A Comparison of Property Management Accounting Packages: Part 1

Article excerpt

A Comparison of Property Management Accounting Packages: Part I The reports produced by a property management software program are reflections of the capabilities and orientation of the program. A listing of the types of reports produced by different programs provides a first step in comparing the programs.

This matrix chart was compiled by reading the manuals and reviewing the sample reports provided for each software program included.

The quality of reports varies tremendously among programs. The same report in different programs may range from terrific to terrible--e.g., missing vital information or a readable format.

The content of reports also varies significantly. For example, 20 different programs have 20 different "rent roll" reports. And, there are even several variations of "lease expiration" reports.

In addition to variations in "standard" reports, which are present in virtually every program, there are also differences in the ways additional information is reported and in how "standard" information is provided in additional reports.

The software publisher works with three major elements in designing reports: size of reports, e.g., the number of columns; number of reports; and specific contents in each report. Some publishers provide simple reports--single purpose and without much detail. Others provide complex reports; either they are multipurpose reports, or they are very detailed single-purpose ones. The number of reports provided also varies greatly.

Likewise, the distribution of information among reports covers a wide range of possibilities. Some publishers incorporate special-purpose reports while others add the same data to every standard report. The seeming differences in reporting also come from the different ways in which publishers combine the same data--all three together; all three separate; and three combinations of two together with one separate.

A further element in comparing programs is redundancy. Some programs provide the same data on different reports; for example, for different purposes or for people with different job descriptions. …

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