Managing Agents in Singapore Need to Digitalise & Automate or Risk Getting Left Behind in Fast-Changing Market

5 Reasons Why Managing Agents Need to Digitalise Now

  1. Profit margins being squeezed by aggressive pricing from competitors. 
  2. Customer expectations are changing.
  3. Difficulty competing against digitally enabled MAs in tenders.
  4. Cost of manpower rising unsustainably.
  5. Difficulty finding manpower for new sites.

How Does Digitalization Help MAs

  1. Digitalisation:
    Means to create, edit and share information electronically instead of using paper. E.g. generating a purchase order electronically instead of filling out a paper form.
  2. Automation:
    With information on a digital platform, Automation can happen which refers to using software to streamline workflows, cut down manual data entry and perform repetitive manual tasks.
  3. Digitalisation and Automation improve Manpower Productivity by enabling MAs to:
    1. Automate repetitive tasks like data entry, payment reconciliation, posting of journal entries, updating resident feedback tickets.
    2. Create, share and edit documents electronically. Example – Purchase Orders can be sent electronically for Council approval.
    3. Search and access information instantly anytime, anywhere. Example – supplier invoices can be processed in 1 day instead of weeks.

Still using cheques? 

Pay suppliers using GIRO with auto reconciliation on Qornerstone.

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Greater Automation & More Streamlined Workflows After Digitalisation

See how digitalisation can improve services and streamline workflows:
Digitalise & Streamline Residents' Feedback
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Enable Residents to Transact Digitally

(b) Digitalise Resident Interactions: Payments & Receipting

Feature

  • SPs can view SOA and pay MFSF bills seamlessly with DBS PayLah! or PayNow
  • Residents can book and pay for facilities and security deposits using DBS PayLah! or PayNow
  • With instant payment confirmation, Residents no longer need to call the MA

Advantages

Digitalising payments is finally possible with the low transaction fees made possible by PayNow.

The QuickPay solution, powered by DBS APIs, provides instant reconciliation of payments to invoices.

Residents enjoy one-tap payments since transaction details are embedded in the dynamic QR code, instant payment confirmation on the app and receipts by email.

Benefits

Residents can view and pay condo bills and book facilities anytime, anywhere.

The cost of managing MCSTs' Accounts Receivables is significantly reduced by automating payment reconciliation.

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Automate Accounts Receivables

(c) Automating Accounts Receivables

Feature

  • QR code e-payments gateway with live host-to-host connection with DBS Bank for instant payment reconciliation and receipting.

Advantage

Strata lot owners are able to make high value payments for quarterly management fees and sinking funds Payments reconciled to invoices instantly and automatically.

Benefit

Eliminates AR receipting work for the MA.

The user journey

  1. The Managing Agent generates the recurring billings using Qornerstone ERP. Each invoice is generated with a unique QR code, generated through a server-to-server connection between the Qornerstone ERP platform with that of DBS Bank, which provides the QR code payments infrastructure.
  2. Strata lot owners use any mobile banking app to pay by scanning the QR code, which contains essential transaction information like invoice number, beneficiary bank account number and transaction reference number.
Accounts-Receivables
  1. Strata lot owner may also pay using the Qommunity Resident mobile app, which offers direct integration with mobile banking apps called DBS PayLah! or OCBC Payanyone. App users may also opt to pay using thePayNow QR code.
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  1. Monies are transferred from the payer’s account to a holding account maintained with DBS Bank, which then sends the transaction details to the Qornerstone ERP system via a host-to-host connection. The ERP system instantly reconciles the payment to the invoice and automatically creates the receipt, which is then sent to strata lot owners by email.
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Automate Receipt Creation

(d) System-generated receipt sent to SP by email

System-generated receipt

4 Digitalise procurements and automate accounts payables

A unique feature that sets apart property management workflows is the tight integration of Finance with Operations due to the high volume of procurements. Operations staff are required to put out tenders or call for minimum of three quotations for any fixed asset replacements, estate upgrading works, term contracts and other procurements.

The workflow is long and complex. Fromcreating a standard tender template with specifications, to fault investigation and defining the scope of work, and then getting approvals from management councils. There are purchase orders to be created, signed and issued. Then the work order needs to be certified upon work completion and matched to supplier invoice.

Digitalising allows the process to be streamlined with information and documents passed along seamlessly. While eliminating paperwork helps to save time and effort since information is instantly at the fingertips without having to dig through files. Audit processes can also be implemented more easily since approvals are captured digitally with little risk of loss unlike paper records which are often lost due to mishandling.

