Owning and running an association management company can be both gratifying and intensely demanding. Your ability to optimize operations, improve financial transparency, and enhance communication with your association boards and within your company is the secret to your company’s growth and longevity.
Your association management company must be built on flexibility, sophistication, and, most importantly, technology to succeed in this fast-changing world. Adopting technology to bolster performance, enhance strategic partnerships, and attract a skilled talent pool is critical for building and nurturing your business relationships — that includes your corporate team, your association boards, your managers, and your homeowners.
This Definitive Guide to Association Management is designed for association management company owners, CEOs, and leaders to understand more effective ways to manage and scale association management companies profitably. When you implement its techniques for managing your associations, you will deliver a consistent voice and value throughout your portfolio while fostering continued growth.
Whether you are running an association management company with one or two COAs or have a portfolio of 50 or more associations, this Definitive Guide to Association Management will help you scale your operation to reap lofty economies of scale benefits.
About COA/HOA Management
The number of Americans living in COAs and HOAs has climbed steadily since 1970, reaching 73.5 million U.S. residents in 2018, or about 27% of the population. Furthermore, this growth is projected to continue into the foreseeable future, according to the Community Associations Institute (CAI) — great news for association management companies trying to garner profits from razor-thin margins.
As an association management company CEO or owner, you understand that the only way to truly succeed in this competitive market is to glean economies of scale benefits by continually adding new HOAs and COAs to your portfolios. However, it is difficult to profitably scale your company and gain an edge over your competition without the right tools.
This definitive guide will give you that competitive edge by helping you understand:
- Financial Control and Reporting — Discover ways to gain tighter control over your finances and reporting. Experience next-level growth by obtaining ways to improve efficiencies in association accounting, integrated banking, and association board reporting.
- Payments and collections — Learn methods to increase payments and collections efficiency, cutting down on mundane manual tasks to give you and your team more time to focus on ways to grow your company.
- Board relationship management — Get to know a system to maintain individualized services while managing and communicating with the growing number of association boards in your portfolio.
- Homeowner Board Communications and Management — Identify practical ways to enhance communication between your homeowners and boards, optimizing management, and boosting association retention.
- Property Management — Acquire insight into streamlining violations, ACC, maintenance, and work order management, eliminating repetitive tasks, and saving your managers hours of work each day.
- Growing your company — Master technologies to empower your team to complete daily tasks faster and more effectively, allowing you to develop your portfolio and profits. Learn about growth and management techniques, financial management transparency, innovative software solutions, and scalability and profitability with less overhead.
Accurate association accounting is key to your growing management company. Error-free accounts payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR) can make or break your business. Spotting ways to boost accounting performance while saving time and money is crucial to reaching economies of scale profits.
Accounting software has been available almost as long as there have been computers. In the past, software centered on fundamental functions, including general ledger, payroll, AP, and AR. Today, accounting software performs those functions while also tracking cash flows, recording financial transactions, paying invoices, generating board reports, and more.
According to Fortune Business Insights, more organizations than ever are embracing tech-centric strategies. Automation and cloud-based software are vital to boost accounting accuracy and provide cost-savings and flexibility for company expansion. Accounts payable and accounts receivable are the two main areas that can benefit from cloud-based software applications.
Many association management businesses struggle with keeping vendors on top of their IOUs. AP workers can become easily overwhelmed with mundane work and other challenges that slow down the process. If your team manually inputs data into a legacy software system, it most likely faces:
- Sloppy data entry — Manually entering invoice data into an accounting program could leave your company vulnerable to mistakes. Even small errors could cost your company thousands of dollars. Using automated software that will sync bank data and autofill vendor information in your records, your AP team can eliminate confusion and minimize errors.
- Losing track of your invoices — Paper invoices can be easily misfiled or misplaced. If the missing invoices go undiscovered, your company must explain to your vendors why their payment is late. Association accounting software can automatically generate reports that list unpaid invoices at the end of your current accounting period.
- Differing processing methods — Streamlining your AP system can be a real challenge without a consistent procedure. Even with processing guidelines in place, your employees may interpret them differently. This is fine for a small accounting department. However, as your company grows, it needs methods to maintain AP consistency throughout your portfolio.
- Inconsistent invoicing — Vendors and suppliers submit invoices in varying ways — paper, email, text, etc. This inconsistency can create efficiency problems, slowing down your accounting team. An automated system can handle many invoice types and streamline your AP process.
- Following-up manually — Manual follow-ups for invoice approvals or resubmissions can be frustrating. Automated software can help you set follow-up approval reminders within your company and allows vendors to set up dedicated online portals to check on payment status.
- Time-consuming record search — Rifling through old invoices and account records can be time consuming. Automated accounting software with invoice imaging allows your accountant team to bring up old AP records with a few clicks.
- Increased invoice cost — The cost per invoice rises the longer it takes to be processed. Labor makes up a large portion of an invoice’s costs; however, mistakes like missed deadlines and duplicate payments can result in late fees and lost money. Automation and recurring AP payments reduce labor costs and protect your company and clients from late fees and duplicate payments.
A reliable income stream is the bedrock of any thriving company. However, accounts receivable can be a chronic pain point for association management company CEOs, owners, and leaders. Late payments and accounting inefficiencies can hamper businesses looking to expand. Frequent pain points to be aware of and improve include:
- Inaccurate customer data — Ensuring customer account accuracy is vital to an effective AR process. Outdated homeowner contact information, data entry errors, and lost updates can take hours to correct. Customer accounts should be centralized, tracked, and audited consistently for any anomalies that can hold up fee payments.
- Payment disputes — Errors or miscommunication can result in payment disputes. Unraveling these issues costs your company valuable time and money, especially if you do not have an effective centralized method to communicate with homeowners. Your AR processes should be automated as much as possible to reduce the manual entry errors that lead to payment disputes.
