Looking to increase the efficiency of your business? Lease audits are a good place to start!

Right now, businesses across the globe are facing huge challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an enormous loss of income to businesses and the pressure to operate efficiently is higher than ever before. Businesses are adopting various measures, including drastic pay-cuts and lay-offs to stay profitable or even just to stay afloat.  Another option that can contribute significantly towards lowering operating costs and boosting efficiency is lease audits.  

Lease auditing is the process of analyzing the key terms of the lease and related documents to ensure the landlord has billed the tenant accurately and not overcharged them in case of expenses such as tenant’s share of operating costs, taxes, utilities, CAM, rent escalations, per-square feet rent calculations, etc. Other than these key areas, lease audits also help ensure key opportunities such as renewal, expansion options are not missed out. An effective lease audit entails a thorough review of various documents apart from the lease itself, including invoices, bank statements, payment receipts, and even documents in the public domain, at times. 

Lease audits offer significant benefits to both the Landlord and the Tenant. Landlords usually perform lease audits to ensure they are not under-charging their retail tenants that have percentage rent clauses in their leases. However, lease audits are especially important from the tenant’s perspective, primarily because the onus of identifying and reporting incorrect charges lies with the tenant and not the Landlord. Moreover, most leases have a timeframe within which erroneous billing must be reported. If the timeline lapses, the tenant is deemed to have accepted the charges levied upon them. Further, if the lease has a clause wherein the charges are escalated based on the previous year’s charges, then the escalation will be applicable on the inflated amount and the cycle continues causing the tenant to lose thousands of dollars annually. There have been cases where lease audits have helped tenants cut their operating expenses by as much as 70%! 

When businesses sign a lease agreement, a lot of thought has gone into it in terms of determining the financial viability of the lease. Somewhere down the line, perhaps due to lack of resources, on-going maintenance of the lease takes a backseat and the inaccuracies creep in so silently that businesses fail to realize that the lease is no longer in line with their expected ROI projections. A lease audit can help fix this. If you are short on resources to perform yearly lease audits and related tasks, it makes sense to collaborate with an experienced lease administration vendor who can offer these services for you. Most tenants see that the ROI on their lease audits often outweighs the expense it entails by a great deal. 


About RE BackOffice

RE BackOffice, Inc. is a premier provider of strategic commercial real estate back-office functions, including lease abstraction, lease administration, and real estate marketing services. Since 2006, REBO has been a trusted partner to top-tier commercial real estate companies, retailers, and service providers seeking a strategic advantage. Whether managing a portfolio of leases or providing graphic support through stacking plans, renderings and websites, RE BackOffice’s team of professionals is dedicated to delivering high-quality services and optimal ROI to our clients. At RE BackOffice, your back office – is our front office.

3 Things to look for when outsourcing your Telecom lease portfolio management

Leases by themselves are complex but critical business documents. Getting leases abstracted and managed accurately and efficiently directly benefits the bottom-line. While companies may have their own lease portfolio management teams in-house, a significant number of them tend to outsource at least some part of their lease portfolio management function. This trend is increasingly catching up with the telecom industry players as well, as they realize the benefits of having a vendor specialized in lease portfolio management take care of their cell-tower leases. However, when it comes to telecom lease abstraction and administration, there are a few key areas to consider before you zero-in on a vendor to manage your cell-tower lease portfolio. This blog post tells you what they are.

Experience

When we talk about bringing an experienced cell-tower lease abstraction and administration vendor onboard, we have to look at it from 3 angles. 

  1. Overall lease abstraction and administration experience- It is important that the vendor you choose is well-experienced in lease abstraction and administration on the whole. Though cell-tower leases have their specifics, the basics of lease abstraction and administration remain the same. 
  2. Experience in lease abstraction and administration of cell-tower portfolios:  An experienced vendor who has a thorough understanding of key elements of cell-tower portfolio management such as Due Diligence requirements, SLAs, zoning permits and acquisition documents will be able to add more value.
  3. Software experience: Your new vendor should have had hands-on experience working on your lease administration, accounting and telecom document management software.  Their industry-specific lease abstraction software experience will enable them to offer you quick turnaround times for your tower lease administration and abstraction projects

Proficiency in multilingual lease abstraction

This is important if you have cell-tower leases of different languages. Working with a single lease abstraction and administration vendor who can manage all your leases regardless of their language will add to the efficiency of your cell-tower lease portfolio management process.

Accuracy

This is obvious and of course, expected from a reputed, experienced telecom lease abstraction and administration service provider. But, you’ll be surprised to learn that there are very few such vendors in the market who will be willing to guarantee 100% accuracy on their services. And, with something as critical as your telecom leases, you don’t want to be less than 100% sure!

So, there you go! Make sure you consider these 3 things before you outsource your telecom lease portfolio management to a vendor.

