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Commercial Property Management Software

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Buyer's Guide

by Taylor Short,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: March 14, 2017

Commercial property management for retail, industrial and office space have needs distinct from residential properties. Solutions help users create detailed financial projections, automatically calculate rent increases, create recurring charges for each tenant and calculate common area management (CAM) charges and reconciliation, among other things.

What is Commercial Property Management Software?

A commercial property management solution helps eliminate the troubles of overlooking several rental properties in person. The solution helps homeowners handle various aspects, such as rent and financial management and property maintenance.

Advanced commercial property management systems offer cloud-based portals that enable busy property owners, who live far away from the properties, manage their investments online anytime. The solution can be accessed either from a desktop or any mobile device. Also, based on your purchasing budget, there are commercial solutions in the market that either charge a monthly fee (such as AppFolio property manager) or a one-time license cost (such as SKYLINE property management software).

Common Features of Commercial Property Management Software

When conducting a software comparison, you can visit our commercial property management reviews page. You should also consider the following features:

Property tracking Enables you to manage multiple addresses categorized by individual unit as well as by complex or region.
Integrated accounting This software integrates general ledger, accounts payable and receivable, expense tracking, balance sheets, income statements and payroll management to let you better manage every aspect of your company’s finances. It can also automate rent and deposit collection, late fee notices and payroll functions.
Fixed asset management Lets you track the status of your assets so you know how and when they’ll depreciate and can manage their overall value accordingly.
Budgeting and forecasting  Supports budgeting and financial forecasts by calculating income, valuation, expenses and other financial considerations.
Maintenance tracking Keeps records of regular maintenance schedules, and features automatic alerts to notify managers when scheduled or upcoming maintenance tasks are due.

Market Trends to Understand

Commercial and real estate property owners should always be ready for unexpected changes in the marketplace. The trends mentioned below can help you identify the current trends in the commercial property market.

Software-as-a-service. The ability to always be connected, ease of use and technology savviness are among the primary requirements of this software market. SaaS combines all three and enables users to access the solution online from any location. It also reduces the operating costs and enhances the flexibility of management.

Self-service portals. These days, clients prefer to manage things and access their accounts from the comfort and user-friendly interface of their smartphones and mobile devices. Hence, commercial and real estate property management systems must include features that allow residents and tenants to access their accounts online by logging on to self-service portals.

Business intelligence capabilities. Information derived from business intelligence applications is essential for driving future business strategy. A key feature of commercial property management systems is forecasting and budgeting capability. This feature will enable property owners to understand various scenarios (such as future demand analysis and potential financial risk) which may occur in the future and anticipate measures to counter them.

Payment automation. One of the fastest-growing trends in the property management software market is the ability to accept payments online. With the rapid growth in the number of online transactions and purchases, tenants expect an automated payment system to be an integral part of any property management system.

Mobile optimization. Mobile devices are rapidly disrupting the traditional workflow. As a result, many property owners plan to extend their existing applications to smartphones and other mobile devices. Mobile optimization enables tenants and residents to manage their rentals and paperwork remotely.

Case Studies

Viewing a list of software features can be helpful, but the real question is how these features can make a tangible difference when it comes to managing and growing your company. To that end, we’ve compiled a snapshot of three case studies that explore how a particular feature within commercial property management software systems has helped a company effectively solve a pressing need or problem.

Integrated management and accounting applications increase worker productivity and reduce mistakes. Utilizing the integrated applications offered by commercial property management programs like Total Management means data only has to be entered into a single system. This can help increase productivity and enable staff to devote more time to revenue-producing activities.

Prior to switching to Total Management, Park Lane Group was using two separate systems to handle their management and accounting needs. With Total Management, they no longer have to complete double entries and have reduced costly data entry errors. Additionally, they were able to generate comprehensive accounting reports that uncovered a $10,000 rent-receivables bill owed to them.

Source: http://www.totalmanagement.com/customer-satisfaction

Electronic work orders eliminate paperwork and costly errors. Using an electronic work order feature, like the one found in Bigfoot Maintenance’s commercial real estate software, eliminates the need for unwieldy paperwork and can thus increase productivity. Standardized forms and tracking abilities can reduce costly, time-consuming errors.

University of Connecticut Health Center Telecommunications (UCHC TeleComm) is responsible for the network and telecom maintenance of a campus that spans 206 acres and has over 7,000 voice stations and 170,000 square feet of research laboratories. Previously, they struggled to process 400-plus work orders per month via an outdated method of email and Microsoft Word templates that left them overwhelmed with paperwork and prone to duplicate work orders.

Bigfoot’s integrated electronic work order component has led to a significant drop in duplicate work orders and a 15 percent increase in productivity. Comprehensive reporting capabilities enable UCHC TeleComm staff to submit monthly reports that detail their current projects and the progress they’ve made.

Source: http://www.bigfootcmms.com/customers/profiles_uconn.html

Sample Bigfoot Work Order Module
An example of Bigfoot’s maintenance request module

Industry-specific accounting reduces time spent calculating monthly figures. A comprehensive and commercial-oriented accounting application, such as that found in Sage 300, can drastically reduce the amount of time spent calculating figures at the end of each month and thereby boost efficiency.

Prior to switching to Sage 300, McGrath Development used spreadsheets to manage the accounting needs for one million square feet in properties, which proved inefficient—calculating their reconciliations and month-end close took nearly four weeks to complete. Sage 300’s accounting application has made this process faster and easier, shortening it to two and a half to three weeks and freeing up valuable time for other essential tasks.

Source: http://na.sage.com/sage-300-construction-and-real-estate/resources/~/media/AF0B38340D574057AEF1614754075F52.pdf

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Commercial Property Management Software Comparison

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