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July 25, 2023 10:15AM

Identifying Technology That Can Transform Finance and Operations Functions

I recently took part in a panel discussion as part of the IMN’s 10th Annual Real Estate CFO & COO Forum (West) in which we discussed using technology to transform finance and operations functions for businesses in the real estate industry.

Identifying and implementing the right technologies for their needs is a challenge for all businesses, and the real estate industry has historically been relatively slow to adopt and adapt to new technological innovations. Read on to learn about some of the biggest issues currently facing the real estate industry and how the right technologies can help to solve them. 

What Are the Biggest Technology Challenges Facing the Real Estate Industry Today? 

Perhaps the biggest technology challenge facing property businesses today is the need for automation within the property management and corporate accounting spaces. Many organizations are facing hiring issues and struggling to find the talent they need to do the required work, leaving them rushing to get the necessary tasks completed by the end of each month. This leads to a delay in quarterly reporting, which has a substantial domino effect on numerous aspects of the business. 

In addition, investors are now demanding both more timely and more just-in-time reporting. With the ongoing human capital shortage, businesses are struggling to meet those deadlines because data is not readily available and is often being aggregated manually. 

Tenants are also demanding more from their letting companies by way of services, and residential and management companies are finding it difficult to meet these demands. 

Using AI to Solve These Problems 

Artificial intelligence, or AI, is currently dominating the news and disrupting long-established ways of doing things in businesses and industries across the globe. In the real estate industry, AI has tremendous potential to help businesses thrive if its power is harnessed correctly. 

For example, AI can be used to handle software integrations between disparate systems and to manage the aggregation of data. Robotic Process Automation, or RPA, can handle mundane and repetitive tasks such as bank reconciliations, which otherwise take up tremendous amounts of staff time and often contribute to delays in financial reporting. 

Amid the current hiring problems facing our industry and many others, tools such as AI and RPA can save staff time, streamline systems, eliminate duplication of data, and ensure that reporting is completed on time.

What Are Some of the Most Common Pitfalls in Technology Implementations?

Having helped hundreds of clients identify and implement the right technological solutions for their businesses, we have seen many of the same mistakes and pitfalls arise again and again.

One of the biggest mistakes companies make lies in insufficient communication at the beginning of a technology implementation project. If communication is not complete and forthright among all stakeholders, things can quickly go awry. A technology consultant must ensure they fully understand the company’s policies and procedures, agree upon a timeline, and review all the relevant information before beginning the project. It is a good idea to build in additional time to account for the unexpected, as well as for absences due to sickness or vacation. Don’t forget, too, that stakeholders within the company will still be working on their regular jobs in addition to the selection and implementation of new technology. 

Another common pitfall is failing to clearly establish what the organization is expecting to get out of its technology investment and how success will be measured. We solve for this with an extensive requirements gathering phase at the beginning of the project, interviewing all parties involved and ensuring we understand exactly what they want and need the technology to do. Begin by identifying pain points and then work out which tools are best equipped to resolve them. 

Get Support With Your Real Estate Technology

Here at REdirect, we have years of experience in supporting clients from across the real estate industry with identifying, choosing, and implementing the technologies that work for them. Wherever you are in your real estate technology journey, we can support you. Our team of experts will walk you through identifying pain points; assessing the benefits and risks of possible solutions; managing concerns such as compliance, hiring, training, and reporting; and successfully implementing and integrating your new technologies into your business in a way that minimizes disruption to day-to-day operations.

If you would like to learn more about what we have discussed in this post, or about any other aspect of choosing and implementing real estate technology for your business, please contact us. A member of our team will be pleased to advise you. 

We are able to easily populate month end support workpapers by just changing dates and build and customize reports such as variance analysis and trend reports,  without needing a programmer or query skills.

Susan Manning – Senior Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer

American Realty Capital

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