Many years ago when I started my HOA management company, we were using software that was designed for managing rental units. It was great software — adaptable, robust, and fairly cheap. But there were a lot of things that we wanted it to do that it just couldn’t.
Back then, options for HOA software were limited. Nowadays we have several great tools that make our lives easier. I began to see this a few years after we started, when I went to a national CAI conference. It was there that I realized how many tools were available, and how they could improve my company.
A decision like changing HOA software is a big deal for most management companies. It means training, down time, and who knows if it’s really going to work as well as that sales guy said it would. Consequently most companies are reluctant to make this change — especially when they are getting by with what they have.
Here are a few things that convinced me to make a change and how it has helped my company.
As a business owner, I recognized the need for tools that dealt with specific HOA issues like violation follow-up, and reserve funds. What I didn’t realize, was how much time and money could be saved through other automation, and the integration with banks, accounts payable, mailing, and other services.
When choosing HOA software1 it’s important to remember that the success of your management company depends on the implementation and use of a system. Personnel, HOA software, and service providers are all part of that system. When they all work together, and when the system works, managers are able to handle their job with ease. If part of that system fails, your service falters and your company fails.
The right HOA software provides the platform for managers to complete their tasks efficiently and easily interface with vendors and service providers.
Using the right software can also be your competitive advantage. One area where we found this to be true was in using an online accounts payable2 service. It allowed board members to view and approve invoices online from anywhere. It also tracked and verified that each invoice was approved by the the appropriate individuals. In short, it protected association money, and it saved us a ton of time. As an added benefit the vendors loved it because they were paid quicker instead of having to wait for the next board meeting. And happy vendors can make your life easier in a lot of ways.
When it comes to acquiring new clients, features like this can make the difference in winning a contract… or not.
HOA software is constantly changing and getting better. It’s helping us automate processes and communicate better, with… well, everyone! If you haven’t looked into it for a while, or if you’re using a system that is just barely getting by… it’s time to evaluate your HOA software and put together a system that will help you grow and compete better.
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