes and the right technology. With careful planning and continuous upkeep, you can increase accuracy, while decreasing the overall workload associated with period-end closings.
Start getting ahead on your next financial year-end now.
About the authorChileque Bezuidenhout is the director of Unity, a cloud-based property management software, designed to help managing agents and estate managers streamline their operations and customer service. Should you wish to reach out to her directly you can follow her on LinkedIn.
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