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Do I Really Need Self Storage Accounting Software?

July 5, 2022

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5 min

You’ve got to spend money to make money, right?

The adage is definitely true in self storage. At some point, every operator had to invest in a self storage facility before they could start making any money from it.

But many of us forget to apply that wisdom in other areas of running the facility. Spending money to upgrade the security, sure, but what about spending money to save yourself time?

Some operators try to save money by doing their bookkeeping by hand, rather than paying for software to automate it. Many of us are also deterred by the time investment required to learn and incorporate a new software - and that’s not even counting how long it might take us to choose the right software in the first place!

All of these are valid concerns, but it takes money to make money. And it can take an investment of time now to save you much more time later. We’ll go over the reasons to automate your accounting and the steps you’ll need to take here to help you get the most out of your software.


Benefits of Automating Self Storage Accounting

We rely on automation all the time in our daily life. Even reading the words on this page would be a lot more difficult without automation. Right now, the only humans involved are the writer (hi!), an editor, and you. Without automation, we’d need whole crews of people printing, binding, shipping, and sorting thousands of pages to create this interaction.

But automation does come with costs. Web hosting, internet service, electricity bills - adding them all up, automation has a big dollar sign attached to it. That can make self storage operators hesitate from embracing automation in areas they don’t already have it.

Many small businesses don't use accounting software, relying instead on spreadsheets and manual data tracking to keep everything in order and ready for tax time. As mentioned above, this can be appealing because adding new software costs money and time. 

Want to up your game with the latest software? Learn more about software with  our Self Storage Software Playbook.

Choosing a new software takes time and effort. Purchasing new software takes money. Learning to use new software takes time and effort. Then, a lot of software costs a monthly or yearly subscription, which is even more money. In a cash-strapped small business, this may not seem like a good way to spend money when you can just keep doing it by hand.

However, no matter how proficient you are at keeping track with a spreadsheet, accounting software is better. Just like when you’re buying a new gate or upgrading the locks on your units, investing in your business’s self storage software can end up making you money.

Time is money, and anything that frees up your time has monetary value to your business!

Software does the hard work for you. Instead of organizing every payment into a spreadsheet and doing manual calculations, good accounting software won’t need much more from you than the total of the transaction. If you can integrate it with the other software you’re using, like your Property Management Software, you may not have to touch it at all!

This frees you up to do things that computers aren’t as good at, like getting in touch with leads, planning out your marketing strategy, and cleaning out empty storage units. 

Depending on the small business accounting software that you choose, the programs can help you get a better overall view of your business’s health, too. Self storage accounting reports can help you suss out any potential financial problems before they become catastrophic. These helpful reports give you a birds-eye view of your finances in a way that can be hard to duplicate with spreadsheets.

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Property Management Software vs Accounting Software

Property Management Software is very nearly a necessity in self storage. A good PMS manages move-ins, billing, marketing, security, and communications. Some of the options, like SiteLink Total Accounting, have built-in accounting software. If your PMS doesn’t have accounting software built-in, though, you’ll need an additional program or set of programs to provide that functionality.

That means you’ll need to look into accounting software that is separate from your PMS. Invest a bit of time in learning the best accounting software for small businesses, so you know what you’ll be getting when you do make a purchase.

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Accounting software stores and organizes your financial data, provides financial reports, handles invoicing, and many options handle your payroll as well. Be aware of how much input you’ll be expected to provide when using the software - don’t opt for one that doesn’t offer you more than your spreadsheets!

But the main facet a self storage operator should consider when choosing accounting software is whether or not it can sync up with your PMS.

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Syncing Your Accounting Software and PMS

Every self storage operator with both a PMS and accounting software should have them linked together. Not all programs can communicate with each other, but if the two you’ve chosen don’t sync up, consider changing to a pair that will. 

If your PMS can sync up with your accounting software, that means it can share all the incoming transactions, outgoing payments, and tenant information directly with your accounting software without you having to do anything. This means you’ll be able to check out your reports, monitor your incoming and outgoing funds, and even pay taxes without transferring any data manually.

Want to up your game with the latest software? Learn more about software with  our Self Storage Software Playbook.

There are far too many possible combinations for us to attempt to explain the details of how to connect every PMS with every possible piece of accounting software, but the process is usually fairly straightforward. Your PMS’s website should both tell you whether or not it can connect with your accounting system and how to do so.

Here’s an explanation of how to connect SiteLink TOTAL Accounting with your accounting software. The specifics for your PMS and accounting software are probably not too different.

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Getting all of this set up will take time and energy that you’ll wish you could spend on your facility. However, when it’s all in place, you’ll have far more time to spend than you would without this self storage automation!

Think of this like spending time to make time - and once you’ve got it in place, the time you save will multiply every day. Of course, if you spend most of your day twiddling your thumbs, then saving this time isn’t helpful, but I’ve yet to meet a self storage operator with a blank to-do list!

For more ways to optimize your self storage operation, check out these links:

At StoragePug, we build self storage websites that make it easy for new customers to find you and easy for them to rent from you.

Do more with your tech!

Check out our Self Storage Software Playbook here.

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