When you go out and research for property management software, you realize that managing student accommodations is pretty different from managing other types of properties. You may encounter several unique needs and technology requirements that a basic property management software cannot satisfy. And it only gets more complicated if you manage various types of properties: you then need to find a software suite that can support all the different kinds.
Your choice of software will be determined by the size of your business, your existing software infrastructure (and the integration requirements), and whether you are open to using cloud-based systems or have a preference for on-premise software. In addition, focus on specific goals like moving towards a paperless office, managing growth after mergers & acquisitions, managing compliance and automating marketing can also determine your final choice.
What features to look for in a student accommodation software?
Irrespective of whether you are looking for a web-based or on-premise software, the below are some of the most critical features that you must check for:
1. Accounting: When you are managing a large number of properties spread across sites, you need a reliable accounting module that makes managing general accounting, payables, intercompany accounting, and rent collection easier, plus allows you to pull out basic information for financial reporting. While choosing the software, also make sure that is supports applicable accounting and regulatory standards.
2. Budgeting and forecasting: While most software systems come with an accounting module, a few also offer in-depth budgeting and forecasting functionality. This feature is of vital importance for larger players who manage or own several properties across locations. Based on the data you enter, the software can make projections for expenses & revenue and also deliver insightful information for developing accurate operating budgets.
3. Online portal for students: Today’s students – your primary customers – are internet savvy and accustomed to getting things done online. You can deliver a superb customer experience if you have a software system that allows students to go online and select rooms, check details regarding due rent, place requests for maintenance, book other utilities offered by your firm, etc. Some software may also offer similar portals for managing your vendors.
4. Support for other services: Different student accommodation companies may offer different services and facilities. So there’s no one standard list of services that overs what various student accommodation companies offer. It is possible that your company offers a wide range of ancillary services to the student tenants that are not pre-fed into the software. If you offer paid TV, laundry, meals, telephone, wi-fi and other services, it should be possible to integrate these with your software, allowing you to make combined calculations and take payments for all the services in one go.
5. Maintenance: A maintenance and incidence management module allows you to automate regular as well as emergency property maintenance tasks. Some software systems also allow the students, owners or employees to send messages, photos and videos of the maintenance tasks that need to be performed. Additionally, the software could record each instance which helps managers to gain quick insights into the maintenance issues for specific locations or for the overall portfolio.
6. Marketing: Marketing plays an important role in ensuring high student occupancy rates. It is essential to reach out to potential tenants online and make them aware of your services through social media, paid promotions and other mediums. A marketing module that offers functionality to reach out to students and which also allows the students to view, book, pay and make requests online can be instrumental in securing the success of your business.
QX works with many of the top student accommodation companies, delivering accounting services for properties spread across 180 sites, covering 50,000 beds. Our teams work with a wide range of software and our F&A services have helped student housing owners reduce the operating costs for accounting functions by up to 50%.
Don't hesitate to get in touch with us if you need any advice or want to explore our services.