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Owner statements got an overhaul this year.
Last month we were all about inspections. This month, we’re kicking it up a notch by releasing a long list of improvements to owner statements. So without further ado, let’s get into the gritty details. Here’s what we’ve changed:
1. Consolidated owner statements are just that: consolidated.
Owner statements have been a regular thorn in the side of many property managers, especially those with multiple properties belonging to one owner. By and large, owners seem to respond better to anything that comes in a consolidated form. Whether it be one EOFY statement, one statement to include all properties, or one consolidated line item showing rent, the preference for less rather than more is clear.
We’ll show off our single EOFY statements for clients migrating mid-year from Gateway to Console Cloud in a future post. For now, let’s look at some other consolidated elements you will see in our revamped owner statements.
Rent is grouped into one line item
You can now group all income from rent into ONE line item. This reduces the amount of noise on statements (and the high body count of dead trees required to print these statements). Instead of seeing four or five line items saying rent, rent, rent, and more rent, you will instead just see one item covering all dates rent was paid, e.g. ‘1/5-21/5 - $XXX rent’.
Want this on your owner statements? To turn this setting on, head to Settings > Banking > Owner Statement Settings and toggle the switch labelled 'One income line per property'.
No more individual property subtotals for owners with multiple properties
Another highly requested feature from our Console Cloud customers was that we consolidate and simplify statements for owners with multiple properties. Previously, owners with more than one property under management with your agency would end up with a separate statement for each property under management. Not anymore!
Now, we’ve simplified how they see their running balances across properties. Specifically, these owners will now see the running balance across all properties that you are managing for them in a single statement. This means they will not receive any more individual property subtotals.
Like consolidating the number of line items for rent, consolidating subtotals across all properties an owner has with your agency makes it simpler for both parties to understand where the owner is at, financially.
Show fees per property, or grouped by fee type
You can now choose whether your owners will see a line-by-line breakdown of fees for a single property, or a consolidated group of fees across properties by fee type.
We received feedback from some clients asking for fewer lines on their owners’ statements, whereas other clients had landlords who wanted to see exactly which fees were being charged for which properties. Other clients still preferred that the statements didn’t show such large numbers next to fees paid.
Well now how you format owner statements is up to your business. To change how fees are displayed, go to Settings > Banking > Owner Statement Settings and switch the toggle button labelled ‘Ungroup fees by property’.
2. Customise the statement to see what you want your owners to see
We understand that not all owners want to be communicated with in the same way, or want to see their statements in the same format. To help you cater to a wider range of preferences, we’ve implemented these customisable elements in Console Cloud. If you have administrator access, you can toggle these settings at any time.
Generate and send zero activity statements… or don’t.
Previously, regardless of whether an owner was paid any money in a given month, they still received a statement. Unfortunately, this meant generating and sending an email with a blank report.
This understandably annoyed some owners. Meanwhile, other owners would panic if they didn't get an email, regardless of whether it was blank. The camp was split between those who preferred in fact to receive the blank statement, and those who did not.
Now, you can toggle between these two options. To customise whether you send zero activity statements, head to (you guessed it!) Settings > Banking > Owner Statement Settings and click the toggle button under Zero activity statements to turn this setting on or off.
3. Simplify and get rid of confusing elements on statements
We have worked to squash a few bugs and introduce a few new elements into statements that will make owner statements easier to read. Being able to communicate statement information more effectively should make conversations with landlords more direct and meaningful. If nothing else, you should find you're spending less time trying to explain statements to owners. Here's what we've built to help with that.
Items incurring GST now just with an *
We have now removed the subtotals that separate GST, and have placed an asterisk on all line items that incur GST and an explanation in the statement. Similar to Gateway’s owner statements, using the asterisk highlights line items on the report that contain GST, instead of listing out GST subtotals.
By removing GST subtotals, we’ve basically made the report a little easier and shorter for owners to read, while still identifying GST charges for accounting purposes.
‘I’d like to talk to you about statement 7...’
Another simple upgrade: numbered statements. These are also available in an owner’s portal view. To make things a bit simpler when discussing an owner’s statement on the phone, for example, you can now refer to statement numbers to identify which document you’re actually talking about. It’s one more helpful piece of record-keeping to make sure you’ve got all your bases covered.
Hiding that pesky internal journalling between an owner’s properties
Internal journaling is necessary and useful for property managers, but confusing for accountants and owners when it shows up on owner statements. Internal journaling created additional noise and mess on statements. We got feedback from our customers that you would like to be able to hide that journalling.
Message received! Internal Journalling is no longer shown on statements now, but of course you’ll still be able to see it in other parts of Console Cloud.
Goodbye, random blank page that sometimes appeared at the top of a statement! We were never friends.
Previously, if the income and expense table could not fit on the page under ‘Balance brought forward’, a bug would add a page break instead of a line break. This created an extra blank page that appeared at the top of the statement. Rest assured we have now thoroughly squashed this bug, and saved a few trees in the process.
4. More details where you want them
In some cases, more information is actually useful in clarifying statements. For this reason, we have now added two tweaks to statements to help your owners. The rent details for the current rent agreement now appear in the statement header, and there's a new list at the bottom of the statement showing pending payments and withholds.
Rent frequency and rent amount now shown in property header
Now rent amount and frequency for the current tenancy agreement is shown in owner statement headers. This helps landlords do the math and ensure all rent is paid.
Note, however that only the current rent agreement information will be shown. If for whatever reason the statement covers a period where there was a change to the rent agreement or rent amount, only the most recent agreement details will show in the header.
Clarity around showing pending payments/withholds
Some landlords had trouble understanding how pending payments and withheld payments worked in their statement. Specifically, they would try to count the pending payments and withholds as part of their ledger’s income and expenses. This is—as you well know—not an accurate way to read the ledger.
To create fewer headaches for your owners, these are now listed as "notes" against the ledger in a completely separate list. Moving these under the disbursed payments will hopefully clarify where an owner’s money is, without creating any accounting errors or headaches for them.
And finally: old versus new.
If you were a little confused or bored by the detail above (it’s ok, we understand), you can see the changes for yourself in our before and after statements, below.
Before: (September 2019)
And after: (June 2020)
Wondering what to read next?
Find out what we've done to help agencies conduct tenant self-inspections, plus other upgrades to our inspections features. Or download our latest free (no email addresses or anything!) ebook, The buyer's guide to property management software, or pick some property management courses to do for free (for a limited time only) on our education platform, Nebula.