- Storage deficiencies — Your growing company does not have the time or space to maintain physical client files. Even if a legacy system digitally stores your AR data, it may not safeguard it. Cloud-based association software has storage solutions that centralize your association files and scale to your needs. It also allows for disaster recovery back-ups.
- Inefficient payment processes — To be productive, your company’s fee and assessment processes must be streamlined and accurate. Extra time and expense are needed to track down late payments. Manual processing can cause errors and redundancies and can tank your productivity. One way to improve AR fee billing is by automating as much as possible and providing a dedicated online portal for residents. This permits your staff to transfer some of the work to homeowners while giving them a sense of autonomy.
- Multiple payment methods — Accepting limited payment methods can slow down your cash flow if homeowners find them inconvenient. Conversely, accepting payment forms like ACH, credit cards, bill pay, and checks may reduce delinquencies. Despite this, they may slow down AR processes if your system cannot handle them. Choose accounting software that can process multiple payments and track different payment methods through a single consolidated receivables file available each day.
By selecting a centralized, multi-faceted software solution, you can maintain accurate AP and AR records. Deliver a seamless user experience to your boards and homeowners and empower your association management company to scale profitably.
Association Board Reporting
Association board reports are central to the success of your association management company. These reports help you oversee the financial underpinnings of your entire association portfolio. They also help your managers reassure their clients that they are doing everything they can to help the associations thrive.
If reports are inaccurate or incomplete, your board members and managers may have difficulty identifying association strengths and weaknesses.
Whether your company uses manual processes or accounting software to create reports and financial statements, errors are hard to avoid. Still, even one tiny mistake can lead to costly problems for your association management business.
Boost Decision-Making Power With Timely, Precise, Compliant Reports
Precise financial reports will help you make better business decisions at the portfolio level. Furthermore, to satisfy their responsibilities, your association board members need financial information that is timely, accurate, and compliant.
Ensure Reports Are Timely
Initiating month-end financials and board packages promptly for each association in your portfolio is challenging for your accounting team. Of course, this part of the job only gets harder as the portfolio grows.
Gathering data from various platforms or software programs to compile into a usable report for your boards can take extra days or even weeks.
Software that reconciles your client accounts daily gives your boards improved financial visibility and faster monthly packages. Board reports are available within days of month’s end.
Timely reports give you and your team members an accurate update on the financial health of your portfolio. This allows you to monitor board satisfaction and safeguard association retention. Additionally, it gives insight into the profitability of your existing associations and company growth potential.
Reporting Accuracy Is Critical
Logging into multiple platforms to complete daily accounting tasks and month-end reporting is frustrating and inefficient. It can also lead to mistakes. Manual data input, or logging into various platforms, can increase accounting inaccuracies. The more programs and systems your association accountants log into, the higher the chance for data-entry errors.
Centralized cloud-based accounting software employs automation to minimize manual work to increase your entire team’s accuracy and efficiency. Banking data is pulled into the accounting platform automatically for daily reconciliations.
Furthermore, accessing reporting data on one centralized system enables data to be imported easily, reduces manual entry, and improves the timeliness and accuracy of your company’s financials. This allows you to make better business decisions.
Financial Reports Must Be Compliant
Your associations’ reports need to represent your boards’ actual financial picture to your managers and external stakeholders. Critical to this is to be sure they follow Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) or other relevant standards.
GAAP endeavors to regulate and standardize accounting methods across non-profit and for-profit industries. Standardized statements make it easier for board members to understand the reports and potential investors to analyze and glean useful information. They also prepare your associations in case of an audit.
To streamline your reports and ensure they are GAAP compliant, use specialized association accounting software. A cloud-based system helps your team organize and prepare your associations’ financial statements. It has the additional benefit of customizing month-end financial reports and board packages for each of your associations.
Increase Financial Visibility With Multiple Reports
To retain associations and grow your portfolio, you must be financially transparent and provide board reports on which your clients can depend. The following are common yet vital reports association management companies should be supplying to their boards.
Comparative Income and Expense Report
A comparative income and expense report provides monthly and year-to-date data alongside the current year’s budget. This allows each of your associations’ boards to see whether actual income and expenses are meeting projections. If not, they may decide to adjust specific categories of next year’s budget based on your report’s financial information.
The balance sheet provides a monthly snapshot of the associations in your portfolio. It is also one of the most critical parts of a board package. Include all assets, liabilities, and reserve funds so that your associations’ boards know how much money is available at any given time. This can assist boards in making decisions about future projects and capital repairs.
Project Status Report
At some point, every association will have to undertake projects to repair, upgrade, or add to its infrastructure. Project status reports give the board updates on each project’s progress. The details will vary according to project specifics but could include project bids, expenditure breakdowns, and the estimated completion date.
Aged Delinquency Report
Some homeowners will undoubtedly be late when paying their association dues and fees. The aged delinquency report provides overdue payment information to the board, including homeowner names, fee categories, and how far behind each account is. Using this data, your association boards can decide what additional collection action to take if any.
Bank Reconciliation Report
A monthly bank reconciliation report presents individual transactions for each deposit to or withdrawal from your associations’ financial accounts. Your boards will be able to see the details of day-to-day activity throughout the past month. They may also request access to banking activity throughout the month, so look for a system that includes integrated real-time banking updates and monthly reports.
Today, transferring funds, paying bills, and making deposits have become commonplace among mobile device and computer users.
For businesses, next-level financial service includes integrated banking. Integrated banking features significant accounting efficiencies, cutting down on time, stress, and wasted resources.
Despite this, integrated banking services may not come with your association accounting software. Software companies that do offer integrated banking may lack relevant features like banking reconciliation.
Why is Integrated Banking Important?
Without banking and accounting software integration, your team is likely to do accounting on internal software platforms and banking on a completely separate bank-specific platform.
