James Andrew International (JAI) has served organisations in the UK, Europe and the USA for approaching 40 years and offers a range of services, including a major concentration on property management. Its clients include high profile businesses and corporations, major investors and wealth funds. With £2.5 billion of commercial and residential property under management in the UK alone, JAI specialises in the management of major commercial buildings, particularly in the West End and City of London. The company also has a growing residential portfolio under management – concentrating on high value apartment blocks and mixed-use developments.
Choosing MRI Qube PM
Delivering a high level of service means having the right support systems – that’s why JAI decided to invest in software and technology to help the business even better serve its customers. The company has always been extremely ambitious and it realised that this investment would help achieve further success and take the business to the next level. For Corin Jenkins, Head of Property Management, the choice was clear. Corin had known of MRI Qube Property Management (Qube PM) from past roles due to its strong reputation in the market, meaning it was on the initial shortlist of solutions for consideration. Crucially, the company required a system that had all of the right functionality from the outset. Corin explains: “Qube not only brings together property management and accounting functions, it’s also a superb business process management tool. It offers an unrivalled set of features that we knew would really cement and enhance our processes.” These points were key drivers in the selection of the software and continue to bring extensive and significant benefits to the company.
“In respect of managerial control – I can see exactly what is happening in the business because we have set the processes in place with Qube PM. The software has given us improved access to data, transparency and speed of response. It delivers the standards of excellence and sophistication our clients want.”
Providing transparency and building trust
While Qube PM has a range of features that support the property management and accounting process, it is also a central point for all property information – core to this is an integrated document management facility. This has since become the document database for the JAI business, storing everything from documents relating to the physical properties (including images) to correspondence (scanned paper and electronic) and all relevant financial documents (such as invoices). Having all this information in one place and easily accessible is a significant benefit to the business. Clients welcome the fact they can also view this information whenever they want through the system too, remotely from their own offices / devices. Needless to say, this access is subject to relevant security parameters to ensure that owners can only see documents relating to their own properties. From Corin’s perspective, being able to offer such a service helps builds trust between JAI and its clients.
Qube PM reporting assists with building confidence
JAI works closely with its property owners to deliver a high-quality personal service, making sure clients have all the information they want, when they want it. This often involves producing client-specific reports, which it uses the system to produce. For example, a client might require a periodic report showing all money movements for each property: rental income received, invoices paid etc. Once set up, these reports can be generated by the system and emailed to the client automatically. By having a clear view of every single transaction, clients are not only kept informed about relevant activity but are also provided with the added confidence that all future transactions will take place on time. Furthermore, not having to produce these reports manually has offered significant time savings for JAI; as well as now having more satisfied clients, Corin and his team are also now able to dedicate more time to other tasks.
Automated reports are also useful internal tools, especially when they are linked to workflows and trigger email reminders of actions due. JAI has set up reports for the ‘nuts and bolts’ of property management, for example to confirm that gas safety certificates are up to date. Other reports deal with the financial side, issuing alerts if service charge accounts risk being overspent. Qube PM has also enabled significant and measurable time savings. A notable example is having the Document Manager – which has cut administration time in half for £20m worth of service charge accounts. “In respect of arrears chasing – the system has saved at least a week a quarter in the credit control team on the rent roll of £200 million. People who see our processes are really impressed and ask what system we use. They want to use it themselves.” Barcode Scanning is another piece of technology that is making a measurable difference. JAI receives as many as 200-300 invoices each day and, like many organisations, its offices previously had to accommodate paper files. As technology developed, the invoices were manually entered into the JAI system but the task took someone all day to complete. With Qube PM, this process has been transformed. Now all those invoices are barcoded and scanned and the human interface has been cut down to a matter of minutes. What’s more, the online versions are all in one place and are accessible to JAI from any office location or in the field. But it is more than simply an efficient scanning exercise. Qube’s barcoding function means that invoices are automatically assigned to files (by supplier, tenant, etc.), making them far easier to retrieve. So, for example, when service charge notices are sent out, all related invoices can be easily retrieved and attached to the notice as a PDF. Not only are such tasks completed far more quickly, barcoding means fewer mistakes are made.