HOA accounting software is designed specifically for homeowners associations. HOA software is unique from general accounting software; it helps HOAs manage their finances and perform other management tasks for the units in their communities. Some key features include automated bulk billing, invoicing per unit, tracking violations and maintenance requests, and the ability for homeowners to pay dues online and access other community resources.
Specific Software Tools for Specific Accounting Needs
HOA boards often use general bookkeeping software like QuickBooks or Xero, or they may use even more basic tools like spreadsheets and paper ledgers.
However, traditional accounting tools like QuickBooks are rarely adaptable to the unique needs of an HOA, making the process more time-consuming and more susceptible to mistakes. Also, constantly switching between apps or documents makes for a disjointed approach to an HOA's financial management. At the end of the day, a lack of centralization and consistency will only frustrate board members and homeowners.
For a board seeking to avoid these frustrations, the next logical step is investing in HOA accounting software. But how do you make an informed decision? How will your software help you achieve better outcomes for your community? To answer these questions, it's important to know what software features are most useful for your accounting and management needs. Even better, you may sign up for a free trial to see first hand how HOA accounting software can streamline your HOA.
HOA Accounting Software Streamlines Day-to-Day Operations
Even in a relatively small communities, HOAs juggle a lot of responsibility. HOAs must invoice homeowners, collect and manage dues and fees, pay vendors, perform maintenance and other upkeep tasks as part of their daily operations.
General accounting software may not offer features that facilitate these tasks.
For instance, many traditional accounting platforms allow you to track revenue and expenses and invoice individuals or other businesses, but they aren't designed for bulk billing or invoicing specific units or homes within the community. HOA accounting software is specifically geared for the structure of an HOA.
A comprehensive HOA accounting software lets you collect dues and fees electronically and deposit directly into the association's bank account—no more time wasted collecting and depositing paper checks. This leads to improved collection rates and provides a more efficient payment process for everyone in the community.
Software platforms designed for HOAs will also offer other features tied to management needs, such as:
- Tracking maintenance requests
- Generating accounting reports
- Homeowner portals for payments, community calendars and alerts, and submitting requests
- Tracking violation enforcement
- Data storage and reporting
- Robust communication tools like mass text, voicemail, and physical mail capability
- Ability to manage multiple properties from one account
- Remote access
- Templates for violations, requests, and other documents
- Knowledgeable HOA customer support
HOA Accounting Software Should Empower Self-Management
Volunteer board members in a self-managed HOA aren't always seasoned accounting experts. They may also divide their time between managing the HOA and other responsibilities.
HOA accounting software can offer automation and accessibility features tailored to a self-managed homeowners association's needs.
The right software allows you to sync ledgers with your association's banking institution. Managers can also benefit from the ability to automate and customize accounting data, as well as enable quick and easy access to documents, maintenance history, communications, and payment history for each unit, all in one central hub.
Volunteer board members fulfill their HOA duties around work and family obligations. They likely won't be available 24/7 to field communications from homeowners. HOA accounting software removes the demand for a volunteer to be "on call" at all times, while still allowing homeowners to send communications whenever they want.
Self-Management Accessibility and Communication
To keep homeowners happy, phone calls and emails must be returned on time. An HOA management platform allows homeowners to communicate requests, questions, and suggestions to management from anywhere, at any time.
Likewise, volunteer managers have the ability to work remotely during hours they're available and seamlessly communicate with residents.
Communication tools allow managers to get in touch with individual residents or send important community updates using mass or automated messaging.
For example, software can allow managers to send:
- Text message alerts
- Pre-recorded phone calls
- Updates to the community calendar
- Community updates sent through the homeowner's portal
They can also send invoices or other documents electronically or physical copies via USPS using software automation.
Easy access to information and communication keeps residents on the same page with their HOA board, so volunteers spend less time fielding phone calls and more time maintaining and improving their neighborhoods.
HOA Accounting Software Should Enhance Transparency
Residents and other stakeholders expect transparency when it comes to how an HOA manages their money. It's important to illustrate community finances clearly and consistently. You can't achieve this with disorganized bookkeeping or substandard accounting tools.
Accounting software for HOAs addresses the need for transparency in a platform that is intuitive for volunteers and for homeowners.
Even if you're not an expert, building a budget is easy using HOA software. By tracking payments, an HOA platform can more accurately forecast income and expenses through ready-made reports. You can access charts to compare your budget to current accounting data. You can also prepare charts and reports of your accounts for community access.
Residents or other stakeholders may want to view board minutes and other documents or data. This information can also be centrally stored and easily accessed using the right software.
HOA Accounting Software Should Reduce Risk
Disorganized HOA management can lead to increased risk and potential liability issues. All HOA board must build a proper risk management strategy. HOA software can play a crucial role in creating consistency, organization, and transparency that reduces risk.
Some common ways an HOA can reduce risk include:
- Budgeting for comprehensive liability insurance and potential losses
- Budgeting for security measures
- Security assessments
- Fencing and cameras
- Meeting building ordinances and other compliance requirements to prevent accidents or injuries on the property
- Hiring a third-party security firm
- Communicating with homeowners about reducing the insurance gap on their homes
- Transparent record keeping to maintain the association's reputation
- Streamlined, consistent collection of dues and fees to cover operating costs
- Monitoring maintenance, repairs, and upgrades to reduce risk in the community
Easily accessible and consistent, centralized accounting and record keeping creates a complete management timeline. This helps the board recognize potential risks and shore up risk management strategies.
HOA Accounting Software Should Make Homeowners Happier
HOA accounting software distinguishes itself by offering homeowners more accessibility. Most accounting tools are merely transactional in nature. But HOA software offers residents a unique level of connectivity.
Homeowners can access their personalized accounts to make and track payments, get updates about the community, send requests and communications, and even keep in touch with one another through a shared message board.
Useful features for homeowners include:
- Schedule automatic payments
- Track their payments and account histories
- Pay dues or access their account remotely during non-business hours
- Customize a unique profile
- Access important documents
- Send and track maintenance requests
- Complete surveys and vote electronically
- Communicate directly with property managers
- View important community updates and an events calendar
Ideally, HOA software should help build a productive dialogue with homeowners. This makes your residents' lives easier, allowing an HOA to do a better job and provide more value.
No two HOAs or their communities are exactly alike. Each neighborhood has its own unique qualities, challenges, and people.
The right HOA accounting software shouldn't offer cookie-cutter solutions. On the contrary—a premium HOA software platform should bring consistency to what's working and help eliminate what isn't.
HOA accounting software can make managing finances and other aspects of the community easier, more consistent, more intuitive, and more transparent, with less risk and more immediate value for homeowners.
Hiring a third-party property manager can come at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars per year. Software is a cost-effective and worthwhile alternative for self-managed HOAs. Many platforms allow associations to try them out for a risk-free trial, a great opportunity to find the best software for your community.
As an HOA manager, PayHOA offers you an all-in-one software platform to replace all those fragmented tools, so accounting, communications, payments, documents, violations, and owner requests can all live in one place. PayHOA is the single portal where you can connect directly with the needs of your homeowners. Your residents can use PayHOA to make online payments, view their payment history and important documents, submit requests, and access important updates, streamlining management for your whole community. Try a 30-day free trial today or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.