This can be logistically vexing because your accountants must log in and out of different websites. They encounter further difficulties performing banking tasks like transferring funds between accounts, and reconciling bank statements with payments and receivables across multiple platforms. This can lead to unnecessary back and forth, tedious manual entries, and general inefficiencies.
Cloud-based software with integrated banking features bridges the gap between accounting and finance. This innovative solution saves your accountants time, preserves your company’s bottom line, and improves financial visibility. Give your association management business limitless scalability with integrated banking and accounting on one centralized platform.
Integrated Banking Features
Basic accounting software may have been sufficient when your company managed one or two associations. Now that your portfolio has expanded and continues to grow, you need software to keep up with your business.
Cloud-based accounting software with integrated banking significantly streamlines your operation through features including:
- Centralized banking and accounting — Centralized banking and accounting automatically imports bank account balances onto your accounting system platform.
- Simplified receivables — Homeowner payments can be deposited directly into appropriate accounts, while online payment portals further simplify this process.
- Automatic reconciliation — Automatic reconciliation and posted interest transactions give boards quicker access to their monthly reports at month’s end.
- Real-time transfers — Multi-site account management allows seamless real-time transfers across accounts.
- Lockbox services — Lockbox services incorporate a dedicated processing team that matches 99% of payments to homeowners.
- Fraud prevention — Integrated banking also includes positive pay fraud protection, which protects your company from loss or liability.
When it is time to consider an accounting software service with integrated banking, ensure it has strong bank relationships and incorporates daily reconciliation. Deep banking integration gives your business tremendous operational efficiency, reduces employee stress, and firmly places your company on a clear path to growth.
Payments and Collections
Your associations rely on dues as their primary source of revenue. Your company relies on the financial health of its associations to succeed. To reach economies of scale profits, your company needs each of its associations to ensure its residents are paying their dues.
With already thin profit margins, your company cannot afford to lose clients due to delinquent accounts. Without homeowner assessments, your associations would fail to fulfill their duties to maintain their communities, cutting into your company’s success. It also leads to a drop in property values and a devaluation of your portfolio.
Out-of-date payment and collections methods can place undue stress on your accounting team, leading to frustration and job dissatisfaction.
Because assessments are the lifeblood of your association management company, your company must have dynamic payment and collections methods and policies in place. Creating a reliable yearly collections policy can save your company considerable trouble and time.
Understanding Payment Methods
The general method for collecting payments begins with a reminder — monthly newsletters, social media, text messages, or other ways.
Traditionally, when the deadline for dues payments arrived, homeowners sent their remittances through the mail, electronically, or using some other method. Some of your associations may have had representatives that went door to door collecting assessments.
Today, more association management companies are embracing automation as a means to collect payments and initiate collections processes. Automated electronic payment and collection platforms have distinct advantages over traditional methods, including:
- Convenience for your staff and homeowners
- Automated collections correspondence
- Real-time tracking and monitoring
- Built-in payment deadline alerts
Use a payment and collections system specifically designed to help association management company CEOs and leaders grow their business and maximize profit.
Choose an Association Accounting Platform With Payment Flexibility
The best accounting system is effective for your team and convenient for homeowners. To simplify the payment process, consider an all-in-one cloud-based software solution that offers your associations’ residents remittance options, including:
- eCheck — An eCheck is an electronic representation of a paper check. Using the software’s online form, the homeowner enters his or her bank account and routing numbers to make payments electronically.
- ACH draft — Use accounting software that incorporates real-time Automated Clearing House (ACH) draft payments. With ACH, recurring payments automatically come out of the homeowner’s bank account on the due date.
- Credit card — The accounting software you choose for your accounting team should also accept credit cards and provide real-time ledger payments.
- Paper check — To simplify paper check processing, look for a software system that offers lockbox services. Lockbox service specialists credit checks to the appropriate homeowner account. A remote capture system generates check images that your accounting team and homeowners can access later.
Your accounting software should also offer a self-service online portal and mobile app to simplify the payment process further. An online portal allows homeowners to remit dues when and where they want. The smoother the payment process is, the more likely residents are to pay on time — leaving you with satisfied boards and happy homeowners.
Look Over Your Collections Methods for Handling Delinquent Accounts
Likely, most of your associations’ governing documents spell out their collections processes. Double-check these policies to be sure they clearly cover late fees and methods for handling fee disputes. An intelligible payment and collections process is vital to keeping your associations running smoothly.
In a perfect world, your associations’ residents would submit dues payments on time. Regrettably, plenty of homeowners either fail to pay on time or deliberately default on their assessments. The following is a standard escalation process for collecting delinquent payments:
- Demand letter — This notice generally includes the amount due, interest fees, and how many days the payments are overdue.
- Payment plan — A payment plan can be put in place if the state requires it or if your management company allows it. Partial payments are better than no payments.
- Suspend privileges — If residents refuse to pay following the demand letter, your company may wish to suspend amenity access or voting rights.
- Association collection agency — Collection agencies can take away the headache associated with retrieving delinquent payments.
- File a lawsuit — Subject to state laws, your company can sue the homeowner, and dues can be garnished from their wages or bank accounts.
- Lien or Foreclosure — The COA/HOAs under your company’s management can place a priority lien on the delinquent homeowner’s property. Again, depending on your state and association’s governing documents, your association may be able to foreclose on the lien.
Modernize and Simplify Your Collections Workflows
Comprehensive accounting software offers a built-in collections module to automate communications and fee calculations. This serves to optimize the escalation and collection processes, saving your accounting team considerable time. Collections module features include:
- Streamlined communication — Allow your team to send collection letters and violation notices automatically. This diminishes payment disputes and improves how your management company communicates with residents.
- Collection agency integration — By integrating your accounting software with collection agencies, your company receives virtual updates and data on overdue accounts.
- Centralized management — Track homeowner collection letters and late fees in one place with integrated call logs. Finding information and managing workflows is easier than ever.
