From Marketing to Managing Operations: How Lauren Ramshaw Used CommissionTrac & QuickBooks to Streamline the Back Office Processes at Ramshaw Real Estate
With CommissionTrac, the commissions are being processed much more quickly, so we’re not getting a lot of questions like, “Have you gotten the check?” “Where’s my commission?...the whole process has become a lot more efficient and much faster
— Lauren Ramshaw, Marketing, Operations & HR
About SVN Ramshaw Real Estate
Ramshaw Real Estate is a proud affiliate of SVN Commercial Real Estate Advisors.
The SVN brand was founded in 1987 out of a desire to improve the commercial real estate industry for all stakeholders through cooperation and organized competition.
Ramshaw Real Estate decided to partner with SVN in 2001 due in large part to belief in SVN’s Core Covenants, many of which mirrored our own.
Ramshaw Real Estate is proud to celebrate 25 years of property management and brokerage in Champaign - Urbana, IL including the University of Illinois (UIUC). Starting as a 40-apartment management operation in 1983, we have developed into a well known and respected full-service leader in the local Champaign real estate market.
(over 12 months)
About Lauren Ramshaw
In January, 2019, Lauren transitioned from working part time with Ramshaw Real Estate doing primarily marketing to taking on additional responsibility and joining the team full time to wear several hats and cover marketing needs, HR and back office administration. The system in place was described as “ancient” and when Lauren took over, it felt like a natural time to search for a software that would work for the brokerage long term.
Lauren came into the new role at Ramshaw Real Estate without formal accounting experience and the product in place for back office and operations was really only understood by her predecessor. She had a challenge in managing the process, double data entry or sometimes triple data entry and then replicating work to get information over to her accounting team.
All in all, this was a time intensive process and created a lag between her getting money in the door and paying agents. They were on a 1 week cadence of paying agents from time of deposit, and as we all know, agents want their money as fast as possible and 1 week can feel like an eternity.
This lag and lack of transparency to agent’s and stakeholders made Lauren’s job more difficult, because agents constantly had questions surrounding the status of invoices and inquiring as to whether that check had come in yet and when would they be paid.
The existing product also was a desktop application without any integrations so all of her work was being duplicated in QuickBooks. Updating agents on things like invoices being sent, checks coming in and distribution calculations was also a very manual and multi-step process. Lauren decided that she wanted to explore other products and options to streamline her process, get agents more information faster, integrate with her accounting system (QuickBooks) and provide her with a user friendly experience and an assembly line like experience to stay on top of her new responsibilities.
Lauren was looking for a complete system “where everyone could access information in real time”, she could sync with Quickbooks, and that would generally “streamline [their process] so everybody could be more on the same page.”
For their agents: They wanted agents to be able to “log in and see the status of every deal they were on, the status of the invoices,” find copies of any deal related documents, see payment history and future revenue waiting to come in.
For the leadership team: Ramshaw wanted to “get into the 21st century with document storage” and have everything right there attached to each deal file.
For Lauren and the accounting team: The goal was to create a simple and streamlined process for everything that happens after a deal has been completed by one of the brokers on the team. She also wanted to have a platform that integrates with Quickbooks to make life easier for her and the accounting organization.
Lauren was able to completely transform her brokerage’s process from one that required multiple steps for every transaction and double, or even triple, data entry. She now has all of her agents in CommissionTrac receiving automatic updates and they are no longer asking tons of questions because all of the information is delivered automatically. She has a system that she described as “very intuitive” and a “really easy to walk through, step-by-step. It makes sense. It’s a very logical flow”
She also truly values our support. She doesn’t just have software, but the CommissionTrac team behind it as well. She described the team as “so fast, so helpful and very responsive.”
The biggest effect was the change in time between receiving commission checks and paying brokers. They can “turn around a deposit in a single business day” using CommissionTrac. With their old software, “it used to be a week” long process. This means happier agents, which is always a plus.
“It’s just helped us streamline our process a lot better. Especially because I am not in accounting and I am dealing with these things outside of accounting and then I’ve got to get this information to them. The QB integration is great. It makes that so easy for Accounting. I think that it’s just been very helpful to have one place that we work out of that, at any given time, anybody can log into.
I know that our accountants go in there sometimes and look, when they have an outstanding receivable; they want to make sure that it hasn’t been somehow cancelled in CommissionTrac. Sometimes the agents will say, “don’t bill that”, or “that deal didn’t go through,” and that information doesn’t always get to accounting so now they can go to the one centralized location where everybody can see the pipeline and all the relevant information, including the documents.
Previously accounting would either have to come into my office and go into the paper file and try to sift through what they were looking for, or ask for it. So I think even them being able to, if they have any doubts or questions, or if I wasn't here, anybody could get the information that they need if they know what they are looking for, out of just one place.”
— Lauren Ramshaw, Operations, Marketing & HR