CBRE-Albany-White-e1557155581665

How Shelly Used CommissionTrac to transform the brokerage operations and data reporting process for CBRE Albany

About CBRE Albany

CBRE's Albany office in Albany, New York, an Affiliate office of CBRE, Inc., has been serving clients for more than 40 years as the primary player in the Albany commercial real estate market, serving Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Saratoga, Warren, Montgomery and Fulton Counties.

CBRE Albany focuses on traditional commercial real estate brokerage - leasing and selling office, industrial and retail space, along with specializing in consulting, research and marketing. In addition, we can provide expert advice on such complex issues as establishing investment goals, conducting site analysis, evaluating market and financial feasibility and much more.

I love pressing a button and having an invoice generated for me.  Instead of spending 10 minutes sitting there typing a document, I now have it in 30 seconds. It’s something small that’s so big for me.  And also the same with generating broker payments. I push a button and it automatically calculates according to whatever split plan level they’re at currently. Just between the invoices and generating the broker payments, those two things have been time savers for me for sure.

— Shelly Protus, Office Manager

Stats

(over 12 months)

hours saved

$

ROI

+

deals processed

Challenge

CBRE Albany was using manual processes for their transaction management, approval process, invoicing and making broker payments.

Invoices were done in Word documents, then made into a PDF to email or send in the physical mail. Lastly, it was inputted in a spreadsheet in excel for all the receivables and what people had been paid.

What this amounted to was a very manual process that took Shelly an extremely long time to complete.

With today’s technology, they wanted to invest in making systems better and began their search for a workflow management system that would create time savings and more clarity into their brokerage.

For starters, I’d like to ask if you can describe your experience before using CommissionTrac. What was your role? And what were some of your day to day responsibilities? What did a typical day look like for you?

I’ll start by saying there’s no such thing as a typical work day here in this office.  As the Office Manager my responsibilities include accounts payable, accounts receivable, general bookkeeping, human resources, payroll, benefit management, plus all of the necessary tracking for CBRE Corporate, as well as general day-to-day management of staff. As it pertains to CommissionTrac, I was processing new pending transactions, generating invoices, processing deposits, and processing broker payments.  

For calculations and a lot of tracking, we used MS Excel.  For invoices I was using MS Word, which meant that for every single invoice I had to type in all of the data and double check everything. It was not a difficult process but it was tedious and time consuming

What were your biggest frustrations using the MS office suite? When did you realize you needed to try something new?

It felt time consuming and old fashioned.  Even though we could use Excel formulas for some of the calculations there was always the possibility of human error.  We knew a long time ago that we needed to find something better, but we never really took action. But my workload kept growing and got to the point where it didn’t matter what I did, I just felt like I was drowning. I felt like I was not making any progress.

— Shelly Protus, Office Manager

What were your biggest frustrations using the MS office suite? When did you realize you needed to try something new?

It felt time consuming and old fashioned.  Even though we could use Excel formulas for some of the calculations there was always the possibility of human error.  We knew a long time ago that we needed to find something better, but we never really took action. But my workload kept growing and got to the point where it didn’t matter what I did, I just felt like I was drowning. I felt like I was not making any progress.

— Shelly Protus, Office Manager

When you were looking into CommissionTrac or maybe even other software, what were the goals you felt you wanted to aim to achieve?

We definitely wanted to streamline our process. Instead of having 6 excel spreadsheets, the goal was to get everything together in one happy little place where it was accessible not only by me but also by my boss (the owner of the company), and the brokers.  We needed to make the process of calculating out broker payments easier and get rid of some of those spreadsheets, but mostly we wanted to find a way to save time

— Shelly Protus, Office Manager

Result

CommissionTrac’s relationship with CBRE Albany has been outstanding. Through working with CommissionTrac, Shelly was able to organize her process and save hours per week. After a quick onboarding of CBRE Albany onto the new platform, Shelly has enjoyed the quick response from CommissionTrac’s support team and felt like she had a full staff behind her for anything she needs.

So if we move into thinking about now that you have CommissionTrac in place, how has it helped you over come the challenges you had before?

It has certainly provided me with that happy little place I was looking for to have everything together.  Since we’ve started using CommissionTrac any currently pending transaction or anything that’s closed is right there in CommissionTrac. I can access our data very quickly to check the status of the account, the status of payment. I can pull up the lease or the sale document, I can check the brokers involved.  Everything I could possibly need related to that transaction is right there without having to check a couple of different places or pull a hard copy file somewhere. So that’s really nice: having everything together.  

The invoices have been spectacular for me.  I love pressing a button and having an invoice generated for me.  Instead of spending 10 minutes sitting there typing a document, I now have it in 30 seconds.

It’s something small that’s so big for me.  And also the same with generating broker payments. I push a button and it automatically calculates according to whatever split plan level they’re at currently.

Just between the invoices and generating the broker payments, those two things have been time savers for me for sure.

— Shelly Protus, Office Manager

What has been the most positive experience you’ve had with CommissionTrac and what has been the number one result you've been able to accomplish?

It’s really been the product as a whole.  I will say, your support team has been spectacular.

Anything I’ve wanted to talk about, anything I’ve needed help with,  you guys are responsive, you’re open, you’re just there. Which is really great!

 When we’re learning something and I have a question, it's great to get a response right away so I’m not held up.  You guys have been really wonderful. And the product overall has been great. Having everything together, the invoicing, generating the broker payments, I feel like I’m a broken record, but those things have all been great.  And the support has definitely been spectacular also. I definitely cannot leave that part out.

I would say our number one result has been the time savings. But also the feeling like we’re not in the dark ages anymore.  I just felt like our methods were old and inefficient. 

It’s important to work smarter, not harder, and I feel like CT has allowed me to work smarter, not harder. 

— Shelly Protus, Office Manager

One last question to sum it all up, why would you recommend CommissionTrac to colleagues?

I absolutely would recommend CT and actually I have.  There was a company that was looking into you guys and they went to your website and they saw Shelly with CBRE Albany on the testimonial page and the owners of that company happen to know my boss through SIOR and they called him up and they said, “Hey, do you mind if we talk to Shelly about her experience with CommissionTrac?” so I got a phone call...  

They drilled me with questions. I don’t think I was able to answer all of their questions. I answered a good number of them and obviously had glowing reviews about you guys. But I definitely encouraged them, I mentioned all of the things that I’ve mentioned to you about having everything together in one place, the streamlining of the invoicing process and broker payment process, the ability to eliminate or reduce Excel spreadsheet usage.

And I definitely told them about the support that you guys provide. That you’re available within minutes of asking a question, which has been really great.

So absolutely I would recommend you and absolutely I already have recommended you.

— Shelly Protus, Office Manager