Property managers are constantly juggling lots of expenses: new fixtures, landscaping care and general renovations, to name a few. It is imperative that all maintenance expenses are well-documented. The last thing a property manager wants to do is falsely report earnings from the sale of a property just because he or she couldn’t accurately – and easily – track all of the money put into the building.
With so many property expenses and so little time to track them, automated controls to monitor and manage expenses is crucial.
A good step is to invest in automated expense management technology. Expense management tools eliminate all manual data entry, better organize and track expenses and ultimately can save lots of time and money. It’s simply simpler.
Now, you may already know about expense tools – but do you know if you’re using the right one? Is it tailored to your line of work as a property manager?
You shouldn’t have to learn and use complicated technology when you need to focus on managing properties. That’s why you need automated expense management technology that is not only simple to set up, but also easy and straightforward to use.
We know several property managers who have large piles of expenses related to building maintenance and support. The last thing they need is to be buried with mundane and error-prone data entry, but they didn’t know any better. After all, manually typing data into spreadsheets is all they were familiar with. Plus, new technology can be scary. We understand that.
But not all expense management software is complicated. In fact, it’s quite simple to use. The same property managers who didn’t know about expense management tools now follow a few steps to manage these costs. They connect to email on their mobile phone or take a picture, and all of their expense documents automatically come together. They can even upload paper documents through apps, and websites if they prefer. That’s it. They are now on their way to more accurately managing expense data and, more importantly, their overall business. And you can, too.
Here’s where this technology can really benefit you as a property manager: it allows you to add project codes and notes. Forget writing, for example, “This is for the Main Street property” on a receipt. Instead, do things digitally: fill in the so-called “metadata” fields for each uploaded receipt so that you know which property the costs are going into. There is no more guessing. No more inaccurate property-expense tracking.
When you put that new ceiling light on the third floor of a hallway, for example, you can capture that expense right away – and make sure you know which property it’s about. And when you repave that new driveway, you can do the same thing. You can capture expenses, large and small, any time and anywhere.
Remember how we mentioned using your mobile phone? This is a big draw here for property managers.
It’s easy to misplace receipts and lose track of expenses – especially during a hectic week. Keep it simple and use your mobile phone. If you can operate a mobile phone camera, you can operate expense management tools. That is the only training criteria. Yes, you are probably ready to use it right now.
Using these tools gives you an easy way to compare vendors and contractor agreements. For example, you might find out through tracking expenses digitally that your lawn care contractor over the past two years has become more expensive than one used in the past. You are able to see this through consistently tracking these expenses – and even producing reports – each month.
What about money? A typical property manager can probably save an extra $500 to $2,000 each month depending upon how much work they do.
Bottom line: If you want to take control of your property expenses, use automated expense management technology. You will spend more time investing in properties and less time on tedious data entry.
James Thomas is the founder and CEO of Itemize, a New York City-based payments data company whose technology transforms receipts and invoices into structured information for property managers and other clients