- Attorney access — Your associations’ collections attorneys can access your software platform directly to access real-time account information, data, and updates on delinquencies.
- Automation — Hone your collections processes by automating fee calculation, collection correspondence, and collection, and escalations based on delinquency status.
If your growth-oriented company struggles with manual payments or successful collections processes, consider implementing a multi-faceted accounting software solution. Complete with a built-in collections module and collection agency integration, managing and tracking delinquency communications and fee assessments can be easier than ever.
Board Relationship Management
Board relationship management yields rewards for both sides. Building and fostering relationships underpins client appreciation for your company and its services and increases brand loyalty. Associations who feel you are responsive to their needs will likely continue to use your company’s services. This is vital for association retention and helping your business run smoothly.
Furthermore, when your company gains a reputation for responsiveness and hands-on involvement, it can lead to new client acquisitions, helping you grow your portfolio.
Board Relationship Pain Points
The health of every association management company relies on its relationship with its boards. You and your management team should identify pain points your company and association boards may be experiencing — before they escalate into costly issues.
Association management company pain points may include:
- Producing timely financial reports for each of your boards every month
- Fielding financial status questions from each of your boards
- Retaining associations
- Maintaining board satisfaction
Your boards may experience the following pain points:
- Insufficient financial transparency
- Delayed monthly reports
- Lack of confidence relative to financial decisions and status
- Inability to receive speedy responses or resolutions to issues, questions, and concerns
All of these issues can lead your clients to feel they are receiving poor service from your company. This may hurt your company’s association retention, brand, and bottom line.
Fortunately, there is multi-faceted association management software available to help you manage your board relationship.
Association Management Software to Improve Board Relationships
Cloud-based software with online portals, automation, and a communication platform can help address the pain points of your association management company and of the boards you manage. Through its dynamic scalability, association management software can empower your company to maintain individualized services while managing and communicating with the growing number of boards in your portfolio.
Branded and Customizable Portals to Improve Transparency
One way to improve transparency, reduce confusion, and boost board satisfaction is to give your associations direct access to their financial data. By providing your boards a dedicated online portal, members can log in to see real-time financials and access board packages the moment they are ready.
Automated Monthly Report to Ease Board Anxiety
Automation can help ease board anxiety regarding monthly reports. Accounting software with integrated banking utilizes automated month-end reconciliation. Automated reconciliation ensures your boards consistently receive on-time monthly reports. Consistent reports translate to greater board confidence in your company.
Multi-Channel Communication Platform to Enhance Dialogue
Association software systems that offer a centralized platform with multi-channel communication can improve the dialogue with the boards you manage. Broadcast text messaging and integrated call logs allow your company to maintain and track effective and consistent board correspondence within the platform.
Relationships can be challenging. The right association management software can help your company build trust and promote a favorable relationship with the communities you manage today and tomorrow.
Homeowner Board Communications and Management
Skilled homeowner board communication takes more than new rules postings or weekly event updates. Your associations’ boards and residents depend on clear, consistent, two-way information. Board members service their residents better with a proactive commitment to keeping them informed. After all, miscommunication between homeowner boards and residents can spell trouble for the communities you manage, and ultimately your growing business.
Your board members should connect individually with their residents to demonstrate that people who personally care about them are leading their associations. Communication works best when delivered through various methods. You and your company need to ensure that homeowners have multiple opportunities to access and receive information.
Effective communication can help circumvent problems and deepen community ties. The more the associations’ residents feel heard and taken care of, the less likely they are to default on fees or want to move. With residents and association boards in harmony, your company can sidestep non-value added activities and focus on increasing profits and portfolio expansion.
For exceptional homeowner experience, board satisfaction, and association retention, your company should not merely satisfy your associations’ needs but exceed their expectations.
Encourage Your Boards to Be Transparent and Accessible
To maintain a smooth-running business, your boards should communicate to homeowners openly, often, and honestly. Speaking effectively to other board members and homeowners is essential. Therefore, each of your boards should nurture a communication strategy containing, minimally, some of the following items:
- Updating homeowners about ongoing board projects and progress
- Announce meeting agendas to residents well in advance, encouraging attendance
- Supplying homeowners with information about matters relevant to them and how the board plans to solve those issues
- Meeting minutes posted promptly
- Providing a communication method for community residents to reach board members outside of meetings
Furthermore, as part of their communication strategy, encourage your boards to decide on a:
- Point of contact — This helps community members understand where they turn first if they have a comment, question, or concern. If any of your boards lack an effective workflow, have them take some time at their next meeting to sketch one out. Once the point of contact workflow has been established, ensure it is available on the board’s website.
- Consistent voice — It is crucial that your boards each communicate with their homeowners with a singular voice. By agreeing on how to address issues and relay information, your boards can constructively interact with their communities. This voice should be consistent throughout their associations’ messaging, including websites, texts, and emails.
- Method of handling issues — At some point, there may come a time where your associations’ guidelines and bylaws conflict with an individual’s wants. When enforcing the rules, remind your board members to stay calm and remember they are working with the homeowner for a common interest. Properly document communications and phone calls to protect the association against legal actions.
For sizable associations, committees composed of resident volunteers can help the board manage its responsibilities while streamlining effective communication. Maintenance, social, newsletter, and welcome committees, for example, can take on tasks and serve as the point of contact for discussions related to their respective area.
Finally, provide your board members with the right software tools to implement their communication strategies.
Homeowner Board Communications and Management Tools
In 2019, the average HOA in the United States served over 200 residents in 76 housing units. As the owner or CEO of an association management company, your portfolio may contain dozens of HOAs and COAs this size.
Communicating with significant and potentially diverse groups of homeowners can be difficult. For your boards to form cohesive communities and effectively reach each resident, they need association management software that incorporates:
- Homeowner portals — Online portals give residents access to real-time communications and information. They increase financial transparency by providing gateways to account details like online payments, balance due, ACC correspondence, work-order status, and more.
