Skip to main content

Old meets new – How property companies must embrace technology to diversify and survive

In the face of disruption caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, how can landlords utilise PropTech to adapt their business models and what should they look for?

Before the onset of Covid-19, office tenants demanded flexible spaces that were energy efficient, promoted employee wellbeing and productivity and represented their corporate identities. While these demands remain, there is now the added need for space to adhere to social distancing and enhanced hygiene standards.

Restrictions on capacity have made a complete return to the office impossible, and in any case, businesses have been successful in working from home.

As a result, businesses now question the need for office space in general, let alone expensive space in prestigious locations.

Historically property companies have capitalised on the desire for premium locations by locating themselves in expensive areas, giving them both the kudos of postcode and easy access to professional services, finance and other property professionals. This has left them facing a potential ‘double-whammy’ of both a fall in rental incomes and their own premium location rents becoming an unwanted cost.

Most landlords and property companies are well established businesses with a set business model that has served them well for years. However, they now need to look closely at these models and overheads and explore ways to diversify, streamline their business and save money to remain competitive.

Businesses now question the need for office space in general, let alone expensive space in prestigious locations.

Diversification through Data

Utilising technology is one of the best ways to reduce costs while maintaining productivity and accessing real-time information – all of which is essential in this constantly changing environment. The adoption of ‘PropTech’, particularly specialised property add-ons for accounting packages, gives landlords access to essential business intelligence, including:

  • profit/rents per unit
  • analysis of utility costs per unit
  • greater details on ‘void’ (empty units) across the portfolio
  • improved managed accounts reporting

The application of this data enables landlords and property companies to look at their own office footprint and potentially downsize or move to a remote working model. This could allow them to use the space they once occupied as additional space to let. Alternatively, they could use that freed up space to host more income-producing staff to grow other revenue generating areas of their business.

Adaptability through Automation

Another key benefit to technology adoption is automation. Many property add-ons for accounting software allow data to be easily uploaded, with some systems capable of reading documents and extracting the key information themselves.

Technology can streamline your invoicing process, automatically raising and sending invoices to your customers and tenants, ensuring that there are no unnecessary delays, improving cashflow and bottom line.

Together, the automation of tasks that were traditionally undertaken through manual inputting reduces processing time and increases accuracy. It also saves effort, allowing a reduction in the size of teams or redeployment of people from processing roles into other areas of the business to generate new leads, opportunities and growth.

Conclusion

Whilst technology will not be the only factor to help save commercial landlords and associated property businesses, the benefits of adopting a robust technology solution can substantially aid cost savings and increase the chance of survival. While relevant to all companies, those who are located in areas of high rent will need to act the fastest.

In order to capitalise upon these technology platforms, however, it is key that companies understand what reports and data their business needs, as well as how to extract that from the chosen technology solution.

This is where we can help.

Would you like to know more?

Our Outsourcing team draw upon their wealth of platform expertise to advise on the latest and most suitable cloud-based packages.

With such a range of applications available in the market it is hard to know which one is most suitable for your business. Our Outsourcing team draw upon their wealth of platform expertise to advise on the latest and most suitable cloud-based packages. They also focus on efficiencies around streamlining the data going into your accounting system and how this is accessed and worked on securely, even when remote working.

Our multi-disciplinary Property & Construction team also draw upon their deep commercial, sector experience to understand what insights and intelligence your business needs from technology, to ensure your business can not only survive the current crisis, but also thrive when it’s over.

If you would like to discuss potential changes to your property management and accounting systems, please get in touch with a member of our Outsourcing team using the details to the right.