By Alex Narcise
At Wiss, we are very pleased to partner on this very first feature on proptech and innovation in the premier real estate publication and website in New Jersey. Not only is real estate one of the core industries we serve, it’s an industry that’s ripe for technological evolution. And we are keen about helping those in the real estate and property sector see how proptech can help them thrive.
Wiss is a full-service advisory firm, but these days that’s a bit more complicated than just saying we add business advising to our accounting services. Nowadays, to be full-service we need a strong focus on ensuring that our clients are well served by advancements in technology.
That’s why we not only offer outsourced accounting, payroll and HR, but also provide business intelligence, data analytics and IT advisory. That’s why we just introduced a business analytics team to leverage data and tech tools to give clients smart info for better decision-making. That’s why we find it’s essential for us to remain at the cutting edge of innovations in the industries we serve.
Our focus on technology is so strong that I like to say we’ve almost become a technology company. Yes, we’re an accounting firm. But nowadays we’re an accounting firm grounded in technology.
We don’t believe there’s any other way businesses can succeed in this digital era. And our clients generally believe that, too, especially our real estate clients. They are embracing automation of accounting and other business functions, such as HR and payroll. They are turning to us for help organizing and leveraging their data.
Data is a huge piece of how technology comes into play in business, especially in data-heavy fields like real estate. But the problem is that there’s so much data and so little ability to use it well. Companies typically spend 80 percent of their time mining data and 20 percent analyzing it.
At Wiss, we’re working to flip that ratio, while also asking specific questions about what exactly our clients want to see out of their data. What would help them most? How can we use technology to provide it?
Investing in digital tools and tech-enabled methods is really no longer optional. In my experience, the companies that don’t make investments in technology and financial management tend to struggle a lot more than those that do. If they don’t make the investment, they find themselves behind — constantly scrambling for information, unorganized, moving from crisis to crisis.
Without the right technology, administrative rigmarole eats up a disproportionate amount of time, which detracts from the big picture of running a real estate business. The longer a business resists this technological shift, the more the problems will compound until the company has fallen behind the pack and the big picture begins to suffer.
The good news is that many of the tools out there are really approachable and helpful. For example, software like Yardi and MRI are popular with real estate owners, providing a wide range of automated services from lease abstraction to fee accounting to utilities management. You can shape these resource to your particular needs.
Alternately, you can opt to work with a firm like Wiss that will help you choose and onboard all the technology you’ll need, then use it to help you ensure your management and data analysis are on point.
At Wiss, we’re in a good position to reassure the real estate community that proptech is something best embraced. In fact, it’s a door to a whole new world of possibilities and potential for real estate developers and companies. With some sensible decision-making about which tools can help you most and how you can best deploy them, you can use proptech to get your business running like a well-oiled machine and enhance your decision-making for better outcomes.
Alex J. Narcise, CPA, is the partner-in-charge of the Real Estate and Construction Services Group at Wiss, specializing in all areas of accounting, audit and tax for family-owned real estate businesses. In addition, Alex represents various institutional investors. Alex’s passion is advising clients on business issues and working through tax-saving opportunities.