- Document access — Provide homeowners and board members with instant access to an organized and secure database of association documents. These may include CC&Rs, bylaws, board meeting agendas or minutes, and community financial reports.
- Heightened board, homeowners, and manager communication — Dialogue among all parties is crucial to homeowner satisfaction and functioning businesses. Association software can give residents a means to submit questions and receive timely responses from management and board members.
- A centralized management platform — Organized workflows empower your managers and board to respond effectively to homeowner issues that could otherwise fall through the cracks.
- A multichannel communication platform — Your association boards should have access to multiple communication methods to ensure they reach every homeowner with updates. Methods include email, broadcast text messaging, and mobile apps. Residents are more likely to receive and respond to messages sent via their preferred method.
- A branded website — Your association management software should incorporate fully customizable websites for each association in your portfolio. Branded and individualized websites enhance community engagement and cohesiveness. This leads to improved association satisfaction and retention.
- Community message boards — Create a space where homeowners and board members can share news and discuss ideas. This serves to strengthen the sense of community and maintain ongoing communication.
A powerful cloud-based association management platform can increase transparency, improve communication, and build trust between your boards and homeowners. Smoother running HOAs and COAs makes it easier for your company to focus on next-level success.
The associations your company manages need rules to maintain community property values and thereby your investment. When someone moves into a neighborhood governed by Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs), he or she agrees to abide by the regulations established and enforced by your associations’ boards.
When a community member violates one of these rules, your property manager cites the breach and issues a penalty or a warning requiring corrective action. Without automated software, your managers must manually send out a written notice with violation photographs, calculate fines, and stay on top of violation escalations. Multiple violations from various residents only compound this task.
Give your property managers the foundation for effective violations management with powerful cloud-based association management software.
Communicate CC&Rs to Homeowners With Dedicated Portals
Ensure your managers communicate community rules and violation penalties to your associations’ residents. This can prevent violations before they happen. By utilizing association management software with a dedicated homeowner portal, association CC&Rs and other rules are accessible to residents online or through a related mobile app.
This convenient portal helps residents avoid accidental violations and disputes by ensuring they can view the most recent Declaration of CC&Rs.
Association software portals can supply homeowners and board members with direct access to violation status and information. Additionally, a built-in violations module streamlines violations management by keeping photos, communications, copies of notices, and related documents in one centralized location.
Automation Empowers Your Property Managers to Do More With Less
As your management portfolio grows, your team must take on more responsibilities. Many of these are repetitive and time-consuming duties related to violations management.
Association management software can simplify the violations management process by automating the most time-consuming chores. Automation allows your managers to oversee more communities without worrying about:
- Violation notices — Association management software with a built-in violations module can create and print violation letters, auto-filling homeowner details, and calculating applicable fees.
- Escalations — Automatically escalate violations with software that keeps track of timelines. Unresolved violations are routinely bumped to the next level of enforcement after a specified time.
- Inspection results — Inspections are often necessary to ensure CC&R compliance. Implementing association management software eliminates the need to process reports manually. Your property managers can upload the inspection report via a mobile app from the inspection site. The document is available instantly to your board on their dedicated portal.
- Monthly management reports — Generate monthly open violations lists automatically to provide your board with details and status updates for each case.
Operational transparency fosters homeowner trust. By offering homeowner portals and equipping your management team with cutting edge methods to handle violations and ACC management, your associations will be happier and run smoother.
Uniform aesthetics and pleasing views are the main reasons many people move into managed communities. Despite this, not every resident gets clearance from the Architectural Control Committee (ACC) before modifying their houses. Unsanctioned modifications can harm neighborhood property values.
The ACC is a group of volunteers appointed by an association’s board of directors to enforce the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs). ACCs meet to approve or deny requests as they relate to the CC&Rs. These meetings are crucial to ensure the neighborhood retains its uniformity, appeal, and overall property value.
The wrong shade of paint, misplaced satellite dish, or incorrect fencing material can adversely affect nearby neighbors and the entire community.
Happy homeowners with higher property values mean higher association retention. Association retention gives you traction to grow your portfolio and scale your company. As the property values increase, so does the value of your business. Presenting your property managers the tools for effective ACC management is vital to your association management company.
ACC Management Expectations and ARRs
The ACC application process is straightforward but must be detailed to ensure the committee has the information to make a knowledgeable decision. The application used to submit an ACC request is called an Architectural Review Request (ARR) form. Following board approval, this form protects the homeowner. Secondly, it permits the board to apply the CC&Rs to project requests consistently, even after the board changes membership. Items on the ARR form may include:
- Alteration type proposed
- Proposed addition purpose and type
- Materials utilized
- Paint finish or color to be used
- Drawings or plans or the work to be performed
- Contractor or installer credentials
- Permits required
- Completion schedule
Simplify ACC Management With Cloud-Based Association Software
To reduce CC&R violations and reduce ARR misunderstandings, your property managers should communicate ACC expectations to homeowners. Association management software includes homeowner portals where your managers can make ARR forms available for review.
Once the ACC reviews the application, the homeowner is informed in writing of their decision. This process usually takes up to 30 days. Features bundled with association management software can help your property managers level out the process. These features include:
- Centralized tracking — Association call logs and organizational software make ACC-related documents easy to locate. Retrieve ACC correspondence from one handy place along with collection letters, late fees, violation reports.
- Homeowner visibility — A dedicated homeowner portal and ACC screen allow residents to access ACC-related documents, submit ARR forms, and monitor the status of pending reviews.
- Community calendar — Keep ACC volunteers informed of meetings and updates through the portal’s web-based community calendar.
- Automated workflows — With association management software, ACC response letters can be automatically generated and sent to residents.
Cloud-based association management software engenders faster ACC responses and ARR issue resolutions. Give your managers the tools to improve homeowner/board correspondence, reduce misunderstandings, and keep your associations running smoothly and efficiently.
