RPM conducts a wide variety of audits on an on-going basis covering numerous areas of operations. An unpleasant reality to the Self Storage business is that by its very nature (small staff, and high volume of cash flow) it easily lends itself to misappropriation of funds. The possibility of employee theft and embezzlement are not the only reasons to perform periodic audits of a Self Storage property. Owners are charged with the safe keeping of the property of the tenants who rent from them. Therefore, it is critical to know that tenant records are accurate and in accordance with industry regulations. Without periodic audits, the chances of conducting a wrongful sale of tenant goods greatly increases. At RPM we place the highest priority on protecting revenue and keeping Owners out of legal issues with disgruntled tenants who may pursue a wrongful sale lawsuit.
The audits performed by RPM come in many forms including tenant files to ensure proper documentation for every rental agreement, unit status audits to ensure all rented units, vacant units, complimentary units and damaged units are accounted for and there are no “under-the-table” transactions being made. Through RPMs preferred operating software, we track anytime a fee is waived or discount is given. We audit tenant notes to ensure collections calls are being performed consistently. Beyond consistently auditing for possible employee theft issues, RPM also audits other factors critical to operational success such as marketing audits to determine the effectiveness of the various marketing efforts being implemented.
There are numerous options in self-storage operating software programs. RPM prefers Sitelink. There are several reason why we chose Sitelink, but one of the primary reasons is the ease of tracking within the Sitelink system. We regularly audit what is called the “Exceptions” report. This customizable report details any instance within a prescribed time frame where anything was changed within the system such as a fee being waived, merchandise being comped, less than the full amount of tenant rent was received, or a move out being backdated. We then easily identify any exception given and find out why.
One of the areas where theft can occur is through merchandise sales. Through the Sitelink reports, RPM does a routine audit of inventory and cross references the merchandise sales reports since the last audit date to ensure all merchandise is accounted for.
During store visits, RPM does a Unit Status walk-thru audit of all units. With this audit we can easily verify that units are in the proper status and there are no “under-the-table” deals going on between store personnel and tenants. By knowing which tenants are delinquent and denied access, we can make sure all cash payments received are being applied and accounted for. Improper use of units is the most common type of employee theft among self-storage personnel.