Key Considerations When Choosing Leasing Software for Your Business
Let’s face it, we live in the Age of Choice. No matter what a customer may need, they can usually choose from multiple options according to their specific needs. While this presents a problem when looking to stand apart from your competitors and find new clients, it is also a benefit if you are the one making the choice. Just like with everything else, this concept stands true when it comes to choosing the right leasing software for you too.
The days of putting pen to paper to manage your business have been over for decades, so leasing software is, to put it bluntly, essential for any business that manages leases. This is a double-edged sword. Just like with everything, you have multiple options to pick from. On the other hand, the abundance of choice can be paralyzing. It is like picking a particularly perfect needle out of a mountain of needles that would all probably do the job you need them to do just fine, if not perfectly.
If all of the leasing software available on the market can more or less do the job up to a certain point, depending on the specific features the developers picked to stand out in the marketplace, what should be the key considerations you pay attention to when picking the lease management software you will use to manage your operations? Here are some important criteria you need to pay attention to when making your choice.
Your Business Needs
Continuing with the metaphor of plucking a specifically perfect needle out of a mountain of other needles, you should figure out what your needle will be doing specifically. Does it need to go through leather easily? Are you going to be suturing wounds? Or will you just be fixing a small tear in your jeans?
When it comes to leasing software, you should consider the types of assets you lease, the lease volume your business handles, and how complex your lease agreements are. While some businesses will be satisfied with basic lease tracking and find the plethora of features available to be overkill, other companies need much more comprehensive solutions that can handle complex lease accounting standards, like ASC 842 or IFRS 16.
While there’s an argument to be made for leaving yourself room to grow when picking the perfect piece of leasing software, it is preferable to avoid getting bogged down by a bunch of unnecessary features you will never use as well. The best choices in the market can act like customizable Swiss Army Knives of sorts, where the leasing software developer customizes their product to fit your specific needs and adjusts their offering as your business inevitably grows.
When handling sharp objects, or picking leasing software that will be responsible for keeping track of a business with revenues potentially exceeding millions, ergonomics are important. This is true both for avoiding silly mistakes when operating the tool and for learning to use it in the first place.
You could pick the perfect leasing software for your business in terms of features, but if the user interface was designed by a blind space baboon, you will have problems. The trouble will start as soon as you introduce the new software to your employees. As a leader in your company, you may be ecstatic about the features the new software will give you access to, but your employees are the ones who will have to use it.
Checking whether the User Interface of the leasing software you’re about to pick makes a basic kind of sense to your employees before committing to it is the least you can do. If they don’t immediately hate the idea of having to use this new tool, the adoption of the new workflow will be much easier. You will lessen the amount of mistakes your company has to deal with and save on replacing new monitors.
Even the most perfect needle in the world will suddenly stop being so perfect if it takes you five minutes to thread it because the string you usually use is way too thick to comfortably pass through. This is as true for needlework as it is for everything else in the world. Even a perfect fit in terms of features and user interface can become unusable if you have to find complex workarounds to make it play nicely with the rest of your tools.
With that said, you should make sure that your new leasing software can seamlessly integrate with the rest of your tech stack. Your accounting, ERP, and CRM systems need to work with the lease management system without you having to go the extra distance to force it to work. Proper integration will reduce the amount of manual data entry your employees need to do, improve data accuracy, and enable the kinds of workflow streamlining you previously could have only dreamed of.
Compliance and Reporting
The world of needles is a bright place. Nobody cares what kind of needle you use as long as it gets the job done and you don’t need to generate reports about the success of your latest task. However, in the world of leasing software, this all goes out the window. Compliance and reporting are essential.
Making sure that your new lease management software will stay ahead of any changes to lease accounting standards that apply to your business can save your bottom line from getting hit by significant financial consequences due to non-compliance. More importantly, it will also help you keep your business reputation intact by not getting you mired in legal trouble.
Aside from keeping up with regulatory changes, your leasing software should also offer robust reporting capabilities. Generating accurate financial reports, calculating lease liability, and providing disclosures required by accounting standards may seem like a given when it comes to software in this niche, but it only seems like that until you get burned once.