Maintenance and Work Order Management
Maintenance and work order management is another key to keeping your association running without a hitch. Managing these vital services are a large part of your property management team’s job.
Streamlining maintenance and work order management helps boost association retention and increases portfolio profitability. But how do you grow your portfolio without diminishing your brand? Managing and maintaining additional association community spaces and facilities can stretch thin your already limited resources.
What you need is a method to bring on more associations with less overhead and employee onboarding. Read on to learn about tools to help your property managers experience next-level maintenance and work order management allowing you to scale your company profitably.
Well-Defined Work Orders Are Crucial for Maintenance Management
Whether your company manages a few or a few dozen association communities, maintenance work orders should be written clearly and processed and carried out promptly.
Work orders are documents that supply pertinent information regarding maintenance jobs and outline methods for finishing those tasks. Work orders contain details including:
- Job authorization
- Job scope
- Who it is assigned to
When work orders are well prepared, they allow maintenance vendors to stay on task and complete the job thoroughly and quickly. Work orders prepared manually may cost your company time and money.
How Association Management Software Accelerates Maintenance and Work Order Management
Manually processing, preparing, and tracking multiple work orders and work orders requests take precious time and resources your property managers do not have. Managers can make errors like mis-scheduling jobs, inputting the wrong information, or losing work orders. To avoid costly mistakes, implement cloud-based association management software that simplifies maintenance and work order management.
Optimize the Work Order Process
Association management software facilitates HOA and COA work maintenance and work order management processing. Homeowners can easily submit their requests online or by using a mobile app. Your association managers can then process the maintenance requests with cloud-based work order management tools, logging and tracking the remaining workflow until maintenance completion.
Cloud-based software solutions empower your managers or site administrators to generate customized online request forms to be completed by homeowners and submitted to your managers. Your property manager can then process the request. He or she can add notes, apply status changes, add images and attachments, assign a vendor, and notify the homeowner if more information is required. The system chronologically logs every step and sets due dates and alerts for effortless follow-up.
Automate Work Order Tasks
Implement a system to automate work order tasks. Give your property managers a break and let association software handle repetitive and time-consuming jobs like scheduling, communications, billing, and status updates. This frees your team to focus on value-added activities and helps you grow your portfolio without additional staff onboarding.
Save your property managers hours each day with software that includes a work order management module to open and track work orders automatically. With increased automation, your company can prevent the work order delays and errors encountered with manual input methods.
Maintain Work Order Transparency
The work order process can be complicated, with many moving parts and multiple parties involved. From the time a work order comes in, to the job’s completion, your board and homeowners need to be aware of details like vendor scheduling, costs, and status updates.
Your staff does not have time to field homeowner calls regarding work order progress. Association software includes forward-facing online portals for association board members and homeowners to access at their convenience. They can utilize this customized portal to view work order photos, inspections, communications, and real-time status changes, centralized on one platform.
Offer Flexible Access Points
Property managers limited to accessing maintenance and work order information from their desktop computers cannot adequately perform their jobs. Empower your managers to make work order updates on site.
Invest in agile management software that includes an app accessible from mobile phones, tablets, or other smart devices. Equip your managers with cloud-based tools to write, review, and manage work orders from anywhere in the community. Uploaded photos, inspection reports, and vendor assignments are instantly available to board members and property managers.
Track Maintenance and Work Order Communication
Information travels fast in today’s world, and your association needs to keep up. If your property managers rely on voicemails or emails for work order communication, jobs may get lost.
Association portals and text messaging allow seamless dialogue between managers and board members. Integrated call logs and document organization software keep your work order correspondence in one centralized location, avoiding overlooked maintenance jobs.
Increased Employee Satisfaction
Property management companies of every size experience employee burnout. This is especially true for companies centered on growth. Property managers are requested to take on more work and manage more properties. Often this happens without the appropriate tools, infrastructure, or compensation. Thin profit margins prevent you from increasing salaries. Association management software can curb employee burnout and increase retention through automation, and features listed above.
Create Powerful Organizational Efficiency With Association Management Software
Association management software creates powerful efficiency for your organization, so you can scale your business without growing your headcount. Improve communication through web-based portals and fuel productivity through software automation. Cut costs by giving your team the tools it needs to perform maintenance and work order tasks more effectively. All of this adds up to improved association retention, a healthier bottom line, and unlimited growth.
Growth and Management
Eventually, your company will reach a point where you are ready to take on more properties and expand your profits.
If you are like most association management CEOs, owners, and leaders, you are probably thinking about ways to enhance growth and management with less. Whether it is identifying new growth opportunities, making process improvements, or building strong board relationships — to increase profits, you need to be creative.
Consider investing in cloud-based software that offers more functionality to streamline day-to-day field management and accounting activities.
Growth and Management Can Affect Priorities
Your current software may have done the job prior to growth considerations. However, as you expand, you may experience complaints regarding work orders delays. You may also hear employee feedback that your team is too small to support your growth plans. Association management software can offer significant strategic value for your growing company.
Modular, cloud-based software solutions enable your association management company to do more effectively. It efficiently handles day-to-day management, accounting, and banking operations — this way you can be certain jobs are not falling through the cracks.
Less time spent ensuring your managers are completing their tasks gives you more time to focus on growing your company.
Centralize Management Duties to Foster Growth
Employ data centralization to improve your company’s efficiency. Centralization eliminates the need to move between multiple systems and brings all of your company’s tasks and workflows onto one platform. Minimize multiple logins and provide visibility for each of your homeowners and associations in one place with dedicated online portals. Web portals give your team operational efficiencies without requiring more staff.
Automate Repetitive Tasks to Free Up Time
To boost efficiency, use association management software featuring automation. Automation cuts down on your management team’s repetitive day-to-day tasks — reduce month-end processes from several weeks to less than five business days. This frees up your staff to work on more interesting one-off projects. Empower your team with more time to think strategically and develop professionally.
