Custom ‘Point of Sale’ Billing System

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High volumes of cash and credit cards that pass through a billing counter each day makes POS system a necessity, it can be in a Mall, Restaurant, Departmental stores or any other place. Not all POS systems suit one’s needs especially if the needs are peculiar. We had one such client with peculiar needs & it was a Golf Sporting Club with 1 Canteen & 2 outlets on their field.

Scope of the Project given to us was a one-liner & that is to install a POS billing system in order to replace their existing system which is decentralized / manual & to avoid pilferage. Before submission of the Proposal, based on the learnings from our experience, we conducted Due Diligence to evaluate the Project Scope & identify hurdles that we may be facing during the course of Project. This is a very important step & some may believe it to be unproductive by assuming that things can be dealt when we reach that stage of the Project but our belief is in providing exceptional service & commitment so we leave no stone unturned.  

Due Diligence proved to be an eye opener as there were many findings of which we are going to share few in this Blog. Our first finding was that, out of the 3 locations where POS system had to be implemented, only the Canteen was connected with Internet while remaining 2 Outlets were in a remote location without any sort of network or signal. After a lot of deliberation, we laid out couple of options to the Club’s management. Options available were to lay the Network or continue to remain offline & push the data from POS device whenever its brought within the reach of Wi-Fi signal. Everyone opted to go with the latter option while considering to lay Network at the time when they expand, which was in another year’s time.

Our next finding was that there were 2 categories of Customers – Members & Guests. The problem was not having 2 categories but identifying multiple workflows while developing the Billing application. Client then started mentioning the various workflows that were required like

  1. Guests would stop using the current Token system & start paying only using Cards.
  2. Members shall not pay any money at the POS instead their transactions should be clubbed in the Monthly statement so that they can pay online along with their outstanding dues.
  3. Members should have an option to Split bill and sign their copy of acknowledgement receipts.
  4. Validation for Members has to be thru Thumb impression.
  5. During any given day, Members are not expected to place their Thumb, more than once, for validation.

To finalize the above workflows, we had to deliberate with the Management multiple times as they were very wary about it & we had to boost confidence in them by explaining the pros & cons that were involved.

One other finding was that the Client wanted POS transactions to be synced with their Accounting system (Tally). After deliberating, we identified that the version of Tally which they were using is freezed due to some other integration so it was not possible to sync the data. Instead, we built a report to export the data from our application, so that User can manually upload the file into Tally.

There were many other insignificant findings that we found, but not included in this Blog, during the course of our Due Diligence but everything was a learning.   


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NMHC Reports 90.8% of Apartment Households Paid Rent by May 20

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Today, May 28, 2020 I read an article written by Mary Salmonsen in Multifamily Executive Magazine

Quote

The National Multifamily Housing Council’s Rent Payment Tracker, which draws from rent collection activity in 11.4 million units of professionally managed market-rate housing, has found that 90.8% of apartment households made a full or partial rent payment by May 20.

This marks both a 2.2-percentage point drop in the share of Americans who had paid rent through May 20, 2019, and a slight rise over the 89.2% of households who had paid rent by April 20, 2020. Last week, 87.7% of American households had paid their rent by May 13.

According to the Bureau’s household pulse data survey, 80.3% of all renter households had made their rent payments on time in April, while 17.2% had not and 2.5% had their rent deferred. Of the respondents, one-third had no confidence, or only slight confidence, that they could pay rent the next month.

Management companies are being “flexible” with their renters, absorbing credit card fees and offering deferral or repayment plans. However, this translates into a loss of revenue for the operator. a “wave” of economic uncertainty and reduced cash flow for the sector, could “come to shore” in the third quarter.

The highest-performing assets are higher-end market-rate properties and Section 8 housing. The Section 8 residents, largely low-income seniors, are able to pay their subsidized rent on time thanks to Social Security, which provides them with a steady income. Low-income housing tax credit properties are “trailing” more, as they are un-subsidized rental properties occupied by working families hit hardest by the pandemic.

Unquote

How can Intellisys help?

Intellisys Technology LLC is a global provider of BPO and Information Technology services and solutions. Intellisys has a State-of-the-Art ISO 9001:2015/27001:2013 certified delivery center in Chennai, India. We provide high quality and cost-effective solutions to Fortune 500, mid-sized, and small businesses on time and within budget. Over the past 22 years, Intellisys has been helping business with qualified & experienced Accountants without any wait time. All of them are Domain Experts.

Our services can offer significant benefits

  • Reduce operational costs up to 40%
  • Extensive use of RPA (Robotic Process Automation) tools which allow cutting time and costs significantly
  • Fixed Fees – No hidden charges
  • Multilingual Staff (English, Spanish and French)
  • Flexibility (Accordion Model – Increase and decrease team size at a very short notice)
  • Ad-hoc projects (such as Audits, Seasonal demands)
  • Assist re-purpose existing staff
  • Motivate the existing staff and offer them upward mobility
  • Assist to streamline operations

Please contact riyer@intellisystechnology.com or visit www.intellisystechnology.com to learn about Intellisys, its service offerings and how we can assist you.


