Without even meeting you, here’s what we know — you want to focus your time running your business, not managing it. Most likely, you’re being too inundated with boring accounting, reporting and commission tasks for any possibility of getting back to it. Did we hit the nail on the head? This is what we like to call streamlining operations.
Every brokerage’s real estate back office and accounting platform is critical for any business to function (they quite literally run the business). However, many brokerages fall into a state of comfort with the systems they’ve always used. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, right? Well, that’s not exactly the point. With a system as critical to a business’s function as the back office, it needs to perform at the highest level possible. And here’s why — the real estate industry is evolving, new technologies are impacting nearly every level of industry, the pandemic has sped up the rate at which we adopt these technologies, and alternative and competitive brokerages frequently offer new and faster ways of doing things.
Just remember, not all real estate back office and accounting systems are created equal. Just ask our leadership at Zipi — they founded Zipi because the existing platforms just weren’t good enough. In order for your brokerage to remain competitive, and not die out as many will, evaluate whether your real estate back office and accounting platform meets the following checklist.
Complex commission schedule management
Long gone are the days of a single commission plan for all agents. In today’s world, the rise of alternative brokerages has given way to multiple commission plans and tiers where agents have more options and more negotiating power. Plus, if you want to keep your top earners, their commission plans will surely be restructured. As the industry continues to evolve, evaluate whether your back office system can manage complex commission plans. Looking for a plus? Evaluate how robust the commission calculation is regarding mentor fees, outstanding invoices, pending deals, etc.
Fast electronic funds transfers
The accounting aspect of your back office should be a top priority (money matters!). With apps like Venmo and instant transfers, why should your business be waiting — slowly and painfully — for payouts and deposits? Systems like Zipi have built their own proprietary encrypted electronic funds transfer system to avoid exactly that.
Big data… there’s so much that it’s like sifting through an empty wasteland. Your real estate back office and accounting platform must offer on-demand reporting meaning the numbers are accessible in real time with the ability to track the numbers and metrics that are relevant to your business. Be aware that other platforms have integrations with strong partners like Google Data Studio that offer fully-customizable reports.
Free and open API
Sick of extra fees? Same. There are plenty of back office and accounting platforms available that have both a free and open API to be paying additional fees. The open API allows you and anyone else in your organization to integrate with other softwares. Essentially, it provides you the ability to build the back office to serve all of your needs. And unfortunately, if you choose to continue operating on legacy software, you’ll have to continue to manage operations on multiple platforms instead of streamlining them into one platform.
Cloud-based is best, and there’s really no way around it. If you’re still operating on a desktop-based software, you know its limitations — you only have one place to close deals, and unfortunately, it’s the office desktop. Cloud-based software gives you the ability to operate from anywhere in the world, which proved to be crucial during the onset of the pandemic. Keep in mind that cloud-based tech is beneficial for your agents as well as they can submit offers and conduct business from listing properties, making their operations even more streamlined.
Pay close attention to this line item if your bookkeeping method is through a spreadsheet. Automated bookkeeping is a sure thing because it takes out the element of human error, which saves you all the time wasted sifting through spreadsheets. Your admin team are then freed up from all the time they spend entering financial data into spreadsheets or even different sections of the platform. They’re more useful to your business than that.
Agent portal with financial management
Many back office platforms don’t pay much attention to agent accessibility, but it’s a major benefit. Does your current system provide agents with their own access to the system? If not, you’re missing out on a huge streamlining opportunity. Your entire brokerage can function under the same umbrella, and if it’s cloud-based, from anywhere in the world.
If you really want to get back to running your business, rather than managing it, bi-directional integrations are a must-have feature. All this means is that both the back office software and its integration partners exchange information back and forth in real time. This eliminates the need for duplicate data entry, or entering the same information into two different systems. And for that something extra, know that there are systems out there that offer this level of integration for no added cost.
Hierarchical permission settings
Can your back office grow and scale with your organization? That’s an important question to consider especially if you expect your business to grow over the next few years (hopefully). As your team and the business grow, make sure that your back office platform has hierarchical permission settings. This is important for not only the security of your brokerage, but it also eases the onboarding process especially when staff changes occur.
Zipi reimagines a fractured system to easily facilitate and transact real estate with our back office, accounting and digital payments products. Zipi meets all of the items on this provided checklist, ensuring that your real estate back office and accounting platform can take your brokerage to the next level. Request a demo to get in contact with one of our expert team members.