Utilize Innovative Programs like CINC Capital to Enable Growth
To issue a loan, banks often require machinery, real estate, equipment, or other forms of hard collateral to provide a margin of safety. This is often difficult, if not impossible, for community associations to offer since they typically have little to no assets to pledge.
Based on this factor, banks reduce the amount they will lend for your business to purchase another association management company. CINC Capital’s unique lending program allows you to grow your business by providing capital to acquire, refinance acquisition debt, or buyout management partners.
Experience Next-Level Growth and Management
Turbocharge your association’s growth and management strategies by investing in association management software. Cut down on mundane manual tasks. Give yourself the time and freedom to build real value for your customers and to focus on realizing your vision of growth.
Financial management is pivotal to achieving your company’s organizational goals and growth objectives.
Your CFO or financial team should have a thorough understanding of how to organize, direct, plan, and control your company’s assets and liabilities. This includes the utilization and procurement of its funds, and the monitoring of operational items like accounts receivable and payable, expenditures, revenues, profitability, and cash flow.
Furthermore, to reap economies of scale benefits, your short-term cashflow goals may need to be sacrificed for your long-term objectives. For example, you might incur higher expenses this month to make a one-time investment in new technology.
Investing in Association Management Software
Association management profit margins are thin, and new technology does not often come cheap. For this reason, a one-time association management software investment may seem like a difficult decision.
Maybe you have heard multi-faceted cloud-based software can help your day-to-day business and scale your company. However, you wonder if it will create enough value and provide an acceptable ROI to justify the price. Let’s look at how association management software can help your long-term financial management goals and generate profit for your business.
Achieve Your Financial Management Goals Using Association Software
Cloud-based, integrated software can help your company capitalize on its available and potential resources with:
- Multi-level portfolio analysis — When monitoring your company’s financial health, this software can show you big-picture trends as well as individual property details. These insights provide you the information you and your team need to optimize financial management decisions for your company.
- Board package automation — Time equals money. Save your accounting team hours of repetitive work with automated financial reports ready just days after month’s end. Additionally, fast report turnaround increases board transparency and satisfaction.
- Expedited AR — Improve your day-to-day cashflow with fast, error-free deposits. Association management software allows you to accept real-time homeowner payments online and through a dedicated lockbox. Assessment invoices can be generated automatically, streamlining AR workflow from beginning to end.
- One-click AP — Request, approve, and pay vendor invoices on one centralized platform. Management software allows you to track and instantly pay your AP, so the entire process is organized and efficient.
- Cohesive banking and accounting — Fully integrated financial management software consolidates your business team’s bookkeeping, account management, and fund transfers. Use one login to control all of your company’s financial operations rather than shifting from website to website.
- Gateway to information — Ensure that your team can keep a finger on your business’s pulse. Implement a system that offers instant access to your company’s financials. Enjoy real-time transaction reconciliation, smart device access, digital account statements, and check image capture.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to financial management. Every association management company will devise strategies that align with its own particular needs and goals. If your goals include maximized growth and long-term profits, association management software solutions is an excellent investment.
Innovation in the late 1980s and early 1990s centered on advances in software. Microsoft Windows helped make computers available to the general public and business environments. Businesses utilized computers for product design, report compilations, and word processing.
In the late 1990s, the Internet linked computers together, and networking took off. Businesses began benefiting from a dramatic increase in efficiency gains, including coordinated manufacturing, distribution, and sales. As bandwidths increased, commuting and teleconferencing became effective and affordable, allowing businesses to outsource and perform jobs remotely.
Today, technology allows for scalability to help your business to grow in a profitable and controlled way. Association management companies use the Internet and cloud-based software to give their managers access to tools to streamline business activities.
Association Software Solutions for the Growth of Your Company
Software empowers management companies to operate more efficiently through platform centralization, increased automation, and vastly improved financial transparency. Communication has evolved both within the property management organization as well as with the homeowners and association boards.
When considering an effective software solution for your growing association management company, look for programs that are cloud-based, modular, automated, centralized, and scalable.
Cloud-Based Software Is More Reliable, and Helps You Grow Faster
Cloud-based software makes new releases and updates easy to deploy. According to a Deloitte study commissioned by Google, small- and medium-sized companies that leverage cloud-based technology grow 26% faster and produce 21% higher gross profits.
Modular Software Matches Your Growth Strategy
Comprehensive property management modules help your team increase productivity and efficiency. Modular software allows association management companies to configure modules to match your company’s growth strategy. Add modules like cloud accounting, association management, violations, and collections at once or in stages.
Automated Software Streamlines Repetitive Tasks
Out-of-the-box workflows streamline repetitive tasks like managing violations, assessment billing, account statements, collections, and general ledger entries. Initiating payments and requesting and tracking invoice approvals saves your accounting team significant time and leads to improved employee satisfaction.
Centralized Software Displays Your Entire Portfolio in One Place
Centralization brings all your workflows and tasks onto one platform. This ends multiple logins between banking, accounting, homeowner, and association platforms. Give your team full visibility of each residential account and each of your associations in place one. Empower your property managers and accountants to do their jobs more efficiently through centralization.
Scalable Software Lets You Increase Your Client Capacity
Multitenant SaaS software serves your entire association portfolio from an individual instance of cloud-based software with no lag. Feel confident knowing you can swiftly scale your client capacity without adding to your employee headcount. Finally, standardize yet customize your online software portals to service all of your community associations.
Software Solutions to Help You Achieve Your Business Goals
To take your management company to the next level, invest in software solutions to provide the scalability and infrastructure necessary to grow your company. Today’s association management software helps CEOs and owners do more with less. Improve scalability and profitability and reach your business goals as a company.
Scalability and Profitability
Growth and scalability go hand in hand. Scalability must accommodate growth to reach profitability. Your business must be able to withstand pressure from growth without being impeded by structure or resources. Technological advancements have made scalability more popular due to its ability to increase business efficiency and ease communication.
