Backoffice Tech for Business Continuity in CRE

Sponsored by AvidXchange

In what feels like an instant, a global pandemic has American businesses rushing to enable most, if not all, of their employees to work from home.

The commercial real estate industry is navigating the sudden shift – assessing what measures to take for the safety of their own staff and sustainability of their operations. At the same time, they’re navigating the challenges their tenants and suppliers may be facing. 

Now more than ever, developing business continuity plans – blueprints for how to maintain those critical business functions in the face of a major disruption – has become critical.

But understandably, building a continuity plan you could truly rely on and equipping your organization with technology to execute it is often easier said than done.

Maintaining A Mission Critical Function: Paying Your Bills

So, as today’s reality has quickly made business continuity a priority objective for all of us, commercial real estate and property management leaders are focusing on how to maintain processes that are mission critical to keeping the lights on.

Mark accounts payable (AP) at the top of the list, as it would be difficult keep any level of ongoing operation without processing payments to suppliers. (Like the ones who literally keep the lights on.)

But with many firms and property managers still relying on manual, paper-based AP processes, it can be difficult to ensure you’re able to continue paying the bills in case of an emergency. 

Fortunately, AP automation can help keep a business moving by ensuring your AP department can continue to approve invoices and make payments securely and efficiently at any time, from any location.

Here Are Six Ways AP Automation Can Bolster Your Real Estate Company’s Business Continuity Plans

1. AP automation provides a central hub for all your payment related files

Activating your business continuity plan likely means that you can’t be in the office, sifting through file cabinets. You’ll want to be able to quickly access any payment-related file with the click of a button.

AP automation provides a cloud-based, central repository, so you don’t have to rely on those file cabinets. And because it’s in the cloud, anyone can access it from anywhere. 

2. Anytime, anywhere access to view and approve invoices

In a manual process, reviewing and approving invoices can take days and include many different approvers. Waiting on approvals slows down the payment process, which could lead to late payments. 

In the real estate industry, most invoices come in at the remote property level and require someone sending them to the corporate office—via email or snail mail—before processing can even begin.

And the level of difficulty multiplies if you’re not in the office. 

With AP automation, you don’t have to be in a specific place to approve invoices and make payments. All you need is internet access, and you can view and approve from your phone or laptop. 

3. You can create customized, automated workflows 

AP automation allows you to create custom workflows with both rules and restrictions. These eliminate the hassle of constantly reaching out to different individuals for approvals every month and provide you with control and visibility over the process. 

And in case someone is out of the office or unable to work, your AP team can reroute approvals, so business continues as usual. As an added benefit, all historical actions and comments are recorded, so the new approver can step in without missing a beat or a detail. 

4. Sophisticated reports are just a few clicks away

In a manual process, the AP department would spend a lot of time pulling piles of paper out of file cabinets to get an overall picture of the company’s finances. 

Fortunately, AP automation simplifies the process by providing comprehensive search and reporting tools. This makes it quicker and easier to gain data to make strategic business decisions when you’re under pressure and don’t have access to usual resources. 

5. Electronic payments provide easy paper check alternatives

If you’re still leveraging paper checks as a payment form, you may run into trouble during times of crisis. However, with solutions that provide e-payment options, you can continue paying suppliers even in times where person-to-person delivery of physical checks isn’t feasible. 

6. Service teams can help improve your supplier relationships 

The best automation solutions combine dedicated service teams along with software to take on the tedious tasks of keeping up with supplier payment preferences. 

And in today’s environment, this becomes especially appealing. You’ll have a trusted AP ally who will continue to maintain contact with your suppliers to see how, if at all, their acceptance conditions are evolving, making sure they are receiving your payments and processing them. 


AvidXchange is the industry leader in automating invoice and payment processes for mid-market businesses. Its complete solution for automated invoice and payment processes has helped more than 5,500 North American customers across the real estate, HOA, construction and healthcare industries modernize operations and embrace the future of finance.

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