With the rapid growth of technology, software has made many things easier for property managers. Property managers already have a lot going on with their associations. The last thing they need to worry about is searching through their computer to find that one spreadsheet or a file folder to find that one vendor contract that can’t seem to locate.
While generic accounting programs have their place, they can be very burdensome for managers. Searching through files and spreadsheets to get information wastes valuable time. Today, there are software solutions in place to help managers streamline their daily activities and accounting operations. Having a software system like is a MUST for any company to be able to keep up with their competition. There are several things to consider when looking for software.
Accounting – this is a vital piece of the puzzle. The ideal accounting system will adhere to GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) and the practice of accrual accounting. The software must also be able to produce financial statements with ease. Although many software programs offer options for cash basis accounting, it’s important to note that accrual is the only GAAP preferred method. Accrual accounting also offers many advantages to cash basis and allows homeowners associations to see the “bigger picture” when it comes to their financial health.
Bank integration – Modern banking allows people to take advantage of ACH / Direct Debit and Lockbox services. The ideal software will also support these features to help your company automate the accounts receivable process. Does your accounting software adhere to NACHA standards and produce ACH files that can be uploaded directly to your bank? Can your software support lockbox and download lockbox posting files from the bank?
Management Activities – It’s easy to get overwhelmed when trying to track violations, maintenance issues, delinquent accounts, architectural requests. These are all basic day-to-day tasks in the management industry, but it becomes very difficult when all of this information is spread across various spreadsheets and software programs. Your property management software solution must be able to support all of these functions easily and keep your information organized in a user friendly manner.
User Friendliness – This is very important for management companies. While there are many different programs on the market today, many of them have a steep learning curve which translates into higher support costs and longer implementation times. Some software companies require their “specialists” to fly out for training and installation, all at the expense of the new client. Is your new system easy to setup? Is it easy to learn and easy to use? Talk to your software company about these questions and request a demo trial of the software. If the demo seems complicated, the “real” version won’t be any different.
There are many factors that go into finding the right software solution. It’s important to review your needs as a management company to determine the best fit. However, the four points above are very important items to consider during your review process.