When Going Paperless is the Norm
Anyone who has the pleasure to sit my trust account training hears me speak of how I ran a paperless office in 2007. Yep, imagine that – a paperless office way back with 2007 technology. How did she do it?!
Well, I tell a small lie. It wasn’t completely paperless. It was almost paperless with 95% of my documents online. The only documents in paper format were the lease agreement and agency agreement. A pretty good feat I say.
Back then, online forms just didn’t exist. Either that or they were just rolling out and too expensive to implement into our rent roll of around 70 properties. Fast forward to 2020 and the age of digital technology. A paperless office is now the norm. Printer sales are plummeting and A4 paper stocks are dwindling. If you still rely on your good old jet printer, you may be asking…
“How is it possible to run a paperless office?”
“What subscriptions do I need to run this modern office?”
“Who am I and what year are we in?” Kidding. But really, here’s what you need to do.
Steps to Implement a Paperless Office
Cloud-based accounting software
First and foremost you need a good cloud-based trust accounting software platform. Shop around for the solution that best suits your needs. To help, we have previously highlighted the Top 10 Trust Accounting Software Features you need to look out for.
There are many form providers out there depending on your needs. Do your research to see which is going to work best for you. You want a solution that allows you to prepare agency agreements and leases. Some of our paperless office clients rave about a platform called ‘Flk it Over’ for leases. You can also subscribe to other providers and use Adobe DocuSign to see the digital footprint from your Owners and Tenants.
Inspection apps can save countless hours in managing your Open for Inspections. They integrate with all major advertising portals and assist with managing contacts. You can integrate digital application forms and present to your Landlords in a privacy-friendly digital format.
Good digital infrastructure
Implement a good digital infrastructure including your backup methods (particularly for your property photos, property records and trust accounting documents). We have rehashed multiple times the need to backup everything in your agency.
Discard the old key book. Even key management has gone digital now. You can track the whereabouts of sets of property keys and get alerts when keys are in the office, on loan, or missing.
Outsourced trust accounting provider
If going paperless is all seeming too much for you to handle at any stage of your business, outsourcing your trust accounting can take a huge load off your plate. End of Month Angels lets you focus on growing your rent roll while professionals manage the financial part of your business.
Step up your accounts receivable ante and have your invoices sent digitally to a designated inbox. Council rates, strata levies and water rates can all be sent digitally. It does take a little extra admin time, but once set up, everything is automated, saving you loads of admin time.
We are by no means saying that social media is mandatory – however, it certainly helps with lead generation and engagement with your local community. Check out our Facebook and Insta pages for inspiration.
Tenant payment platforms
There are some excellent tenant payment platforms to provide tenants with various digital options to pay their rent. Preferably choose one which allows for a reference number system. Never accept cash.
EFT Payments & Owner Statements
Back in 2007, we gave our owners an option – convert to EFT or pay $5 per cheque. Everyone instantly converted to EFT. We also converted all of our Owners to receive paperless statements with their invoice attachments. With cloud technology, it’s possible for Owners to receive statements within seconds of processing End of Month. Additionally, the new Osko that banks have rolled out allows Owners to receive their payments the same day it is processed.
Oh, how we wish we had access to this sort of technology back in 2007! If this all sounds a bit foreign to you, you may be asking, “Is it legal?”
Regulations state that all trust records must be kept in visible form. As long as you’re maintaining good records on your trust accounting software and backing up source documents regularly then you are able to meet compliance.
If you want to create some digital processes in your office and become a paperless office – talk to our team. We specialise in assisting Rent Roll Owners take their business to the next level, digitally.
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 23 years industry experience. Don’t trust just anyone with your trust accounting. Book an appointment with an End of Month Angel today.