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Gordon James Realty Expands their Business with the Help of Automation and Custom Accounting Processes

With Accounting Seed on Salesforce, Gordon James Realty is making their mark in the property management business 

Whether you’re looking to buy your first home or you’re an experienced investor, Gordon James Realty has your back. Serving the Washington D.C., Virginia, and Maryland areas, Gordon James Realty was established in 2012 as a full-service property management company helping others maximize their investment in owning property. But Gordon James Realty isn’t your everyday property management company. What makes them unique is their approach to customer service through tailored experiences—all backed by the latest technology.

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Twin brothers and co-founders, Tom and Matthew Carcone, experienced first-hand the “outdated” approach to property management—the delayed updates and communication, paper pushing, and manual work that went into working with a property manager—when they bought their first property in 2008. Seeing the lack of automation, Tom and Matthew jumped into the industry with a fresh perspective and took it upon themselves to leverage technology to manage the various activities that come with property management and, in turn, create a better experience for clients.

“We were young coming into the industry but that gave us the leverage to try something new and unique,” said Tom. “We have always been big adopters of technology and that’s something we’ve carried through from the very beginning—which is still pretty different in the industry.”

With Salesforce and Accounting Seed, Tom created an online portal for communicating with clients and a custom billing and work order process tailored for his different business units. The ability to have flexible accounting processes was key for Tom as he explored new ways to expand the business and bring more value to customers. In fact, six years ago, Tom and Matthew decided to add maintenance services, which is an entirely different business function. They were able to take on this new venture due to the flexibility and configuration options in Accounting Seed.

New ventures made possible with flexible software 

As the business owner, Tom did a full cost analysis before adding another venture to Gordon James Realty. Because Tom and his team have the flexibility of solutions that share the same platform, they felt comfortable adding maintenance services under the umbrella of Gordon James Realty.

“Had we not made the decision to use Salesforce and Accounting Seed, I don’t think we could have done it. The flexibility of Accounting Seed allows us to expand our business as we see fit without facing a lot of challenges,” said Tom.

By creating a custom workflow from Salesforce to Accounting Seed, they were able to take on maintenance services with ease. For example, if a resident needs work at their property, they submit a work order through their portal powered by Salesforce, which feeds into Gordon James Realty’s Salesforce instance. The account manager is notified, and the work is scheduled. Upon completion, the contractor submits a closeout form which includes details such as cost of materials, allotted resource hours, etc., which again connects into Salesforce and automatically creates a billing record in Accounting Seed. Because Accounting Seed is fully native to Salesforce, all the work order and financial data lives in one place. This streamlines the workflow, ensures data accuracy, and improves visibility for their entire maintenance process.

“One of the things we’ve really seen a lot of value in terms of utilizing Salesforce and Accounting Seed is the ability to not only expand our business with ease but connect different records with their specific accounting activities. We essentially have unlimited customization,” said Tom.

Overcoming challenges and improving data accuracy

But it wasn’t always this easy. Before moving to Accounting Seed on Salesforce, Gordon James ran their financials on QuickBooks and client-related activities on Propertyware. While both have their strengths as separate solutions, they couldn’t provide what Tom needed to grow the business.

With QuickBooks and Propertyware, Tom faced major challenges that were eliminated when he made the move to Accounting Seed on Salesforce:

  1. Limited flexibility: While there are key things that are the same in property management, there are also many different ways to run your business. “Prepackaged software makes it a challenge to run an efficient business. There’s limited flexibility with those solutions. With Accounting Seed, we have the flexibility to customize things as we go,” said Tom.
  1. Manual data entry: When automation and custom workflows are lacking, it’s easy for data mistakes to crop up on a daily basis. “The room for error when having people do manual data entry was greater than what we’ve seen with Salesforce and Accounting Seed. We’ve been able to automate a lot of processes and avoid double entry altogether. In terms of data accuracy, we are achieving 99% accuracy every time,” said Tom.
  1. Lack of confidence in reporting: Because there was more room for error in his previous solutions, Tom’s trust in the financial reports and end-of-month close wasn’t there. “Being able to pull a financial report and have confidence that it is accurate was made possible [with Accounting Seed],” said Tom.

The path towards client success

How does this all impact their clientele? Tom and his team see their business as one big puzzle with each piece being part of the internal system that creates a beautiful picture that the client sees and experiences. One piece of that puzzle was data associated with payables.

Gordon James works with other vendors on behalf of their clients. Prior to working with the company, clients expressed it was a challenge to get basic information from other property management companies—sometimes taking months to locate an invoice and send it to the client. In Accounting Seed, Tom and his team created a process during their monthly bank reconciliations that shows internal users a view of all the payables that have been made to different vendors, and highlights payables that don’t yet have files associated so that can be remedied in real-time.

“The payables workflow is just one example of improved data integrity on our side, that leads to satisfaction on the client side. When they ask for something for their own records, we can get it to them without having to sort through various documents to see what’s missing,” said Tom.

In addition to this, Gordon James Realty has achieved 100% compliance in terms of vendor management through a custom workflow for obtaining W9s. This workflow is triggered in Salesforce and Accounting Seed before any payments are made.  This gives clients confidence they have the right information on hand at all times.

Clients are entrusting Gordon James with their most valuable assets, and because of that they want to see data in real-time. They want invoices in a timely manner. They want performance data when they ask for it. Now, Tom and his team can provide that—something that most other property management companies aren’t capable of doing.

“The solution we’ve put together in Accounting Seed has allowed us to be able to provide real time, 100% transparency and full visibility into their [our clients] property on the financial and operational side,” said Tom. “For us internally, we’ve been able to do that for ourselves by rolling out Accounting Seed. And I think that clients on the receiving end feel that. It’s allowed us to have a 99% client retention rate, which is unheard of. I don’t know if there’s any other company in our area that’s able to say that. And I don’t think that we would have been able to achieve that without Accounting Seed.”

Worry replaced with unwavering trust

As a CEO and Co-founder, Tom cares deeply about the customer experience and the internal workings of his company. With the right solution in place many of his worries associated with running a business have been alleviated, allowing him to focus on expanding Gordon James Realty.

“When we were using the old software, I would wake up in the middle of the night, sweating and thinking about, ‘oh my God did we bill this client for something,’ or being concerned about someone potentially deleting a record,” said Tom. “Not having to worry about that has allowed me to focus on other areas of the business that drive revenue. I have a ton of faith in the system that we built—that’s been huge with Accounting Seed.”

What’s next for Tom, Matthew, and the entire team at Gordon James Realty? With customization at their fingertips, they plan to keep focusing on process improvements and building the business their clients desire—all while keeping costs down and customer benefits up!

“[Accounting Seed] allowed us to grow and expand as fast as we are willing to grow and expand. Having Accounting Seed native within Salesforce has changed our business.”

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