One of the hardest things a property manager must do is manage, process and respond to abounding information. I was reminded of this when I read a recent forum on the subject of ‘motion spreadsheets.’ By my understanding, the question was — what is the best way to keep a searchable history of the Boards decisions (motions).

Whether you’re thinking of investing in a document management system or are planning a process improvement around to record HOA decisions, I recommend starting simple with Microsoft Excel. Its versatility makes it a great tool to track and snapshot a ton of information in a searchable and easily tailored format.

When creating your spreadsheet, start with the end in mind

  • Focus your categories on filter search ability
  • Identify and code stakeholders
  • Set policy, time and place

Focus on Categories

Think about what questions you want the sheet to answer:

  • When did the board approve xxxx?
  • Who made the motion for xxxx decision?
  • When were the minutes posted to the HOA website?
  • What minutes have not been approved and made public?
  • How much did we spend on xxxx project?

Your headings will allow you to record specific data and filter the data using relevant keywords in the future, like “aerating project” or “special assessment”.

Identify & Code Stakeholders

I’m big fan of color coding spreadsheets. Colors can be used to define who is supposed to do what. In this sample spreadsheet I’ve used blue, green and purple to delineate board, management and committee action items.

Sample Motion Spreadsheet:

Policy, Time & Place

Before you roll out this process improvement establish 1.) what the objective of the tool is, 2.) who is accountable for the tool and when the data entry will happen, 3.) an annual review process and 4.) a historical archive plan.

Consistency is your key to success. Calendar dates and times when you will update your spreadsheet. If your HOA meets monthly, perhaps you’ll block one hour bi-weekly. If they meet quarterly, perhaps you’ll update it once a month. Either way, protect your time and place by placing a high priority on your consistency goals.

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