6 questions to ask your lease abstraction and admin vendor before you sign them up

In our last post, we discussed the 3 things to look for when outsourcing your telecom lease abstraction and administration project. This week we talk about 6 questions you must ask your vendor before you trust them with your cell tower leases.

Question-1: Do you perform all your projects in-house?

Did you know that often lease abstraction and admin vendors outsource their work to other agencies? You should be aware if your vendor also engages in similar subcontracting projects as it can affect you in 2 ways–

  1. Data security and confidentiality: If your critical cell-tower lease data is being shared with someone else, it can have serious consequences. Unless you are convinced of the data security measures adopted by your vendor and the sub-contractors, you can’t rest assured that your data is safe.
  2. Possible delays: If your vendor is relying on someone else to do the actual work, any impediment on the subcontractor’s end will end up delaying your project and result in missed deadlines–something you cannot afford when dealing with critical time-bound, needs-based triggers like Due Diligence and acquisitions.  

Question-2: How big and experienced is your team?

It is important that you ask your potential cell-tower lease abstraction and administration vendor about their team strength and collective experience. These factors play a key role in the quantity and quality of output they deliver. One of the reasons why many telecom companies prefer to outsource their cell-tower lease abstraction and administration processes is because of the scalability and flexibility they get by outsourcing. If your vendor doesn’t have enough staff strength to scale up with you during times of resource shortage, or when you have an exceptionally higher load of leases due to factors such as a new merger or cell-tower acquisitions, then you fail to leverage a key benefit of outsourcing. 

At the same time, be sure to ask about the overall team experience, as this has a direct impact on the quality of output and also on its quantity. An experienced team will be able to deliver high-quality output in a relatively shorter timeframe.

Question-3: Will you collaborate with our other stakeholders?

For the cell-tower lease administration process to be effective, often, the lease administrators will have to get in touch with others in the legal or accounting functions of the landlord or tenant’s business. This is especially true in case of recurring lease administration tasks such as reconciliations, collections, etc., You may even have an in-house lease admin team with whom your vendor may have to collaborate often. Having a lease administration vendor who can do the liasioning for you will make the entire process more efficient and you will be spared the hassle of multiple emails and calls to collaborate with different stakeholders across the country or even the globe, if you have an international presence. 

Question-4: Can you give us client references?

Ask your potential tower lease abstraction and admin vendors for client references. When outsourcing a process as important as lease portfolio management, you want to make sure that your vendors truly place great emphasis on customer delight and creating positive customer experiences. One of the ways to verify that is by asking for client references and testimonials. It is even better if the clients are from your industry.

Question-5: What about client support?

Ask your vendor about their client support set up. Do they offer 24h client support? Are they available on all working days of the week? What about the point-of-contact? Will they offer you a single point-of-contact throughout the course of your project? This becomes especially crucial when you have offices operating from different parts of the world. Having a single project manager to handle your lease portfolio can make the process more fluid, transparent and efficient.

Question-6: Can you customize your service offerings?

When it comes to lease portfolio management, every client, every industry is different and the one-size-fits-all service model won’t work well.  For an outsourced lease portfolio management process to work well, it is important that your vendor caters to your industry-specific needs and customizes their service offering to meet them effectively.


RE BackOffice is a premier cell-tower lease abstraction and administration services provider. Please contact us at sales@rebackoffice.com to learn more about how we can add value to your tower lease administration process.

4 Reasons to outsource your cell-tower lease abstraction and administration

Are you considering outsourcing your cell-tower lease portfolio management process, but are not sure if it is the right move for you? This blog post discusses four most-common reasons why industry-leading cell tower companies are leaning towards an outsourced tower lease portfolio management model.

Here’s how outsourcing your cell-tower lease abstraction and administration process can benefit you.

Infuse flexibility into your tower lease management process

When you outsource your cell-tower lease portfolio management process, you essentially make it more flexible. Your lease administration and abstraction vendor can help you to effectively augment your existing resources if you already have a full-time lease portfolio management team in-house and manage temporary workload spikes–such as those due to an acquisition, merger, or even a resource shortage due to the Holiday season, effectively.

Make your lease portfolio management process more scalable 

You can bring a lease abstraction and administration vendor onboard to supplement your existing team and ramp up your lease portfolio management process while drastically cutting down new resource add-on costs.

Leverage your vendor’s subject matter expertise

Your area of expertise is telecom, while your vendor’s is lease abstraction and administration. So, you benefit from their vast experience and knowledge of industry-wide best practices that they bring to bear while partnering with you.

Meet your timelines efficiently as you are always working at full capacity

Working with an experienced cell-tower lease abstraction and administration vendor helps you ramp your cell-tower lease management process up or down depending on your requirement, at any time. This scalability ensures you never miss a beat managing your cell-tower lease portfolio. Whether there’s a need to fill-in for maternity/paternity leave or a sudden, unexpected, resource turn-over, your vendor is there to bridge the gap.

