Blog May 10, 2018

The secret to winning your real estate reporting challenges

By Amy Collier

This is a guest blog by Amy Collier, Vice President Worldwide Marketing from our partner Global Software.

When it comes to financial and operational reporting in real estate, no one knows the challenges better than Midwest Property Management. With over 50 residential properties, commercial properties, and hotels to their name, Midwest Property Management is one of the largest privately held residential rental property holders in Alberta and the Northwest Territories of Canada. That means the management company has many reports to configure each month.

Dealing with time-consuming reporting challenges

Each of Midwest Property Management’s properties requires its own operations reporting and its own corporate reporting. In addition, the company works with several different ownership groups that each want to see something very specific. These reports need to be customized to each group’s requirements, whether that includes graphs or pivot tables or something entirely different.

Capital reporting for units can be especially time-consuming for Midwest Property Management. To cover all their locations, this report needed to be created 65 times, including a version for every property (commercial and residential), consolidated reports based on property managers, and finally, consolidated reports based on ownership groups. Historically, creating this report took up to one week.

When numbers were questioned in meetings, Property Analyst Joseline Leroux could only take notes in the moment, then return to her desk to pull the numbers and distribute at a later time or even a later day. Budget process reporting included more than 100 pages and could take upward of three weeks to assemble.

Difficulties in data management

These challenges are not unique to Midwest Property Management. Even real estate groups with lower volumes of properties or fewer owners still struggle to create all the reports they need from multiple data sources to get the most complete and timely picture of their business. Reports for budget season can be a particular challenge due to the sheer volume of information from multiple sources that needs to be included. If additional required supporting information comes in after the report is created, then they must start from scratch all over again.

But all that changed when Midwest Property Management selected and implemented Spreadsheet Server into their MRI reporting processes in July of 2017.

Bring reporting efficiency back with Spreadsheet Server

Spreadsheet Server, a Microsoft® Excel automation reporting platform from Global Software, Inc., a member of MRI Software’s Partner Connect program, connects to more than 80 different ERPs. It assembles real-time data from your ERP system and other disparate data sources into a single report in Excel. Using nothing more than basic Excel knowledge, any user can create, refresh, and distribute any report automatically in a secure environment.

For Midwest Property Management, Spreadsheet Server is a game changer. Once a report is built in Spreadsheet Server to automatically pull in all the live data from MRI and other data sources, refreshing for the most up-to-date information—or refreshing for a new month—becomes as easy as clicking a button.

Leroux’s favorite feature is the drill-down capability, which enables her to click and see the data behind a specific result in her report. Now any time numbers are questioned, a few clicks can immediately show the data that backs up the report results, allowing her to answer quickly with the right information. The result? Both she and those inquiring now have more confidence in reporting results and the ability to instantly investigate further for any necessary proof.

“Spreadsheet Server is the best thing that ever happened to me.”

The best proof of Spreadsheet Server’s success in working with MRI, however, is in the time saved. Leroux estimates that Midwest Property Management has saved at least 75 hours—nearly two full work weeks—on reporting in 2017, and she looks forward to calculating the time-savings achieved in 2018. “Spreadsheet Server is the best thing that has ever happened to me,” Leroux states.

You can hear more of Midwest Property Management’s story here, including a full illustration of how Spreadsheet Server connects with MRI to create the dynamic reports you need. In addition, you can also read the case study for an in-depth look at Midwest Property Management and the solutions it’s implemented.

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