We have briefly touched upon scalability in this article before, but it is important enough to briefly elaborate on it.
While there is an argument to be made for buying what you need right now instead of getting some mammoth of a tool with a bunch of features you will never use, you also need to keep in mind that your business will likely scale in the future.
The worst thing that can happen is a scenario where you find a perfect piece of leasing software for your current needs. The features are just right. The User Interface is perfect. It works seamlessly with the rest of your tech stack. But then, your company grows. Your lease portfolio balloons beyond what your leasing software was made to handle. You have a problem.
What do you do in a situation like this? Do you soldier on, dealing with the problems as they come up? Or do you bite the bullet and throw your company into yet another leasing software overhaul, looking to adopt a new tool that will be able to handle your lease volume? You could have avoided the whole problem in the first place by just considering scalability when picking the original lease management software in the first place.
Customer Support and Training
Implementing new leasing software is hard enough at the best of times. It becomes borderline impossible when the developers of the lease management software you just bought implement radio silence protocols when you have problems and try to reach out to their customer support for solutions.
Documentation, webinars, and a responsive customer support team are just as important to the successful implementation of a new tool as an effective plan and full buy-in by your employees on your side of the equation. Having consistent support from the software developer can not only ease the transition but save you a lot of money by minimizing disruptions in your lease management process.
Security and Data Protection
When you handle a needle… Yes, we’re back to needles. Anyway, when you handle a needle, the worst that can happen is that you will stick yourself with it. It will be a bit painful for a while, it might bleed a little. Security is much more important when you’re dealing with lease management software.
Nothing puts a black mark on a leasing business like a data breach, because these types of businesses handle a lot of financial and personal information. This makes it imperative to ensure that any leasing software you pick adheres to robust security protocols and data encryption standards to protect your data from breaches or unauthorized access. If data privacy regulations like GDPR or HIPAA apply in your area, you should also make sure that your potential new leasing software will not give you a surprise one-way ticket to non-compliance hell.
No two businesses are the same. Every single one of them has its idiosyncrasies in how it handles its business operations. These differences can provide a competitive advantage, and they can prove to be weak spots, but what they are sure to do in every single case is ensure that the perfect leasing solution for the company in question needs to be customized.
This is why you must make sure that the lease management software you’re about to pick has extensive customization possibilities. Getting rid of functions you don’t need, making adjustments to enable the software to handle your company’s workflow just right, and even adding functionality you never needed before but found yourself requiring later after your business grew from what it was when you implemented the leasing solution originally. All of this will significantly improve the efficiency and accuracy of your lease management workflow.
User Feedback and Reviews
After going through the extensive research mandated by the points above, you will be in the home stretch of decision-making. Reading user feedback and reviews can be a useful way to narrow down your best choice.
With that said, you should keep in mind that the people writing the feedback and reviews had different business needs so you should not expect your experience to match theirs exactly. Still, you may be able to glean some valuable insight from businesses that have implemented the leasing software in question when it comes to its customizability and customer support quality.
We are finally at the end. You’ve evaluated everything important you needed to evaluate when picking your new leasing software. Congratulations! You’re now in the home stretch, racing towards the final hurdle–the price.
An argument could be made that if a tool makes your life easier and perfectly fits your needs, making you money in the process, then it’s worth whatever you have to pay for it. On the other hand, you should look into the pricing structure for the specific leasing software in question. Some software solutions charge based on the number of leases, while others have a subscription-based model. Keep your budget in mind, consider the functionality you need, and try to find the pricing plan that aligns the two in the best way possible.
Just a friendly warning: some leasing software solutions have hidden costs like implementation fees and/or ongoing support charges attached to them. Keep an eye out for anything like that and make sure to account for them when doing the math.
Choosing the right leasing software is an intimidating, but extremely important decision that will tie your company’s workflow to a long period of implementation, followed by years, maybe even decades of benefitting from getting it done. At least that is the case when you make the right decision and handle the implementation process properly. With that said, we strongly believe that you will be able to make the right choice if you properly consider the important criteria outlined in this article.