photo of chris elmore speaking publicly

Interview: The Fusion of Technology, Data, and Regulations in Commercial Real Estate with Chris Elmore

Chris Elmore, who, in addition to being AvidXchange’s Director of Product Strategy, is an adjunct professor at UNC Charlotte, teaching graduate and undergraduate students in Entrepreneurship. Recently, the Charlotte Chamber announced that Elmore will serve as the business organization’s first “entrepreneur-in-residence.”

Elmore has been in the accounts payable world for 15 years in various roles, and has witnessed the transition from paper-based processes to completely automated AP and payment processes firsthand. An author and AP automation expert, Elmore has has published multiple books on the topic, including “The 8 Pitfalls of Accounts Payable Automation” and “The Argument to Automate – How Innovation Can INSPIRE – Not Fire” and is a renowned speaker in the finance world, noted for his knowledge of industry and his entertaining tone.

What have been the biggest regulatory and legal changes impacting the commercial real estate industry and how have these changes impacted the industry?

Since AvidXchange, there have been several changes. The biggest one was the SarbanesOxley Act of 2002, which required all public companies to track their accounts payable processes so an executive couldn’t say they had no idea what was going on in accounting. It’s impacted the industry because it has made real estate companies, especially those that are public, become more technically savvy. Lesser federal changes have happened around utility and energy invoices. For example, some states require that when a building is sold that the manager has to provide the new owner with historical records for tracking and audit purposes.

How do you see regulation, data and technology (in the commercial real estate industry) intersecting?

I think they need to intersect, however, the group that controls and the group that drives don’t always intersect very well. As regulations continue to change, it will be important to fully understand their impact and create or align the proper technology that collects the right data. That can take time, with lots of twists and turns along with way.

What have been the advantages and/or challenges of this intersection? What will be the advantages and/or challenges?

Besides understanding and translating, the biggest challenge is getting to the true intent of the regulator and the purpose of the regulations. From a software company’s perspective, a change in regulation means an opportunity to innovate and create technology that helps manage the new regulations.

How have technology innovations and data intelligence transformed the industry to date?

For me, it hasn’t really. Not yet. Real estate and property management companies are great about leasing and managing properties, but as an industry, it hasn’t completely embraced technology and innovation the way other industries have.

How will technology and data intelligence transform the industry in the future?

I believe that technology and data intelligence will make certain tasks, like those performed by a property manager and his or her staff, obsolete in the future.  This will completely transform the industry as we know it and force those who work within the real estate sector to adapt and change their business.

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