Keeping your data safe when outsourcing your lease administration or abstraction process

Despite the numerous benefits offered by outsourcing lease administration and abstraction functions, businesses sometimes refrain from doing so, due to the fear of lack of data safety and security. If you are one of them, then this blog is a must-read for you. It touches upon six key data security related questions you should be asking your lease administration/abstraction service provider before signing up with them. 

How is your data access structured? Ask your lease abstraction/administration service provider about their data access structure. Ideally, the access should be role-based, meaning the service provider should limit data access and editing permissions such that only those who need to work on the data should get access to it and also, the access level should be limited to their scope of work. All data access should be logged and monitored to detect any unusual activity that may be an indication of unauthorized access.

Where is all the work stored? Check with your service provider to ensure no work is performed or stored on their local machines or local external hardware. Data stored locally can be easily stolen. Ideally, your service provider should be using local machines to only access the Cloud or the main servers where all the work would actually be done and stored.

Is their IT outsourced? It is best if your service provider has an in-house IT team. While managed IT services is not necessarily a red flag, an in-house IT team is preferred as it means your vendor will be directly responsible for ensuring data security and safety standards are maintained. Check with your vendor if they have firewalls, antimalware systems, security patches and updates implemented.

How are the physical entry and exit points managed? Physical entry and exit points to the vendor’s office/workspaces where your leases are managed should be monitored and secured. Examples include CCTV cameras, biometrics, electronic access controls, etc.

How do they deal with hard copies? Check with your vendor if they will be using hard (paper) copies of your lease documents as a part of their SOP. If yes, then ask them to specify how and where they will be stored during the course of the project, who will be having access to them, how the access will be controlled and how these will be discarded after the project. Ideally, they should be shredded and disposed of under the supervision of the project manager or some other person in a position of authority. 

Are they flexible? Your lease administration/abstraction service provider should be also flexible enough to accommodate your specific needs in terms of data security. For example, if you want multi-factor authentication for electronic data access or a strict ‘no-print’ policy followed during the project, your vendor should be willing to make it a part of their SOP for your project and implement it diligently. 

Data security is a very real concern when outsourcing your lease administration and abstraction processes. An experienced vendor will most likely be following the best practices we discussed and be willing to improvise as well to suit your specific requirements.

Backed by 14+ years of lease experience, RE BackOffice’s lease administration team is well versed in all leading lease administration platforms including MRI, Yardi, Prolease, Lucernex, and more. To learn more about RE BackOffice’s lease administration services, contact us at support@rebackoffice.com.

Month-to-month lease administration: The Solution to Lease Administration Challenges during the Pandemic

In the current pandemic situation, many businesses are finding it challenging to maintain up-to-date lease portfolios. Hiring full-time lease portfolio managers, lease administrators, or even executing long-term contracts with lease administration service providers during these uncertain times is not an option for many of them. As a result, they are struggling with a backlog of leases to manage, pending lease audits, and also delays in their recovery of dues. 

The industry is turning to month-to-month lease administration services as a solution to this challenge. Month-to-month lease administration services are outsourced lease administration services that help businesses stay on top of their lease portfolio without having to worry about the costs or obligations associated with a yearly contract or the higher costs of hiring an in-house lease administrator. Outsourcing lease administration on a month-to-month basis to a service provider that has a proven track record presents a ‘High-ROI/Low-risk’ solution, that is most sought after in the current circumstances. 

Here are some key benefits of opting for an MTM lease administration service model-

No long-term commitment, more financial efficiency, zero contractual obligation
MTM lease administration services help companies become more efficient by eliminating training, HR related expenses, and save on lease agreement interpretation and translation costs. There’s no long-term commitment as companies don’t have to sign an ongoing contract with the lease administration service provider nor are they bringing a lease administrator onto their payroll. 

Scale up or down as per your business needs
When you hire an in-house lease administrator or sign up with someone long term to manage your lease portfolio, you are essentially stuck with them, irrespective of your lease portfolio management needs. You have to continue paying them whether you have enough work for them or not. But, with MTM lease admin services, you have full control and flexibility to navigate your lease admin needs. You can get a team of lease administrators to work for you when you have a sizable lease audit load and deploy just one resource when the number of leases to be audited and updated is less. Zero contractual obligations mean you get to scale up or down as you want, whenever you want. This flexibility can mean a lot in the current scenario when the money is tight.

MTM lease administration services make sure that you don’t miss critical timelines due to resource shortages and get timely access to important lease data that help drive key strategic decisions–even in the current situation.

Backed by 14+ years of lease experience, RE BackOffice’s lease administration team is well versed in all leading lease administration platforms including MRI, Yardi, Prolease, Lucernex, and more. To learn more about RE BackOffice’s month-to-month lease administration services, contact us at support@rebackoffice.com.