How is going paperless a strategic move for property management firms?

On average, a property manager spends 20% of his or her time on paperwork. It varies from processes like copying, filing, searching, refiling, sending, mailing, faxing etc. Many property management agencies have gone paperless and have never looked back since. That is why technology developers are always encouraging these agencies to go digital, and literally forget about dealing via conventional methods. Is there any actual benefit of going paperless, apart from being ‘environmental-friendly’? And most importantly, is going paperless feasible in property management? Let’s break it down.

Lower cost

Printing and traditional filing processes may not seem like an expense. But the cost of constantly using ink, paper, toner, stationery and filing cabinet space adds up quickly over time. It was reported that the average office worker consumes more than 10,000 sheets of paper each year. This is equivalent to an average expense of around $1,000 per worker and $10,000 for a small property management firm of 10 agents. These days, with a reputable property management systems or software, paperwork is a thing of the past and all your documents are conveniently filed away into your smartphone – accessible anytime, anywhere thanks to the cloud. Digitization in the form of cloud computing software reduces money spent on paper-based processes, physical storage spaces and employee’s time to manage paperwork. 

Although property firms may have to spend more upfront on prop-tech, going paperless is a wise financial investment in the long run. For example, with the adoption of paperless module in a system, a real-estate service firm based in Canada called Colliers International has simplified its process of handling cost invoices, reduced system maintenance and administrative costs and accelerated document registrations significantly. According to Colliers President Charles Swain, going paperless has gave Colliers International the visibility throughout the entire process – from providing an audit trail for compliance, allowing to store and extract data electronically to giving Collier the controls and reporting capabilities to serve their clients better.

Improves document tracking

Missing sheets of paper and important files are common scenarios in paper-based offices. If such an occurrence happens in a property management firm, it can cause significant issues and potentially end up in deficits. Even property management offices with the most organized filing system cannot avoid mixing up documents, misplacing, or inadvertently destroying important records. This never ends well for the affected companies. If your company can’t serve its clients or ends up in the headlines as the result of a data or document loss incident, the negative publicity can damage your business reputation permanently. Not to mention the cost involved to repair their brand after a data loss event. However, with a solid document management system, property firms can automatically save important documents, index files and even produce custom reports on demand. And if you’re concerned about accessibility, using a cloud-based system will enable you to access key information anytime, anywhere or any device.

Refined tenant-agent communication

A paperless system makes it far easier to keep track of communication. The emergence of smartphones has pretty much revolutionized how property agents communicated with their tenants. There was, however, a weakness in tracking paper trails, particularly during disputes. That is why most property managers still prefer delivering reams of paper documents to their tenants to date. A proper paperless system can tackle these challenges. It can help deliver a tenant’s document instantaneously and also maintain a thread for follow ups or future tracking. A tenant can get in touch with documents related to their property anytime and communicate with the vendor immediately. It also allows property management firms to redact confidential information and create audit trails for record keeping purposes.

On-the-go service

Going paperless helps property management firms project a positive brand image to clients and stakeholders alike. Apart from being eco-friendly, industry players associated with paperless systems can demonstrate how advanced they are by going mobile. Smartphones and tablets replace the heaps of files. Information such as statements and invoices can be promptly retrieved and supplied to tenants and owners. A perfect paperless system will also instantly generate digital reports with trusted data for the property management firm’s business planning directly from the mobile device for added convenience. Today, most if not all companies have implemented a HR system. According to our recent HR survey conducted in August 2020, about 71% of businesses have adopted HR software to handle HR-related processes. The survey also revealed that the top 3 most important features HR professionals look for in a HRMS are: Employee Information Management, Time & Attendance Management and Payroll/Benefits Management.

Still not convinced?

Going paperless is not a novel concept, but making the switch requires not only smart, robust technology, but a commitment to make it happen. With the pointers discussed above, it is obvious that there is an e-revolution brewing in the property industry. Going paperless would eliminate clustering, streamline procedures, simplify property management tasks and, invariably make a property management firm more organized and effective. Hence, going paperless is one of the best strategic move any property management firm could make to elevate productivity in their business. Don’t you agree?

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