King West is a firm of Chartered Surveyors, Land and Estate Agents with principal offices in Market Harborough and Stamford, at the heart of England’s thriving Welland Valley, a location that enables the practice to offer Farm & Estate Management and Conservation of Heritage Property amongst its list of property services.
King West is using Landmark’s KEY Advanced Accounting software to run the practice accounts and a client accounts bureau. The software is fully integrated with Landmark’s KEY Property program eliminating the need for staff to re-key data. The linked programs also reduce the risk of error in a complicated system with multiple landlords, many client accounts and different property management service levels.
The practice also uses an Intex EARNIE payroll program supplied by Landmark to manage the people side of clients’ business. KEY Property was launched by Landmark in 1998. Coincidentally, King West was establishing a new professional practice and the partners were impressed by the prototype of this new product.
KEY Property was launched by Landmark in 1998. Coincidentally, King West was establishing a new professional practice and the partners were impressed by the prototype of this new product.
“We chose KEY Property for our business and for our mainly rural-based clients because it is Windows based, easy to use and links to a proven accounts system.” explains co-founder Rupert West.
“At this time our staff had different roles to those that exist today; the accounting and book keeping was carried out by a team now headed by Margaret Roberts, and the senior land agents with their assistants worked with KEY Property on a daily basis.”
“In a process of refinement we have trained the administration team to use KEY Property. This has meant fewer people working at the coal face of data inputting and greater focus of professional staff on dealing with clients and their properties. It has also allowed us to improve the quality of our management services. For example, in the area of routine maintenance operations we use a pro-active Key Property-based system led by building surveyor Steve Twyford.”
“Our view is that the pro-active management of agricultural, residential and commercial property is the way to lead our professional business forward.”
“Landmark software is an essential part of our service for property maintenance, tenancy information and accurate reporting.”
One of the users of KEY Property is Nicki Brocklesby, an Associate with her own portfolio. She heads up the estate management side of the firm’s Land Agency Department and has worked closely with Landmark and with Margaret Roberts to develop the way in which the software is used.
“I used ECS before but Landmark is more user-friendly,” she says. “Any system is dependent upon the accurate inputting of data. The current arrangement of KEY property being run by a consistent, highly experienced team pays off and increases efficiency by reducing errors through inconsistent inputting.”
“On the topside of the issues that have arisen from my arrival we are now trying to increase efficiency by making more use of the diary, ‘terrier’ recording and reporting functions.”
Margaret Roberts admits to still being in the learning stage with KEY Property but her department enjoys the KEY programs and says that they are well organised and more interesting than most!
“They are user-friendly and combine simple data entry with flexibility. I also like the multiple options for reporting.”
Margaret advocates using the “live” telephone helpline for support and has found her on-site KEY Property training comprehensive.
“Landmark staff listen to the client and try their best to deal with specific problems. It is not always possible to overcome a problem in the way that you expect but the team is very helpful and help is never far away.”
A Typical Northamptonshire Cottage
Rupert West comments on the firm’s outlook and approach to management:
“We are in a process of constant evolution. We are expanding the practice against a backdrop of falling agricultural incomes and ever greater regulation, which is a challenging environment. We are constantly looking for ways in which we can do our job more effectively and choosing the right software is one way of keeping ‘ahead of the game’. You need a good core computer system that can cope when you throw new things at it!”
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