Housing associations are facing increasing pressure to transform digitally – both to provide a better customer experience and to create cost efficiencies. Along with the fact that tenants are becoming increasingly internet savvy – and expect to access services immediately online – you can see why choosing the right system to modernise working methods has become vital. When purchasing new finance software, there are five things to consider as a housing association.
Housing management systems offer lots of functionality, but the finance side is often overlooked. Updating your finance system will undoubtedly improve your ability to manage customer enquiries, property assets and maintenance, however, it can be hard to know what to look for in finance software.
Here are five things to look for in a new finance system:
While it’s important to use technology across all areas of the business, finding a solution that ticks all the boxes may not be possible. After all, housing associations are complex entities, with many schemes having mixed tenure development, for example.
If your housing management software is not fit for specific tasks such as the viewing and sorting of payments, invest in a finance system that integrates into existing packages. Finance software that allows for flexible configuration will enable you to build a bespoke package that benefits all areas of your housing association.
To boost productivity, your next system should take the hard work out of repetitive business processes. Look for finance software that automates manual tasks to improve efficiency by streamlining the approval of invoices, expense claims, purchase orders and payments. By testing out AI technology, your housing association can see first-hand how automation frees up more time to spend on value-added tasks.
Successful digital transformations occur when all team members are on board. Opting for a system that is user-friendly and workflow-driven will facilitate this, as it will be easier for staff to use, and reduces the need for extensive training.
Powerful data reporting tools
Information is key when it comes to ascertaining buildings in need of repair, identifying tenants at risk of rent arrears, and valuing your housing stock. Data, fundamentally, aids smart business decisions; however, collating large amounts of data from housing management systems is typically a time-consuming process, so many associations could be missing out on the opportunity to get a detailed understanding of operations. Therefore, choose finance software capable of producing insightful and engaging reports.
Modern finance systems store all the data in one system, providing you with the relevant data at your fingertips to apply specifically to your organisation. Whether you want to quantify how long it takes customers to pay invoices, or which developments/property types/regions/divisions use most resources, finance software with live multidimensional reporting tools can pull up reports in minutes, and you can drill-down into your financial records month by month. Having these figures readily available at the click of a button will allow you to identify areas for improvement and transform your organisation as a result.
It is important to choose software that can respond to change – with the capacity to scale up and down if need be. In a climate of market uncertainties, choosing scalable software means you are actively future-proofing your organisation.
Also, investing in technology that generates efficiencies will naturally lead to growth. When you’re in a period of growth, your system should be a support, not a hindrance. Choose finance software that can handle an increasing workload, including taking on extra data, users, and customers. By doing this, you will avoid a situation where you outgrow the software a few years down the line.
Choosing to invest in cloud-based finance software will help you save on costly in-house equipment and hardware, but more importantly, it will make flexible working feasible. With access to all of your financial information from any web-enabled device – including mobile – at any location, your team can be where they are most needed – that being, on the move serving customers at a time and place convenient for them.
Whether teams are working to maintain properties, carry out safety checks or allocate homes to new tenants, faster access to the tools they need on-site will only help to boost productivity.
At Xledger, we have an experienced team with an in-depth knowledge of the housing sector. Contact us to find out how we work with property landlords within complex organisations to create comprehensive business systems with transformational results.