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Importance of Effective Reconciliation System for an e-Commerce client

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E-Commerce revenues are projected to grow to 4.88 trillion US dollars in 2021 worldwide. With such a rapid growth, eCommerce marketplaces are good channel of choice for sellers.Introduction of new technology and availability of multiple eCommerce software solutions in the market, it has become very easy for the sellers to onboard marketplaces and start selling.

In today’s competitive e-commerce market, it is essential to be quick, responsive, and accurate when a customer makes the transaction. But receiving and tracking online payments is a major challenge that many of the sellers still face today. Maintaining records regularly becomes almost impossible to manage with growing sales.

This is when, effective payment reconciliation system can help track your payments for the orders received. In this blog, we explain the characteristics of an effective payment reconciliation system with couple of case studies.

Case Study 1: Often, waiting period to receive supporting documents for missing transactions cause delay in reconciliation process.

Generally, we download statements from bank portal and upload them in client’s Accounting system (Quick Books). QB then auto matches the Deposits with AR invoices and Payments with AP Bills. Once it is completed, we check for unreconciled transactions. Most of them remain unreconciled because invoices are missing in QB & we had to wait until missing documents are received.

We overcame this challenge by suggesting Client to implement Bill tracking system for uploading Sale Invoices and Vendor Bills based on which AP Bills and AR Invoices get automatically created. Payments are then processed after 3-step approval process. Then, entries in Bill tracking system get synchronized with Accounting system. This process reduced the missing entry cases and improved the Bank Rec TAT.

Case Study 2: Bank Recs relating to past period which were already closed / completed are changed to unreconciled status without intimation. This used to result in re-doing the entire reconciliation from beginning to identify the difference.

As a general practice most of our clients like any other, close their books on periodical basis – Daily, Weekly, Monthly etc. based on the volume but this client of ours practices yearly-closure of books. Coming back to the issue, primarily, this used to happen due to lack of reporting. We suggested Client to list all such approved JEs / Bills which have been edited. To do this effectively, we have set cut off dates & maintained a log report to identify the items that were frequently being edited & investigated them to make sure they do not get repeated. Over a period, activity got streamlined and it became seamless.


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Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans under the CARES Act

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Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was adopted on 27th March 2020. PPP loans are open to be applied from

  • 3rd April for small businesses & sole proprietors
  • 10th April for other applicants

Latest version of Application & other details can be viewed by clicking on https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/cares/assistance-for-small-businesses

Lenders list is available on SBA website i.e.,https://www.sba.gov/article/2020/mar/02/100-most-active-sba-7a-lenders (or) find zip code wise by clicking on https://www.sba.gov/paycheckprotection/find

Qualified Applicants:

  • Wide range of small businesses as defined under Small Business Administration (SBA) Act
  • Any business with 500 or less employees working in the US
  • Non-Profit Organizations with 500 or less employees working in the US
  • Veterans Organization with 500 or less employees working in the US
  • Tribal business with 500 or less employees working in the US
  • Sole proprietors or self-employed individuals and few others as defined in the Act

Affiliation rule states that 500 count is Company-specific but not Branch-specific.

Qualification Rules:

  • If your business has been suspended or 50% drop in Revenue.
  • Borrower must have been in operation as of 15th Feb 2020.

If one does not qualify for this program, then they may consider applying for Tax Deferral or other programs.

Terms:

  • Lesser of $10 Million or 2.5 times of average total monthly payroll costs incurred during the past 1-year
  • Interest rate is 1% (as per SBA) from the date of disbursement of loan
  • Maturity is of 2 years (as per SBA) period with no prepayment / penalties
  • Repayment begins after 6 months from the disbursement of loan
  • Certification must be provided by the Borrower that they shall not reapply for another PPP loan in future

Proceeds can be used only for,

  • Payroll expenses
  • Mortgage / Debt Interest payments in existence as of 15th Feb 2020
  • Rent / Lease payments in existence as of 15th Feb 2020
  • Utility payments in existence as of 15th Feb 2020

Proceeds cannot be used for,

  • Cash compensation in excess of $100,000 during the year per employee
  • Taxes
  • Non-US employee payroll
  • Qualified Medical / sick leave for Covid-19
  • Few others as specified under the Act

Guidance on Waver of the loan is expected to come soon but primarily, at least 75% of the loan proceeds must be spent towards Payroll costs. This must be separately applied by the Borrower by providing documentation justifying the usage of loan proceeds for allowable purposes.


