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AMTdirect Insights Blog

Real Estate Asset Management Software vs. Excel

real estate management softwareI am a huge fan of Microsoft Excel. For three years I worked at a start-up that made Excel spreadsheets available to multiple users at once in the cloud. I once built a spreadsheet that housed all my family meal recipes, I could select what I wanted to cook for the week then run a macro to get my grocery list.  I’m an Excel kind of a girl.

There’s a reason that Excel is the go-to tool for business. It fills all sorts of gaps, you’ve already paid for it, and most people know how to use its basic functionality. We get the appeal. But when it comes to real estate management, Excel is much better in a supporting role. Here’s why.

Active Alerts and Notifications

Excel is passive. If you’ve listed all of your renewal option dates in a spreadsheet, you can certainly open it up and find them, if you remember on time. Real estate management software, on the other hand is designed to provide you email alerts in advance of certain key dates. You select the notification period and the system makes sure that nothing important slips through the cracks.

Widely Accessible Lease Data

Although it is technically possible to do so, spreadsheets were never designed to be accessed and updated by multiple people at the same time. Even if only a limited number of people are authorized to make updates, lease data is important for people in accounting, facilities, project management, legal and HR. With real estate management software anyone can be given the access and update rights that they need. It becomes the system of record for all of your real estate related information.

Error Free Calculations

Spreadsheets are fragile. Even in the most competent of hands, formulas get broken. A flawed rent calculation or other error can be costly and difficult to track down. Choosing a commercial real estate management solution means that you don’t have to worry about these types of errors. The system is tested and maintained by the vendor so you don’t have to worry about calculations gone awry.

Experience and Expertise

The best real estate management software is built by people who have deep industry knowledge and years of experience in the field. They are able to bring best practices to life and provide insight into how their most successful customers manage their portfolios both inside and outside the solution. Excel does not offer this advantage.

Audit Trail

With Excel, it is difficult, if not impossible, to determine who changed a field and why. This can be critical information for compliance reasons and just for keeping track of the health of your data. The best lease management software makes it easy to determine who changed what. Note fields are available to track the reason for each change.

Document Management

It makes sense to have your lease documents and lease data stored in a single location for easy access. That’s not what Excel is meant to do. Dedicated real estate management technology makes it easy to access the source documents right from the application with a click.

Don’t get us wrong, we aren’t saying that Excel should never be used by real estate managers. Sometimes it is great to download a report or search and quickly manipulate the information in Excel. Go for it! But for the day to day management of your real estate assets, dedicated software beats Excel hands down.

Posted on 7/21/15, 6:42 PM by Taft Tucker in Lease Administration, in Corporate Real Estate, in Technology

Taft Tucker

Written by Taft Tucker

Taft is the Chief Customer Officer at AMTdirect and is a resident expert about lease administration and accounting. Taft's passion is to share practical, helpful information about our industry.