Output management with PROMOS.FS – dramatic reduction in workload for large and small real estate managers

In addition to the time-consuming activities of operating cost accounting, the entire process involves downstream activities that are of lesser importance compared with the accounting from a technical viewpoint, but are just as important with regard to sending a correct statement letter to the tenant. One of the most time-consuming work steps is preparing the statement letter for sending. In many companies, this begins with independent printing of the letter and ends with manual addition of the statement documents from the heating meter reading company.

PROMOS.FS has long-term references in this area and enables its customers to reduce the workload in the aforementioned downstream activities to simply entering a print release date.  

Heterogeneous invoicing worlds  

When invoicing heating and water costs, most real estate managers use various heating meter readers, most of whom have different technical options for preparing their statement letters. As a rule, the standard here is to exchange D/W records and use the individual meter reading companies’ statement letters (provided in paper form), which then have to be added to the operating costs statement letter by hand. With the “IBEKO” service package from PROMOS.FS, more and more real estate managers are using settlement results from heating meter reading companies in E record format, which can be inserted into the layout and content of an integrated statement letter that is identical for all heating meter reading companies – without any need for manual sorting. The E records are also the basis for automated checking of the statement and apportionable creation of customer-specific consumption analyses for a period of three accounting periods, which can be attached to the integrated statement letter.

Figure 1: The use of IBEKO reduces the workload for processing consumption-dependent heating and water cost statements by up to 80 percent.

Customer-specific requirements  

Every customer has essential individual requirements regarding the process for preparing and handing over statement letters to tenants. For example, for one customer it is important that some of the statement letters created are not sent to the tenant, but by email to the responsible administrator. Another customer would like a separate information letter to be sent to all or only certain tenants before the statement letter is sent out. And yet another customer would like pre-specified logos, headers and footers to be printed on different pages in the statement letter depending on the first digit of the business entity, as he does not want to have individual letterheads. PROMOS.FS takes up these different requirements and provides the customer with tailored services to fulfil them.  

Meter reading service-specific standards  

This is actually a contradiction in terms, as a standard cannot be specific to an individual company. However, reality shows that the major meter reading companies implement the specifications for delivering statement letters in PDF form laid out by the Cooperative for Heat and Water Costs Distribution (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Heiz- und Wasserkostenverteilung e.V.) (Bonn) – known as the “E898” procedure – in different ways with regard to the technical options provided by their own IT systems. For example, while one meter reading service references the entire statement letter in the “E898” index file, another meter reading service supplies references to the individual pages of a letter. Thanks to its many years of experience, PROMOS.FS is able to incorporate these special requests into the preparation of the letter. If a heating meter reading company is unable to provide the “E898” procedure but can send its statement letters in PDF format, in most cases PROMOS.FS can also process these letters.  

The combined statement letter  

As described above, PROMOS.FS can process all versions of these delivered files and automatically link the statement letters from the heating meter reading companies with the SAP® statement letters to form combined statement letters. For this purpose, the rental object numbers (or alternatively the contract numbers) and the consumer settlement period are analysed in order to link the statement letter from the heating meter reading company with the correct SAP® statement letter. To supplement this, a spot check (“X of 100 business entities”) is performed to verify that the billed amounts in a meter reading service letter match the amounts in the corresponding SAP® letter. This service, which is called “IBEKO Merge & Print” in the PROMOS.FS portfolio, also includes the option to supplement the statement letter with a consumption analysis.

Figure 2: The combined statement letter merges the SAP® statement letter and the PDF statement documents from the heating meter reading company with no need for manual sorting.

Workload reduced by up to 99 percent  

The services provided by PROMOS.FS in the area of output management allow you to reduce your workload by up to 99 percent when it comes to the activities downstream of the actual operating cost billing process (creating the statement letter in SAP®, preparing to print, printing and delivery). Manual sorting of the various statement letters is completely eliminated. After preparing the operating cost statement, the real estate manager’s processor issues the print release for any number of business entities and specifies the required printing date. Once the activities at PROMOS.FS have been completed, the administrator then receives feedback for each business entity that the letter has been generated, archived if required, and transferred to the requested delivery method. Customer-specific solutions are also usual when it comes to the delivery method. While one customer prefers delivery in the form of a posted letter, another customer would like the letters to be delivered to the caretaker support points in transport crates to be handed out independently, and a third customer would like the letters to be sent to current tenants as ordinary letters but to former tenants by registered post.  

Controlling the settlement process  

The entire utility statement process is usually a cross-company process in which both internal customer processes and the processes of service providers (heating meter reading companies, printing service providers, etc.) need to be controlled and the deadlines adhered to. On request, PROMOS.FS takes care of coordination and documentation with all those involved in the process. At many real estate management companies, there are employee-specific Excel lists that make effective reporting difficult and transparent process controlling almost impossible. PROMOS.FS works directly in the customer’s SAP® system and uses the utility costs process monitoring add-on (NKPU) from PROMOS Consult, which is installed in the customer’s SAP® system, for controlling and documentation. In order to generate the statement letter in SAP®, the customer simply enters the required printing date on which PROMOS.FS then performs all the required activities up to sending the statement letter.

Das PROMOS Prozessüberwachungstool für die Nebenkostenprozessüberwachung
Figure 3: NKPU – utility costs process monitoring.

PROMOS.FS – your strategic partner in all areas of the utility statement  

In its Immo Service Center, PROMOS.FS has brought together all services in the context of consumption-related settlement, non-consumption-related settlement, and all upstream and downstream activities. Services from the “output management” complex enable significant reductions in workload, which can be realised in the short term, in the area of the annual utility statement. For this, it does not matter which heating meter reading services the customer works with.

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