Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Software Review: MRI Property Management Accounting Systems

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Software Review: MRI Property Management Accounting Systems

Article excerpt

Software Review: MRI Property Management and Accounting Systems

For larger property management organizations searching for microcomputer-based software, Cleveland-based Management Reports, Inc. (MRI) offers a comprehensive, flexible package designed to grow with the company.

MRI's software modules include: accounts payable, general ledger/financial reporting, report writer, work order/preventive maintenance, commercial property management, residential property management, and HUD reporting (including electronic submission of HUD forms and recertification).

This review will focus on the commercial property management system, which is the prototype of all MRI's software products.

A job costing and payroll module is currently under development, according to the publisher. Currently a third-party job cost and payroll and financial modeling software is available to use with MRI modules. However, these programs were not addressed in this review.

Each of the modules is priced separately, but all modules are fully integrated. Integration means that posting a check to a tenant's account automatically updates all other modules, such as the cash account in the general ledger. Users may also integrate MRI modules to a non-MRI configuration allowing companies with existing programs to add specific modules from MRI without discarding existing programs and adding to their costs.

All the modules are menu-driven, using property management terminology (Figure 1). Parts of the menu may be accessed either by manually entering the corresponding code or by placing the cursor on the item and pressing "enter." The modules also allow experienced users to override the menus.

A wealth of flexibility

Perhaps the greatest strength of MRI's commercial property management system is its flexibility in setting up property management entities. The highest-level entity within the system is the company. Below that are projects, buildings, suites, tenants, and so forth. You can use your own coding structure to identify these segments, with most fields allowing alpha/numeric entries. This feature is very important for organizations managing multiple properties for multiple owners.

The large number of predefined reports and the ability to print a user-defined consolidated general ledger and financial statements are also excellent features of the software. Reports allow the manager to include all properties under a specific company umbrella or to do separate reports for each property. Flexible design allows users to respond to individual owner preferences.

The software's built-in productivity tools also help make the program easier to use. For example, built-in help screens offer field-by-field assistance and can be modified to allow specific company policies to be added. Pop-up reference windows allow users to quickly view a list of potential values, which frees the operator from constant reference to hard-copy lists. These windows may also be customized by including or excluding data fields or by changing the sorting index.

This ability to customize the built-in utilities and add fields and master files to the system without source codes or programming experience is one of the major strengths of the program.

Other productivity tools automatically search the database for specific records and add needed data without the user leaving the current screen. The program also allows the user to return to a previous screen and delete or modify information.

Commercially-oriented features

The MRI Commercial Property Management (CM) software incorporates features that address all types of commercial properties, but which include comparative sales reporting and many other features required for retail reporting. One of the first impressions you get when you work with this product is that it is truly a commercial-based package, not an adapted residential program. …

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