With the end of the year looming, you probably have a lot of work to do to close out 2012 and finish your beginning-of-year planning and organization. Here are five things that will make a real difference and save you some time in this busy season.
- Have your broker prepare market surveys for you. If you haven't already done it yet, you're probably going to end up sitting down, analyzing your sites, and deciding which ones you should keep, which you should shut down, and which you should consider moving. Having a dispassionate third-party analysis of the market surrounding each of your sites will help you make better decisions. It will also save you from having to do the analysis yourself.
- Create lease abstracts now if you don't have them. End of the year reviews typically require you to go back to your lease to pull out a number of arcane details. If you don't already have them, take the time to prepare detailed lease abstracts. Summarizing the business points in your lease once will save you a great deal of time since you can just use that document for the information you need. You can also keep using that abstract by updating it whenever your lease changes. This helps you better amortize the investment of time that you will have to spend up front.
- Review expense records to prepare for CAM reconciliations. The only way to be sure that your landlord's CAM expense reconciliations and their new budget for 2013 is accurate is to carefully review the numbers yourself. If you intend to do this, you will need to start getting your expense records in place now. This will give you ample time to get anything that is missing so that you complete your analysis in a timely manner.
- Request end of year invoices as soon as you can. The best way to close your books on time is to pay your bills early. If you haven't gotten your end of the year invoices from your vendors, request them now. This will allow you to get them submitted to your accounts payable team before they begin shutting down their systems for their end-of-year closing procedures.
- Install portfolio management software. If you'd like to make sure that December of 2013 is much easier than this month will be, look into installing software to help you manage your corporate real estate portfolio. Portfolio management software automates your lease abstract and occupancy data. With this information, it can take care of tracking lease dates, comparing different sites to each other and to the market as a whole, calculating your occupancy costs and helping you optimize your portfolio. In other words, it does most of what you need to do this month for you.
With proper preparation, December can turn January into a productive time, letting you get off to the new year with a running start. Spending the rest of the year preparing will pay significant benefits for you after New Year's, and setting up systems will pay ongoing dividends once you are past the December and January crunch.
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