Technology has revolutionized the way we work. This is as true for homeowner’s associations as it is for most other organizations. HOAs have ultimate responsibility in the communities they serve, and they must stay organized to build a thriving community.
Many association managers are utilizing HOA management software to save time, costs, and improve the experience for both owners and board members. The specific HOA accounting software features they need may differ depending on the size of the communities they manage or if they self-manage. Even so, there are a few features that surface fairly often, across the board with software vendors. These features are must-haves for HOA boards searching for an HOA accounting software platform.
HOA Member Portal
It makes sense that HOA management tools should work well for managers, but what about other members? Member portals make it possible for homeowners to sign in, make payments, and view their payment history. They may also check social calendars, download important documents, submit architectural and maintenance requests, and ask questions or communicate with management.
Through their member portal, they can access anything they need regarding their HOA.
Physically visiting a bank branch or delivering a check in person or through the mail takes time that many homeowners simply don’t have. Many residents may not work typical hours and may be unavailable during the working day. Collecting their dues can prove meticulous for these homeowners and for the HOA, resulting in low collection rates, late fees, lost time, and dissatisfaction.
Online payments allow residents to make payments in an instant, from anywhere—while they’re on vacation, on a business trip, or wherever. PayHOA makes online payments even more convenient by allowing homeowners to enroll in auto-pay, so they never miss a dues payment.
Monthly dues aren’t the only sources of income for HOAs. Associations also make a good deal of income from fining members who violate the rules. Even when HOAs have no intention of generating income, rules exist for a reason. So, whatever your motivation for putting them in place, being able to track progress in the enforcement of those rules when broken can prove helpful.
Violations can be the worst part of self-managing your HOA. No one wants to be the bad guy. HOA accounting software lets you issue violations from within the platform, depersonalizing the citation and making it easier for the resident to pay their fine. Your platform may even offer violations templates ready-made inside the system.
Sometimes, a community’s HOA is managed by a third party, usually an association management company or property management company. When this happens, managing the multiple communities can become complex. HOA accounting software that makes allowances for multiple properties can help HOA and property management companies run an efficient business with lower costs. Increased organization and time savings from using software designed for HOA management companies benefits both the association management company and the association property owners. Whether it’s two neighborhood associations or 100 COAs, any association management company can benefit from this type of software.
Homeowners living in detached single-family properties and townhomes may not make many personal maintenance requests, while condo owners usually expect more out of their HOA in handling maintenance concerns like plumbing and central air. When you add maintenance for amenities and shared spaces like community pools and fitness centers, managing maintenance requests can become even more complicated.
Even for the simplest communities, it’s impractical to keep track of maintenance requests by paper or in a spreadsheet. HOA accounting software can simplify maintenance requests by allowing residents to submit requests through their member portal. Inside the platform, maintenance requests are automatically stored and tracked, so they can be fulfilled in a timely manner and keep homeowners satisfied.
Communication and transparency go hand in hand, yet self-managed HOAs often come under fire for failure to communicate in a timely manner. Homeowners want to know the status of their maintenance requests and they want to know how their dues are helping the neighborhood.
Communication tools make it possible for HOA managers to set up platforms quite similar to what marketing managers use. These may include text reminders, surveys, social calendars, past-due notices and physical mail All of these tools and more can help HOAs create a seamless communications plan that exceeds community expectations.
Keeping track of revenue and expenses is one of the most difficult tasks that HOAs undertake. The HOA accounting structure is unique, and isn’t best served by a general accounting software like QuickBooks. An HOA accounting software platform eliminates many complications imposed by accounting software built for businesses and individuals.
Automating the process not only reduces time checking receipts and updating accounts, but it also helps increase the accuracy. Additionally, automated accounting can make transparency more possible. Many HOAs disclose budgets and balance sheets to show how they allocated community funds throughout the year. Automation usually requires syncing with a specific bank account.
Reporting and Online Document Storage
Most people understand numbers better when presented as images and graphs. This is why so many HOA managers want software features that generate graphs. These visuals can help them see how the HOA is doing at a glance and decide what needs their most urgent attention. When presenting information to other members, in the name of transparency, it also makes it easier for them to identify successes and problem spots.
Being able to handle work remotely increases the efficiency of volunteers. It also makes it easier to hire administrative staff. Because of this need, many HOAs want software platforms that operate in the cloud. Cloud computing also makes it easy to collaborate on projects and share important files. In some cases, homeowners may want to be able to access files online, such as the community rules or advice on how to access amenities after hours.
It’s one thing to have all of these features, but to have them all on one platform is even better. HOA volunteers can increase efficiency by eliminating the time they spend switching between apps. Centralized dashboards also reduce how many different apps and websites members need to keep track of when they need information or assistance. Finally, they create a quick snapshot of annual progress.
Harnessing the power of software allows HOAs to save a lot of money they would otherwise spend on labor and lose on missed opportunities. So, naturally, they must be expensive. In some cases, they certainly are. However, some HOA software vendors offer great service starting at $40 per month.