As a homeowner association (HOA) or condominium association (COA) manager, you have many choices when it comes to software. From general accounting programs to software designed specifically for HOAs/COAs, there are multiple options for managing your own business and your clients’ daily operations. However, there is often some confusion about which type of management software is the best choice for HOAs/COAs.
One common question concerns the difference between association management software and membership management software. What makes each type of program unique? Is association management software or membership management software better? Which one should your HOA/COA management company use?
Although your HOA/COA management business may have unique needs, association management software is generally the best choice for your company. Association management software platforms like CINC Systems are specifically designed for companies that work with HOAs/COAs, whereas membership management software is used differently.
By highlighting several key differences between each type of software, it’s easy to understand why your HOA/COA management company should choose association management software. Let’s take a closer look at association management software versus membership management software.
First, association management software includes numerous accounting features that membership management software doesn’t have. Typically, membership management software is used by nonprofits and various special interest organizations, such as amateur sports leagues or hobby groups. While these membership organizations do have financial structures, their accounting needs are considerably less complicated than an HOA/COA.
As an HOA/COA manager, your job includes many financial duties. You’re responsible for collecting resident fees, balancing budgets, managing accounts payable and accounts receivable, and generating financial reports for your clients’ HOA/COA board. You also need to be able to assist your clients with financial audits and tax preparation.
Association management software like CINC Systems is robust enough to handle all these needs, and more. In many ways, association management software is like having your own personal accountant specializing in HOA/COA clients. Membership management software, however, doesn’t have these same features. If there’s any financial functionality in a membership management software program, it will be very limited compared to the features of association management software.
Similarly, association management software offers many professional features that aren’t included in a standard membership management program. These are the key features that help you to streamline your daily operations and manage your clients’ HOA/COA. Association management software is designed by people who know the industry and understand what you need. Membership management software is much more broad and generic.
For example, HOA/COA managers need turn-key solutions for running their clients’ associations. Association management software thus includes the ability to set up an online web portal for work orders, where residents can submit necessary repairs online 24/7. Your HOA/COA management software lets you organize these work orders by date, category, or priority, then send electronic updates as the work progresses.
Association management software also allows you to create an electronic resource for your clients’ residents, where they can download documentation such as the community’s rules, event calendar, and announcements. To see how association management software can improve your clients’ communities, call CINC Systems at (855) 943-8246 for a free demo.
When asking about the difference between association management software and membership management software, another consideration is the price point. Which type of software is cheaper? Naturally, this varies by manufacturer. Additionally, some software is a one-time purchase, while others require a monthly or annual subscription fee.
In general, membership management software tends to be less expensive overall than association management software. However, membership management software doesn’t include many of the important features you need to support your HOA/COA clients. Even if the software itself is less expensive, you’ll end up paying more because you’ll need to purchase additional accounting software and other programs to fill in the gaps.
Membership management software will also cost more, in the long run, because it isn’t as efficient as software designed for HOA/COA management. This reduced efficiency means you’ll waste valuable time that could have been spent focusing on new clients or other aspects of your association management business.
Another difference between association management software and membership management software is interactivity. Generally, both types of software include mass communication functions, such as email lists and electronic announcements.
However, membership management software tends to be more socially oriented because it targets social groups. For example, membership management software may include more message board or chatroom functionality.
Although social features can be a nice perk, they aren’t a high priority for HOA/COA management group. If your client wants you to create better online communication channels for their residents, you can set this up for free via Facebook groups or other methods.
Next, association management software tends to have stronger technical support than membership management software. This is one of the many benefits that come with more professional software. It’s another reason why it’s worth it to invest in more expensive software for your HOA/COA clients.
As an HOA/COA manager, some of your clients may need you to be “on-call” after business hours. Because of this, many manufacturers of association management software offer 24/7 customer support. If your software malfunctions, you’ll be able to get help right away. Membership management software support usually isn’t as responsive because the needs aren’t as time-sensitive.
Another reason to choose association management software instead of membership management software is cloud-based data encryption. When you manage an HOA/COA, you’re dealing with a high volume of very sensitive data. In addition to the financial data of your clients, you’re also handling their residents’ personal information. Because of this, you need software that’s very secure.
When you choose association management software that’s cloud-based, such as CINC Systems, your data is spread across multiple servers in different locations. It’s also secured using encryption technology. This means that the data is “scrambled” once it’s uploaded into the cloud. Even if it’s hacked, the information can’t be accessed because the hacker doesn’t have the right key code.
Given the numerous advantages of association management software versus membership management software, it’s easy to see which one is right for your HOA/COA management business. Switch to cloud-based HOA/COA management software today and see how your association management business can truly thrive.