Upon work completion, suppliers key-in invoices directly into a free online web portal and upload original documents as PDF attachments. Once approved by site staff, these documents are taken in directly to the supplier invoice database on the ERP system for Finance to process. Council members login to approve electronically and the system creates a payment instruction file in the bank’s format based on approved invoice details.

Once payments are authorized on the banking portal, the confirmation file can be uploaded to Qornerstone ERP, which automatically reconciles payments to invoices, generates payment vouchers and updates account payables journals. At the month-end there are no unpresented cheques requiring adjustments to the books, and all the costs associated with cash and cheques, such as trips to bank, are eliminated.

  1. Peppol-enabled online portal for suppliers to submit their invoices.
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  1. Invoices flow to Finance module for processing; Council approve thru system.
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  1. System generates Payment Instruction file for user to submit to Internet Banking portal.
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  1. Payments reconciled to invoices; Accounts Payables journals auto-updated
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Digitalise & Automate Adhoc Work Management

(e) Automating Adhoc Work Management

Feature

  • Digitalised workflow for managing adhoc maintenance jobs

Advantage

MAs can remotely manage sites by relying on residents and other site staff to report faults thru Residents or Technicians apps

System generates work order and assigns to guards, cleaners, technicians and other contractors based on problem code. Work closure is self-reported (with photos) by technician using Technician app. If required, inspection can be done.

Benefit

Reduces the need for stationing manpower on-site. Allows for sites to be managed using performance-based contracts since data on work performed and inspections is captured by the system and available for reporting.

  1. Resident creates feedback using Qommunity
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  1. Site staff respond using chat function
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  1. System generates Work Order automatically and assigns to technician/supplier based on problem code
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  1. technician/supplier updates Work Order using eFAMs Technicians app.
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Digitalise & Automate Scheduled Preventive Maintenance

(f) Automating Scheduled Maintenance

Feature

  • Digitalised workflow for managing regular, scheduled maintenance work

Advantage

One-time setup of all regular maintenance work and specify time, frequency, task list, before/after photos and personnel.

System generates work order and assigns to technician or contractors based on work schedule. Work closure is self-reported (with photos) by technician using Technician app. If required, inspection can be done.

Benefit

Digitalises and automates the scheduled maintenance workflows and captures data for reporting. Allows for sites to be managed using performance-based contracts since data on work performed and inspections is captured by the system and available for reporting.

  1. One-time setup of work schedules with tasks, frequency, time and personnel.
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  1. System generates a work order 2 hours before scheduled task commencement and assigns to technician or term contractor
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  1. Technician or contractor receives and updates work order on the eFAMs Technicians app
  2. System captures data and auto-generates reports with KPIs for reporting.
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Enable Cashless Over-the-Counter Transactions

(g) Cashless Site Operations Enabled by Integrated e-POS with Back-end ERP

Feature

  • Quick Pay for over the counter transactions
  • Management dashboard

Advantage

Over-the-counter transactions with Residents made using PayNow, which has low transaction banking charges.

Benefit

Free staff from paperwork eliminates the cost of cash operations like time taken to count and bank-in.

  1. Eliminate cash & cheques for over-the-counter transactions to save time wasted on cash counting, and bank-ins. Residents transact by PayNow instead.
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Dynamic QR code for each transaction allows for automated payment recon and receipt issuance; Residents can pay using any PayNow-enabled payment app.

  1. Site-issued receipts flow directly to Finance system for audit control.

The Path to Digitalisation For MAs in Singapore

Managing Agents in Singapore can digitalise Finance and Operations on a single platform: Qornerstone Estate which is a proven, all-in-one solution for strata management comprising:

  1. Strata lot owners CRM database
  2. Recurring billings & late payment interest computation
  3. E-payments for Account Receivables and Accounts Payables
  4. Integrated condo portal app
  5. Adhoc work management
  6. Scheduled maintenance management
  7. Supplier, contracts, assets management
  8. Compliance (permits, licenses) management
  9. Technicians’ app

Expected Investment Outlay After Government Grant
MAs in Singapore with at least 30% local ownership qualify for 80% Government subsidy of platform cost. MAs can expect to pay:

  1. Year 1 - $25,000
  2. Year 2 onwards - Annual recurring maintenance, support and hosting fees

Expected Timeline
System onboarding, data migration, and user training will be provided. The entire process will take between 3-6 months depending on number of estates managed.

Typical timelines to digitalise one estate:

  1. Strata and Finance data – 1 month
  2. Rollout Qommunity app – 1 month
  3. Supplier, supplier contracts, assets & compliance data – 1 month

80% Subsidy Ends in Feb 2022.

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