As your association management business increases portfolio, it can be challenging to sustain or expand profitability and efficiency levels. To grow, however, these levels will be affected for the stability of your organization.
In anticipation of growth, your company should be looking to invest in a scalable system. If your company has a flexible and scalable system in place, it can effortlessly withstand the pressure of a growing portfolio without damaging efficiency and profitability.
Leveraging Technology for Scalability
Technology and scalability are integral for well-organized growth. If the technology system you adopt can adjust to your evolving needs, it can be considered scalable. Scalable systems are set up to help you tackle increased demand and changing trends.
Technology relieves the scaling process for your business. This is because companies who leverage technology maintain reduced or no inventory. A software as a service (SaaS) approach to association management, for example, can eliminate physical files and on-site computer servers. Additionally, association management SaaS systems can be incorporated your business structure to simplify your operations even as you plan to grow.
SaaS Solutions for Scalability and Profitability
Subscription-based SaaS lowers the cost of owning your software infrastructure. Further, true multitenancy SaaS allows you to service multiple customers with a single version of cloud-based software and its supporting infrastructure. There are no user capacity constraints because SaaS solutions are engineered to take on more associations with no lag time. Multiple community platforms can be online at once, running various reports with no speed or usability impact.
With a SaaS-based association management solution, increased productivity, diminished overhead, and high management efficiency lead to profitability and improved ROI. SaaS solutions with modular systems push software scalability even further.
Scalability is vital to the success of your business and online strategy. To achieve and sustain profitability, your company needs its online system to support growth, and modular software solutions are the key.
Scale Your Business With Modular Software
Legacy software can be restrictive for the end-user. Often there is little flexibility in terms of the product you receive.
Modular systems refer to software design in which some of the components are self-contained and optional. This allows you to add modules as your company grows and configure the software for maximum profitability. All-in-one cloud-based modular software packages give you complete control and oversight of your management portfolio.
Comprehensive property management modules help you increase your business’s productivity and efficiency. Association software modules with automation take care of time-consuming, repetitive tasks so your property managers can focus on more value-added activities.
Automation Saves Your Team Time and Money
Spend more time growing your business by cutting costs, saving time, increasing capacity, and improving workflows thanks to the marvels of software automation. Using software automation helps your team work smarter, not harder. With a little bit of initial input, software automation can simplify your management team’s day and give them more time to prioritize growth.
Software modules with automation include:
- Collections — Using preset fee logic and predefined letter inputs, this module saves your accounting team valuable time by automating homeowner fee assessments and communication. This module also integrates with collections agencies to give your organization real-time updates and data on delinquent accounts.
- Violations — There are aspects of violations management that can be repetitive and time-consuming, but they need to be completed to keep things moving. Add the violations module to your association software to streamline the violations process through automation. Automate violation letters, monthly management reports, inspection results, escalations, and more.
- Work order management — The work order management module empowers your managers to coordinate and receive work orders as they are generated. This benefits cohesion and workflow for all of your properties.
- Management — The management module can help with the day-to-day operation of your business. It automates and centralizes your corporate accounting processes by billing your clients for management and ancillary (addendum) fees. It also generates profit/analysis and trend reports. Further, it provides a dashboard where you can organize and track documents and call logs.
- Accounting Services — This module gives your team the ability to create custom accounting packages tailored to your company’s requirements. Take advantage of this module to process accounts receivables, payables, automated bank reconciliations, month-end processing, and more. Integrated banking bridges the gap between your banking and accounting systems. Automatically import bank balances into your accounting system and perform banking and accounting on one platform.
- Document Imaging — Go paperless by adding the document imaging module. Your growing company can eliminate the burden and expense of a physical storage space. Documents are stored in a centralized database and attached to specific accounts, vendors, and monthly board packages.
Enjoy Scalability and Profitability With Association Management Software
For your company to be scalable, it needs to focus on upgrading your management services’ efficiency and profitability even as its workload escalates.
Invest in association management technology innovative enough to help your company weather the pressures of growth and flexible enough to scale with you. Invest in CINC Systems association management software and experience market-dominating growth.
How CINC Systems Can Help
Since becoming the first software provider to launch a completely cloud-based association management solution, CINC continues to focus heavily on product innovation. Frequent new releases and software enhancements make sure your company is always operating on the cutting edge. CINC innovation provides functionality that empowers CEOs, owner, and leaders to do more with less, giving you:
- More time for company growth
- A competitive edge
- Improved association retention
- Exceptional employee retention
- Cost-cutting without diminishing your company’s brand
More Than 15 Years of Association Management Experience
Since its 2005 launch, CINC Systems’ resolute focus on association management has allowed the company to cultivate a high level of software experience and sophistication. This knowledge shows in the design and power of its products and the commitment of its staff. CINC’s products were developed, designed, and tested from the ground up to serve all of your association management needs.
CINC Systems’ can help you win contracts over your competition and grow your company by providing:
- Easy reports — produced from automated daily reconciliations
- Financial transparency — keeps boards and homeowners informed
- Expandable modules — allows CINC to grow with you
- Portfolio management system — lets you maintain visibility across your portfolio
- Repetitive task automation — improves employee morale
- Online web portals — improves homeowner and board communication
- Automated workflows — helps your property managers work smarter
- CINC Capital — offers loans for community association business acquisitions
CINC Systems Is Committed to You
CINC is committed to the success of every association management company it brings on board. Its in-house implementation team will get your association up and running within 90 days. And even after you are up and running, CINC’s customer support team will continue providing your business unmatched service.
No matter how big your business is now, or how much you plan to expand, CINC Systems can help your association management needs. We are pleased to help you solve the biggest challenges facing your growth-oriented association management company today, and tomorrow. Complete a contact form or call (855) 943-8246 for a free consultation.