This case study looks at a property mogul’s experience of switching to Arthur Online. John used his bookkeeper, Helen, to deal with his business needs. With over half a decade of experience with her client’s property portfolio, which began with “a room of lever arch folders and a spreadsheet”, Helen realised it was becoming impossible to do so manually…
Therefore, she made the decision to move to a software-based system, first choosing a property management tool that did not link with Xero. However, she found she was having the same issues as before; double entry provided a huge stumbling block. The process was better, but still extremely time consuming, whilst also leaving a large opportunity for human error. A lack of automation in the system meant that countless hours were still wasted dealing with calls from tenants; every time she took a call “there was a cost” to her client and “another job didn’t get done.”
Moreover, she had to rely on her client using Dropbox to upload relevant receipts and invoices before having to manually import them into Xero. Once she managed to do this, Helen still had to search to the relevant transactions to complete rent and disbursement reconciliations. Additionally, assessing the performance of each individual property was laborious.
Transitioning to an Arthur/Xero solution meant that all these issues were going to be resolved. Arthur is configured to dovetail into a Xero set up. Initially, we inputted all properties and set up recurring rent charges in Arthur to ensure invoices were regularly scheduled. Previously, recurring invoices were generated in Xero; for a successful integration, we removed these recurring invoices and scheduled the Arthur invoices to generate from a set point. Once linked, Arthur acts as your invoice generator. From here, Helen could add any miscellaneous charge and deduct them from remittances.
Figure 1 demonstrates how recurring charges appear in Arthur, whereas figure 2 displays these on an Arthur statement with any miscellaneous charges added.
Figures 1 and 2 are carried over into Xero, with figure 3 showing the easy reconciliation process in Xero. This dealt with one crucial issue that most people in the industry suffer from. Helen noted that without software, property managers must “rely on memory” or “continuously check a calendar” for rent due dates on ASTs or various miscellaneous charges. When you have one or two properties this is fine, but when you are managing over thirty this becomes an issue. With an Arthur/Xero set-up, you simply import them into Arthur and they seamlessly carry over. Again, this allows easy reconciliation whilst also saving time and reducing potential for human error.
Two more key features within the Arthur system have helped save Helen time. Particularly, she struggled following up with tenants when rent was overdue, especially as it was hard to work out who had paid what when. However, now the portfolio is managed through Arthur and integrated with Xero, she can easily see who has paid. On top of that, Arthur’s powerful automation engine means any tenant that does fall behind on rent payments is automatically contacted.
As alluded to previously, communicating with tenants was difficult. Whenever Helen had to deal with a call, there was an associated cost. Arthur has a boutique suite of applications for all stakeholders, including tenants, allowing ease of communications. The software provides an opportunity for tenants to contact their property manager via the app through push notifications. This allowed Helen to deal with issues in her own time, whilst keeping tenants abreast of what was happening, and assured that she would not forget. One of her first instances using this, she notes, was when she was easily able to get in contact with tenants of a five bed HMO to allow a valuation of property to occur when a client was looking to re-mortgage. A simple message and she was done, rather than having to try and contact each tenant individually Combined, Arthur and Xero have saved Helen a serious amount of time on a daily basis. This has allowed her to spend time improving the service she already offers, increasing what her business can offer, recruiting new clients to grow her business and, most importantly, spending more time with her family.
Choosing to manage your property portfolio with an Arthur/Xero solution, as the case study shows, makes your life as a bookkeeper, accountant or general property manager easier. Using these two products together removes double entry, produces effective and easy profit and losses for relevant properties and ensure accuracy with payments.