Last month we attended the EAC seminar where we heard numerous stories about complaints made to Fair Trading. Interestingly, of all the agencies that were visited by Fair Trading could have been avoided. How? With the use of internal processes and checklists. Yep, it’s that simple.

With the Easter holidays upon us, Licensees may be looking to take a well-deserved break away from the office and delegate some of their role to other internal staff. The handing over and taking of holidays will be a whole lot easier on everyone with some internal processes and checklists in place.

The Beauty of Checklists

Oh how we love a checklist! Unfortunately some of our biggest stuff-ups can be because we have intermittently lost concentration and made a slip up. That is where checklists can save the day.

They ensure consistency and reduce failure rates. They eliminate our requirement to remember every single detail. Now who wouldn’t want that?

Even the most trained professionals forget simple steps in a process that they do all the time. All it takes is the slightest distraction. A phone call, a dog barking, the postman… and the result can be a disaster of mammoth proportions. Even McDonald’s workers have checklists to ensure consistency in their food products. So there is no reason why Real Estate should be any different. After all, we want to provide the best possible service to our clients to keep them coming back. Just like a Bacon and Egg McMuffin on a lazy Sunday morning.

So jokes aside, let’s put the mighty checklist into action for your agency with a pre-end of month software checklist.

Pre-End of Month Checklist for Your Cloud Based Software

Completing these 6 simple Pre-End of Month steps in your cloud based software will mean the difference between happy landlord and a landlord packing their bags to the agent next door.

Not only that, it can prevent a breach in your next annual audit, or an unwanted visit from your governing authority.

  1. Unidentified/Unknown Deposits

    Check your unidentified/unknown deposits ledger or allocations screen and allocate as much as possible. This will ensure they don’t get out of control. Anything older than 2 years in NSW can be lodged with OSR. Keep a track of genuine unknown items by running this process every month. It will help you keep on top of the balance held. It also ensures that any allocations to tenant deposit can now be reversed and applied accordingly.

  2. Adjustments

    Check your bank reconciliation for any adjustments that can be cleared. The aim is to have everything allocated by End of Month and NIL adjustments on the final reconciliation.

  3. Overdue Bills

    Check the bills/invoices screen for payments due to suppliers/creditors. This will ensure that there are no old bills floating around. Anything due older than the previous 2 months will need investigation. It could be due to allocating a bill/invoice to an incorrectly archived account.

  4. Tenant Deposit Accounts

    Check the trial balance or held funds report to see which tenants have funds sitting in their deposit/holding accounts. Clear as much from these as possible by allocating to outstanding invoices or rent arrears. If the tenant has vacated, contact them for their bank details and process any overpaid rent.

  5. Unpresented Items

    Check the reconciliation screen for any unpresented items. There could be unreconciled batch files sitting there which haven’t come out of the bank as yet.

  6. Missing Bank Details

    Checking that you have all your owners bank details pre-end of month is great internal process. It ensures that you haven’t overlooked this part of the account setup… particularly new clients. The best way to do this is to pretend you’re doing the payment run and look at anything that says ‘Enter Payment Details’ or have ‘None’ as the disbursement method.

  7. Withheld Funds

    Statement previews are a great way to check to see if there are holdovers that need to be removed from an owners account. You can do this from the owner disbursements screen.

  8. Unpaid Suppliers

    Checking the trial balance will reveal any old creditors/suppliers that may have a NIL disbursement method or have been archived incorrectly and need to be paid out.

This is a great way to start your checklist process within your agency. Then get ready for stress-free breaks and confident staff who are comfortable in all your internal processes.

– Jane Morgan is the Director of End of Month Angels, a consultancy firm specialising in Trust Accounting. Jane knows the legislative requirements of running a successful Real Estate office through her 21 years industry experience. Don’t trust just anyone with your trust accounting. Book an appointment with an End of Month Angel today.