PropertyGuru deploys NetSuite OneWorld to support growing business

Singapore-based PropertyGuru Group, one of Asia’s online property portals, deployed cloud-based business management solution NetSuite OneWorld to accelerate its expansion across Asia Pacific.

The Group was established in Singapore in 2007 and now supports the needs of 10 million visitors a month across the region. As the company began to expand beyond Singapore, it became clear that its previous software systems were inadequate to support its Asia Pacific growth ambitions.

The PropertyGuru network expanded to comprise five regional portals that connect buyers, renters, real estate agents and developers in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. 

The region’s burgeoning property market meant PropertyGuru faced the prospect of growth, both with regard to headcount and revenue. This signalled the need for new technologies to support the expansion.

PropertyGuru reviewed Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Sage, which were quickly dismissed as dated on-premise solutions. NetSuite, however, offered a true cloud-based business management solution with financial consolidation across its four subsidiaries, at a fraction of the cost of on-premise solutions. Part of the cost-savings stemmed from the elimination of the need for a dedicated IT department and in-house servers.

NetSuite OneWorld was deployed in 2012 to replace PropertyGuru’s existing MYOB software suite and the Microsoft Excel spreadsheets the firm used to use. The new cloud-based solution was used by PropertyGuru Group to support financials, revenue recognition, subsidiary management, workflows to manage lead orders to cash and tax calculations in four currencies (SGD, MYR, IDR and THB) across Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

PropertyGuru did expand regionally as projected – since 2012, the Group’s headcount increased from 100 to 300 employees and revenue tripled.

“PropertyGuru is growing rapidly and we needed a solution that would scale with us and manage our business operations across multiple countries,” said Jani Rautiainen, co-founder and managing director of PropertyGuru Group. “NetSuite OneWorld allows us to consolidate financials from four different currencies in real-time, which has given us unprecedented insight into our operations, wherever and whenever we need it.”

Through NetSuite OneWorld, PropertyGuru had access to a unified cloud platform that enables the company to manage and run mission-critical business processes in real-time.

Time savings

Since NetSuite OneWorld, PropertyGuru has slashed the time it takes for month-end close reconciliation from over a month to an average of 10 days. NetSuite’s financial management solution also offers strong expense management, streamlined and auditable revenue management, as well as full integration with order management, inventory and CRM functions to enable all stakeholders to work from a single source of finance, sales and customer data.

NetSuite OneWorld also transformed PropertyGuru’s revenue recognition process, a highly complex task due to the range of property listings available to customers and variable sales strategies in each region. The solution provided the customization capabilities and flexible options required to streamline this process and ensure revenue transparency and reporting consistency.

Since deployment, PropertyGuru’s online advertising revenue, which accounts for the majority of its revenue, has tripled.

PropertyGuru has gained real-time global financial consolidation, including a 360-degree view of customers, data and financials across four countries, in four currencies. NetSuite provides real-time financial dashboards, reporting and analysis, enabling true value-added insights for PropertyGuru to identify issues, trends and opportunities and immediately drill down to the underlying transaction to take action.

In addition, NetSuite OneWorld gives PropertyGuru the agility to expand into a new country with simple and swift in-house deployment, due to its scalability.

This gives PropertyGuru the ability to match its business software spend with actual business needs, ensuring both controlled capital expenditure and a single unified platform across all markets.
Compliance

NetSuite OneWorld enables PropertyGuru to remain compliant with evolving accounting standards and regulations in the different countries within which it operates. It also has an audit and compliance reporting feature, which provides an always-on audit trail as well as built-in analytics and enhanced compliance support, which will help PropertyGuru as it prepares to IPO in Australia later this year.

“NetSuite has allowed us to fulfil our vision and really grow across the region—our senior management team has much better visibility into the entire business, enabling them to make more informed business decisions,” Rautiainen said. “Our finance department has also significantly improved its processes. The real-time insights NetSuite OneWorld affords us from wherever we are across the world, has provided our finance team with much needed predictability and consistency. NetSuite is now core to our operations and we have big plans for how we can utilize it.”

Expansion plans

PropertyGuru expects to expand its use of NetSuite OneWorld to encompass sales force commission, incentive compensation management and inventory management.

NetSuite OneWorld will also be used to support PropertyGuru’s planned IPO on the Australian Securities Exchange later this year, enabling the company to run global auditing and accounting compliance reporting in multiple countries and currencies.