By Scott Seegmiller
I was co-founder of a Property Management company 25 years ago. We were leading edge back then, running 110 properties on a Single User DOS-based system.
Our internet? Mail a 3.5-inch floppy disk to the corporate office. It worked, we developed processes and procedures surrounding the systems and we made it very functional. We had to because we could not have kept track of 27,000 units in six states without the technology no matter how archaic it seems now.
We also processed our payroll in house. We had 585 employees, and they all got a paper check twice a month. It took a lot of effort to run payroll. There were six people in the payroll department and they were awesome. Payroll went out on time every payday. Again the processes and the procedures made it all work.
Vendor payments were also processed manually. The managers would bring or FedEx the bills to the office every week, and accounts payable would key in the invoices. Checks were printed and mailed every Friday. Invoice copies were given to the file clerk, who would carefully file each one in one of the hundreds of file cabinets in the file room. No one but the file clerk was given access to the file room.
As technology changed, our processes and procedures changed as well. We first implemented online accounting and property management software in 2004. We outsourced our payroll processing in 2008. We no longer have any file cabinets in our office, as all invoices are submitted electronically. Most residents pay online, and we do not receive printed bank statements.
Today, we do accounting for owners and managers all across the country, some of which I have not had the privilege of meeting. Since there are no file cabinets, and everything is online, it does not matter where our office is. I have had employees working from home, from another state and even from Brazil during last year’s World Cup.
I love implementing technology. It is amazing when it works. It simplifies our lives and makes us so much more effective. Making it work is one of the things I enjoy most. I look forward to the next advances that will allow greater productivity, and thus, more time to enjoy those things that I cherish outside of work.
Scott Seegmiller, CPA