Property platform

We built a platform for landlords to manage their property portfolios and finances using a bespoke double entry bookkeeping system tied to a CRM.

We were approached by a property management company who were using a mix of Excel spreadsheets, Word documents and physical paper to run their business.

As their workload increased over the years, they'd found information started being misplaced or overlooked, and tenants and investors were both dissatisfied with the time it took to find answers to basic questions. Preparing end of year reports for their accountants was also taking longer each year, resulting in late submissions and increasing penalties.

The company had tried combinations of off-the-shelf software packages to improve their processes, but staff had found them overcomplicated and a poor fit for their work. The overheads in learning and switching everything to a new system overnight had also led to further mistakes and delays.

Initial investigation

We first held discovery sessions with the managers to find out how the business operated, what their work involved, and which questions they needed rapid answers to. We then spoke with the team members who were responsible for data entry, to get a full picture of what information was available, how it was currently collected, and identify any pain points and risks they had with those procedures.

We wrote a high-level overview of our understanding of the business, where the current problems lay, and what they wanted to achieve with this project. We shared and iterated on this document with the client to ensure we had fully understood the problem domain and scope of the project.

We then developed a specification for the system. To avoid the problems they'd had when migrating everything at once, we recommended a modular platform with a phased introduction, running each module in parallel with their current system while we made iterative improvements based on feedback, before fully migrating that part of their operations to the new platform.


In the first three phases we implemented modules for a property database, an event tracker, and a tenancy CRM. Each time we released a module we imported their relevant data to simulate real-world usage, then held UX interviews and training sessions with the staff involved. They continued to use their existing processes until the new modules were deemed fit for use, at which point we re-imported their latest data and they switched to the new platform.

The next phase was to migrate their financial processes. We initially recommended using APIs to integrate with a third party solution such as Xero, but the team had tried some in the past and decided they weren't a good fit. The key business goals of the project also demanded a tight integration between the financial side and the rest of the platform. Rather than pull the data from a third party, we therefore agreed to build a custom accounting module, and to push or export our local authoritative data to other systems if that was required by accountants in the future.

We built a double entry bookkeeping module and first migrated the tenant ledgers, completing an end-to-end system for issuing invoices through to perfoming bank reconciliation. We then extended this in future modules to track property maintenance expenses, and then all expenses within the business.

Once all regular business processes had been migrated to the system, we moved on to implementing more advanced reports for the managers, and built a flexible query system to allow users to easily perform complex custom analysis of the data.


By taking a modular approach, staff in the business were able to adapt to the new system in small steps without significant upheaval to their workload. We used agile methodologies to build the system based on stakeholder feedback, ensuring that it not only met their overall goals, but was practical and efficient for day-to-day use.

Each module delivered concrete improvements for both those entering the data and those analysing it, helping the business measure KPIs and return on investment throughout the project - which in turn helped guide scope and budget for each subsequent phase.

The client was happy that the system not only met all their initial goals, but thanks to the iterative development process we also identified additional ways to streamline their processes.

The platform allowed the client to catch up with their backlogs; deliver immediate answers to managers, tenants and investors; produce reports and exports for their accountants well in advance of deadlines; and free up staff to work on new projects.

For the long-term

As the business has grown, we have continued to extend the platform with new modules to extend their data collection and analytics capabilities, as well as to support internal processes.