By: Digital Communications Committee Member, Joe Tasic – PSI Management
When it comes to community association management, one of the most important factors to be considered is the software a management company uses. This is true whether you are the management company itself, the client association board or homeowner, or even a contractor completing work at a community. So, how can you be sure that the property management software you’ve chosen is the right fit for you? There are innumerable factors to consider but among the most important are: accountability and transparency, available features, and software support.
Arguably the most important factor is how transparent the software is. Does it show full detail to board members, homeowners, the manager and their team, and contractors? In this day and age, “paper trails” are crucial to the successful management of a community. We all know the customer is always right. But, what about when they are not? Situations where one party is saying one thing and the other party saying something different highlight the importance of being able to track all steps taken for any issue or inquiry in a community association. In some cases, having the “paper trail” can even be relevant in a court of law. It is also important to have this transparency accessible to both parties. This allows board members to build trust in their managing agents and, generally, for all parties involved to build trust in one another. In an industry like community association management, trust, and anything that allows relationships to be built on a solid foundation, is key.
Of course, having software that runs the gamut of available features is an excellent idea too. Management of a community association requires several areas of expertise. From accounting and collections to maintenance and proposal tracking, having fewer pieces of software to do it all goes a long way in staying organized and on track. Having a “one stop shop” for homeowners and board members by way of a portal is also very important. Everyone wants to be able to access information instantaneously and having an easily accessible portal is what allows them to do that. For homeowners it means being able to make payments, check the status of work orders, or seeing if that fine was removed like the board told them it would be, just to name a few. For board members it means being able to see everything going on between management and homeowners. Whether it be work orders, violations, ARC requests, collections, or any sort of communication, having software with access to all of these features also boosts accountability and transparency, further improving the relationship.
Having great software is one thing, but everyone knows what it is like to be on the phone trying to get something done but the software just will not cooperate. This holds everything up and only serves to create frustration for everyone involved. This is why having access to top tier support for your software is crucial. No one ever wants to be in a position where they are waiting weeks for a resolution to their problem. They want an answer, and they want it quickly. Not to mention how important it is that the answer be correct the first time. Of course, it is not realistic for everything to be working all the time and for every fix to be perfect. Despite what many people think, even the software support people are only human. At the end of the day, getting it right on the first try nine times out of ten is not that bad.
Having the right software to manage communities is critical. It should be transparent and hold everyone accountable while having plenty of features to make everyone’s lives easier. There should also be high quality support backing it up to make sure that, when there inevitably are problems, they can be resolved efficiently. Any property management software worth its salt should be able to check off all these boxes. The question you must ask yourself now is, does yours?