Brokerage best practices

Why you should ditch spreadsheets for commission tracking

September 2, 2022

Congratulations! You closed another deal. Now it’s time for you and your team to pop the champagne, pat each other on the back, and move on to the next opportunity, right? 

If only it were that easy. As an experienced commercial real estate pro, you know there are multiple steps to complete before you close the chapter on a listing. For example, you and your team still have to generate and approve deal sheets, create and send invoices, collect payments from your clients, and calculate commissions. 

Anyone involved in these processes knows brokerage accounting can quickly become complicated and slow the entire deal cycle—especially if you’re doing everything manually via spreadsheets.

While spreadsheets might get the job done, they don’t always get the job done efficiently, which can have a ripple effect across the entire brokerage.

Here are four reasons it’s time to ditch spreadsheets and what you can do instead.

Wasted time and effort

For decades, CRE brokerages have painstakingly entered data into a complex ecosystem of homegrown spreadsheets and disconnected systems. Everything from property details and deal information to commission plans are typically recorded across several different documents, while invoices and payments are managed through a disparate accounting tool.

It’s messy, it’s time-consuming, and it’s a giant headache for everyone involved. 

Back office pros are forced to track down brokers to fill in the inevitable blanks and determine how to correlate incoming checks with their outstanding invoices. This leads to delays when sending clients invoices, paying brokers their commission, and calculating your firm’s cut.

If your brokerage is still approaching deals and commission tracking this way, you’re losing countless hours and spending unnecessary energy. Automating this process will save time and eliminate accounting headaches while ensuring faster commission payments.

Prone to human error

Humans are inclined to make mistakes. We miscalculate, skip steps, and make typos all the time—especially when we’re under pressure or multitasking. Given our track record for errors, how can we trust ourselves to consistently and accurately calculate the numbers that impact a brokerage’s profits and brokers’ incomes?

For most brokers, realizing your commission payout hinges on whether someone accurately entered a formula into a spreadsheet can be stressful. And no back office pro wants to shortchange a broker or invoice a client for the wrong amount.

Fortunately, with an automated system, all those stressors and headaches disappear. Instead of building your own formulas, you can rely on software to do the complex math for you. This speeds up the process and mitigates the risk of human error, so you can rest assured that your invoices and commission payouts are correct.

Difficult to aggregate data for reporting

When information is spread across multiple spreadsheets and tools, it’s incredibly challenging to gather and analyze data. This makes reporting a laborious nightmare of a task. And because you never know if the data you’re pulling is accurate or up-to-date, it’s hard to trust your reports or make meaningful predictions.

In other words, it’s difficult (if not impossible) to forecast brokerage income or accurately track a broker’s commission plan progress. And without reliable reporting, it’s also hard to set realistic goals or identify areas of opportunity to help you reach them.

But with an automated back office solution that integrates with your CRM and marketing software, you can quickly and easily generate accurate reports in seconds and use these insights to fuel action. You can also ensure your back office staff is always working with the most up-to-date data without chasing down brokers.

Doesn’t offer a dependable audit trail

Clean and organized audit trails are essential for efficiency and meeting regulatory compliance. When you don’t have clear insight into who did what (and when), it makes things much harder on accounting teams and puts the company in jeopardy because it’s much easier to make a mistake.

When you rely on spreadsheets to track and organize accounting processes, it muddies the water. That’s because you risk inaccuracies due to inefficient version control. And back office pros are forced to trace each transaction manually, which is time-consuming and unreliable.

But automation can create seamless, easy-to-follow audit trails, so you have complete visibility into the lifecycle of every transaction. All changes are automatically recorded and saved for stress-free audits and a more straightforward process for closing out listings.

Buildout Marketing’s Back Office solution is designed to make life easier for accountants, admins, brokers, managers, and the clients you serve. By eliminating spreadsheets and upgrading to an automated system, you can easily manage transactions throughout the deal lifecycle, eliminate manual commission tracking and data entry, and stay on top of your brokerage’s finances. And when the back office is more streamlined and less stressed, everybody wins.

Talk to our team about how you could ditch spreadsheets once and for all. Request a demo today.

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