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There is no such thing as an Island when you Outsource

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Recently, I came across an outsourcing engagement in a company run by my friend. He was narrating the story and I felt compelled to share with all of you as it opened up an important part of the outsourcing success ingredient. One of the metaphors we always use is ‘it is not a boxing match between the two teams that are located in two corners of the world’. Once you feel this way, the engagement is doomed for failure. Let us come back to this story.

My friend’s company got engaged with a client for doing some of the back-office tasks. The client must have researched enough and was putting in lot of efforts on preparing the ‘blue book’ as they call it. This ‘blue book’ is also sort of a bible for the remote team to follow once they begin the project. The client therefore spent enormous amount of time on two tasks-  one to identify a task that was deemed as a stand-alone (island) and therefore could be sent to the remote team. Second, they took pains to list out the steps in carrying out this stand-alone task.

As you may have guessed, the project began very well. The remote teams even were able to suggest improvements to the ‘blue book’ as they went along. Thru’ out the weekly cycle (the first task was to work on transactions that occur on a weekly basis), the remote team hardly had to discuss/engage with the project sponsor. What happened to the onsite team that was doing this task until now? Where are they?  The remote team had no clue and had probably talked to them once during the kick-off.

Story looks really rosy – this is how an outsourcing should work – auto-pilot almost?

Nah, the disaster came in after 3 months of transition. Why? The stakeholders of the task were blindsided totally during the weekly cycle. Any challenges that they faced, they had no clue to respond to the field /vendors. There was no problem with the remote team’s quality or timeliness. What was missing was the bonding between the onsite and the remote teams. The project manager or what we call SPOC (Single Point of Contact) from the client side did her job perfectly (Blue book, shared folders, access credentials, work allocation etc). However, she did not involve the original team mates all thru’ the process /weekly cycle.

What we learn from the above experience is that there is no such thing as

  1. Stand-alone (Island) tasks in outsourcing.
  2. Teams must meld together from the beginning and must avoid the boxing match syndrome.

We always recommend taking baby steps however nothing must be done in isolation.


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FeaturedIntellisys Technology

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Intellisys has an impressive track record working with Property Management and Accounting, for owners/operators of Multifamily, Single Family, Commercial/Retail, Affordable Housing, Public Housing, Student Housing and Property Management companies. Our teams fully understand the nuances of servicing the needs of real estate companies by focusing our expertise on real-time task management. We enable you to:

  • Build competitive advantage from superior processes
  • Reduce cost and increase revenue
  • Re-engineer processes and adopt leading technology solutions
  • Improve quality and control by reducing challenges related to regulatory compliance and risk management
  • Enhance scalability and flexibility
  • Reduce operational expenses and increase capital efficiency

Intellisys property management services offer the value that extends well beyond cost arbitrage, improving quality and productivity through efficient process enhancement.


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Setting up Critical Date notifications in Yardi

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In every business, there are bound to be Due Dates for all the activities that we perform, some would be recurring while others are not. Its humanely impossible for any individual to remember all these Dates and it would be even more worrisome if the activity involves reminding another person like Tenant, Vendor, Property Manager, etc. To overcome this unproductive task, most of the software applications have in-built calendar reminders functionality & Yardi is not an exception. In this Blog, various hurdles are categorically explained under 4 broad steps that are involved in setting up the Critical date reminders.

Step 1: Save the Input Data

When managing a property, there would be many activities for which reminders can be set like Insurance, Utilities, Taxes, Repairs & Maintenance, Mortgage payments, so on & so forth. Most of these activities have fields available in Yardi by default but some may not. Not to worry, we can assist you by creating Custom Tables for such activities.

Step 2: Setup Email Templates

Every Email Template consists of multiple sections like Subject line, Header, Footer, CC, Body of mail, etc., any other regular email. Additionally, in Yardi, we have to setup few other elements like Tags, Tokens, Object Types being the most primary of them. Tags are inserted in an Email template to auto-populate details whenever an email is triggered. These Tags must be linked to Tokens (Tags in machine language), most of the Tokens are available by default in Yardi but if any Token as per need is missing, then we can assist you by writing SQL scripts to make them available. Object types are used to categorize the Tokens. Internal management email IDs can be saved in CC of the email template to receive a copy of all the emails that are triggered to Tenants.

Step 3: Setup Notifications    

After Email templates are setup, we move forward to set up periodic Frequency & Roles. Frequency must be set up for the emails to trigger Before, After, or On the Due date based on our need. Roles are then selected to capture the email ID of the recipient(s) saved under a specific Lease or Property. At this stage, we can checkmark “On Hold” checkbox that is available & performs a test run to make sure we are on the right track. 

Step 4: Setup Schedulers 

As a final step in setting up the Critical dates, we need to setup Schedulers. This is done based on the time slot that is available after reviewing to make sure that there is no clash with any other schedule in Yardi.  

Please leave comments to express your opinion.


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