6 steps to quick wins with Buildium onboarding

Shaun Jayachandran
Shaun Jayachandran | 6 min. read
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Published on December 20, 2021

Whether you’re on the fence about choosing Buildium or have already signed up and are ready to get up and running as soon as possible, chances are you want to know what the onboarding process looks like and how soon you’ll be able to start accepting rent payments with the software.

So, how do you prepare for new property management software and set up Buildium in a way that will add value to your business from the start? Let’s find out.

Switching Property Management Software

First, getting set up correctly and working with an onboarder for a more advanced setup are the best ways to find success with the platform. If you opt to get the additional support, an onboarder can give you a guided experience that sidesteps many avoidable stumbling blocks that can come with ramping up on new software. You won’t lose momentum and your residents won’t face disruptions. You’ll also understand all the nuts and bolts of setup, financials, maintenance, and communication even better.

Onboarding with Buildium the right way leads to all kinds of benefits:

  • Comprehensive understanding of your leases, properties, and residents
  • Having your existing security deposits accounted for and correctly allocated (and not recorded as new income)
  • Accurately entering both forward balances and prepayments (and how you want to recognize income)
  • An understanding and uses of ePay, tenant screenings, property inspections, and the process of posting listing vacancies to creating an eLease

As fast as you want to hit the ground running—this process matters. You’ll save time and be able to focus on what matters. Let’s set you up for success with these six steps:

Step 1: Create Essential Templates

One of the easiest steps to coast through onboarding is getting your data into a few essential templates with the help of our implementation specialists. They’ll help you organize and upload your data effectively, which will make the rest of the onboarding steps and getting the most out of Buildium a lot easier.

The time and attention to detail you put in at this stage will pay off later as this is your only opportunity to bulk add information to the platform. This is when you should enter all your information: lease terms, email addresses (you’ll need this for going live later), and cell numbers (useful when turning on text messaging features and announcements), along with having the property name and unit designated in a way you understand.

Step 2: Schedule a Kickoff Call

Once your information is in, it’s time for the kickoff call. The kickoff call is an important step to get on the same page with your onboarding specialist. It’s a chance to ensure your partnership is effective and allows you to walk through the appropriate accounting start date (the day from which we will categorize existing funds in your bank account(s) and begin tracking going forwards), where you hold liabilities, your company structure, the flow of income to owner draws, bill pays, and management fees.

Other details you’ll want to discuss include:

  • Which residents may be delinquent
  • How do you handle prepaid rent (immediate or deferred income)
  • Your late fee structures
  • Learning how to best upload your logo, color scheme, and customizing your Buildium URL
  • Applying for ePay on your rent/dues collecting accounts (you can check out the checklist of what’s needed here – ePay Checklist)

One important thing to note is that we never advise backdating. We’ve found that it almost always leads to less accurate ledgers and creates far-reaching delays in the software setup process. Your onboarding specialist can fill you in further on the call.

The more organized you are with the location of your existing funds and how they’re allocated will help you create a streamlined onboarding experience. Being as thorough as possible can shorten the time it takes to set up Buildium as the exceptional tool you are hoping for. Having to revisit or reset ledgers will only create delays down the line.

Step 3: Opening Balances

Buildium uses your closing amount value in your bank from the previous night as the starting value for your accounting start date. This is important to help create an accurate balance forward for the state of your business and accounts.

Beyond your closing amount value, be sure to know the distribution of funds within the account. For many property managers, this is something done intuitively, often calculated in their minds, but never documented formally. The distribution of funds should be a true accounting of who owns each dollar in that account.

Depending on the account, this could be the tallying of your existing security deposits on each property, any reserves you’re keeping for properties, and, at times, the accounting of prepayments for the upcoming month or months.

Step 4: Accounting Cycle

At this stage, our team will help you understand how to replicate the real-world process of payments collected outside the resident portal.

At this point, it also pays to have a chart of accounts that gives you a solid understanding of how your properties are performing. Setting up an effective chart of accounts is easy, especially with the tools available in Buildium. It’s also an essential step in onboarding, so be sure to follow a consistent process, like the one detailed in our latest chart of accounts overview. You are absolutely free to add as many COA items as you would like, however, be aware of the naming provisions of the “Default Account For” column.

Our team can help guide you through each step, so you’ll end up with a clear, flexible tool for staying on top of payments.

Accounting goes far past simply collecting income. Establishing a workflow with repetitive timelines is key. An onboarder can help you navigate these timelines tied to paying expenses, collecting and recording management fees, and recording and sending out owner draws.

This will be training and accounting with your real-time finances. It’s a chance to learn by doing with immediate implications for your business. You’ll be able to see how accurate and up-to-date your accounting within Buildium can add clarity for you, your tenants, and your owners.

Step 5: Going-Live with Tenants and Owners

As you move through the onboarding process, you’ll reach a comfort point in the first month where you can start providing access to the Resident Portal for residents and to owners to see their reports. This is a great opportunity to double-check and verify your ePay Payment Settings and confirm any transaction and convenience fees.

Once you are live, those who have activated their accounts will be able to see their payment history, upcoming payments and terms of their lease, have documents shared with them, ask questions or request maintenance through the Tasks section, receive announcements, and, of course, make payments.

Step 6: Continued Support

Don’t worry…once you’ve been set up in Buildium you’re never on your own. If you opted for onboarding help, the team will be there to support you with any additional setup or one-off questions you have down the road.

Property management is always changing and, with the new tools at your disposal, your business and specific needs will grow and evolve over time. We’ve created Buildium Academy, a self-guided, online training resource, as a way for you to pick and choose different features to explore and get familiar with, whenever it’s convenient for you. It’s also a great way to introduce other members of your team to Buildium, so they can get familiar with the platform quickly.

We’ve found that customers have even greater success when they continue to tinker and experiment with Buildium, developing a stronger understanding of the interface, platform, and all the tools it offers.

Like with any new software, business process, or toolkit you adopt, getting the most out of it requires some initial setup and effort upfront. By fully engaging with our onboarding team, you’ll have a clear game plan for getting going efficiently, with support every step of the way. Setting up the right templates, connecting with our specialists, and making use of our online resources will make sure that you’re ready to take your business to the next phase with Buildium.

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Shaun Jayachandran

Shaun Jayachandran is a product manager, client onboarding specialist, and leader in the Diversity, Inclusion, Belonging group at Buildium, creating successful, inclusive experiences for customers and colleagues alike. Shaun connects with Buildium’s newest customers to help them understand the basics of the platform through a guided experience, formulating individualized practices to suit each property manager's approach so they can hit the ground running.

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