There is a growing requirement among local authorities to have the finance and property management teams working more closely together to allow for a single source of data to the asset base. This will result in a clearer overview of what assets an organisation has, how the finance team is reporting on them and how decisions are being made from an asset management perspective.
Whilst they do not have year-end to contend with like their finance counterparts, property management teams continue to face the every day challenge of trying to maintain an asset base on an increasingly tighter budget, as well as the demand to get more out of the asset base with less resource year on year.
So while finance teams are busy preparing for year-end, RAM believes now is a good time for property management teams to begin planning the forthcoming financial year to see how they can improve efficiency and reduce costs.
RAM has extensive experience of working with both parts of the organisation and we’ve pulled together some top tips on how property management teams can begin looking ahead and what benefits a single asset register can offer:
1. What worked and what didn’t last year?
Selecting a system with robust reporting mechanisms and customer specific business intelligence and workflow tools can assist the Local Authority with identifying areas for improvements, compliance issues and key trends. Reporting on KPIs is key to year on year improvement, especially in a tough environment working with tight budgets. Stop gap systems rarely offer the depth of reporting necessary to understand what worked in previous years and what didn’t, or where efforts would be best applied in the years to come.
2. Single Version of the Truth
Consider a solution that enables all relevant data to be pulled together from different places into one centralised system. The most common business need identified by both property and finance teams is proper sharing of information. If this can be achieved by delivering one system, allowing a single ‘version of the truth’ between different organisations, this can only be a positive move. Colleagues will only need to maintain a single data set. Over time, operating in this manner will lead to a well defined asset base and will help to improve the level of reporting against individual and groups of assets within all departments.
3. Prioritise work and manage budgets effectively
A clear and concise asset register allows an organisation to better understand the condition of its assets so that it can prioritise work. It also provides a platform for calculating how best to spend allocated budget for the year in order to achieve maximum impact and the best value for money. For example, comparing the maintenance needs of a building that nobody uses verses work on another building that is used by a lot of people and where a significant amount of income is made. This insight is not visible where a solution fails to identify key data such as lease income, condition and maintenance activity details, all in the same place.
4. Joint reporting
A single source of data, available to both the property and the finance team, makes it easier when it comes to joint reporting. It also removes the risk of teams looking at different data sets when making key decisions, such as potential investment opportunities.
If property management teams begin reviewing the asset base now, they will have a better understanding of where to focus budgets, ready for when the finance team comes out of year-end. Both teams will be well prepared for making budget decisions about asset improvements and will be better able to understand others positions if reviewing a single source of data. Clarifying high, medium and low priority works and matching against business needs and finance budgets available will enable quicker and more effective decision-making.
It’s important that both parties remember that implementing a single source integrated solution doesn’t have to be a big-ticket project, but one that can grow with the business over time. By working with an experienced supplier, the project can focus on the small pieces of the jigsaw puzzle first and gradually build on these to achieve more and more efficiencies from the project over years to come.
If you would like to know more about the benefits of having a single view of your asset base, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or give one of our friendly team a call on +44 (0)1689 892 137.