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Subject: Book Keeping for hoa
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Author Messages
GeorgeJ4
(Ohio)

Posts:5


09/08/2017 6:24 AM  
I am currently using Quick Books pro for our records. The problem is it's is far more difficult to use and I feel contains way to much needless information. Can anyone suggest to me what software I could use instead of Quick Books Pro.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:14854


09/08/2017 6:29 AM  
I use excel spreadsheets.

We used to use paper and pen.


JudyM9
(Arizona)

Posts:19


09/08/2017 8:52 AM  
Very interested in recommendations here. Intuit/Quicken has a pretty good monopoly on financial software, but they do have products which are easier to use than Quickbooks.

Quicken Home & Business
Quicken Rental Property

Check out this review. I would also contact Quicken and ask for a consultant you can describe your needs with, and also ask for trials of these two products.

https://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/80/topics/440737-quicken-home-and-business-vs-quicken-rental-property
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:14854


09/08/2017 1:42 PM  
Two things to remember when choosing any method:


1) Who owns the software/computer

2) What about those who fill the position later




With software licensing these days, it's typically not possible to move software from computer to computer.

Those who serve after may or may not be as computer literate as you are.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:7007


09/08/2017 6:34 PM  
Posted By TimB4 on 09/08/2017 1:42 PM
Two things to remember when choosing any method:


1) Who owns the software/computer

2) What about those who fill the position later




With software licensing these days, it's typically not possible to move software from computer to computer.

Those who serve after may or may not be as computer literate as you are.




All good points. Pay attention to them.

Also how complex is your association such as number of units, budget, etc.
JonathanR1
(Georgia)

Posts:49


09/09/2017 3:47 PM  
Considering the points above, have you looked at open-source/free software? I use GNUCash for my rental properties, and although I haven't really looked through it beyond being my actual ledger, it has many features for business that might go well with an HOA.
OwenS
(Tennessee)

Posts:1


09/11/2017 7:18 PM  
QuickBooks Pro is a very good package and can be moved from computer to another without problems. All information in a data file need not be completed to continue with recording transactions. I'm a Pro Adviser and am willing to answer detailed questions.
JanetB2
(Colorado)

Posts:3642


09/11/2017 8:56 PM  
We use Excel. Most all individuals will have Microsoft Office on their computer which includes Excel. Also many people know how to use Excel, so when the job is passed to another individual it is not a big deal. Potentially when you go outside those bounds (especially if self managed) you can limit the number of individuals willing to take on the position.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:1624


09/14/2017 1:05 PM  
Posted By JanetB2 on 09/11/2017 8:56 PM
We use Excel. Most all individuals will have Microsoft Office on their computer which includes Excel. Also many people know how to use Excel, so when the job is passed to another individual it is not a big deal. Potentially when you go outside those bounds (especially if self managed) you can limit the number of individuals willing to take on the position.

I seriously question whether most "individuals will have Microsoft Office on their computers". MS Office is expensive and not everyone has it. I believe it has moved to a subscription model in the last few years. If the association wanted to keep a certain number of subscriptions active and allow directors and officers access to the product(s) then that might be one possible solution. But, again, it's expensive and a business-level subscription is probably more than an individual subscription. Last I checked, Microsoft did not offer discounts to not-for-profit corporations.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:14854


09/14/2017 5:39 PM  
It is true that the newer versions of MS Office is now a subscription based program.

It is also true that MS Office was provided for free on many earlier versions of windows. Therefore, it will be an issue over time but might not be an issue now. Additionally, some of the older MS Office that you may have will still work on the latest version of windows.

JanetB2
(Colorado)

Posts:3642


09/14/2017 10:33 PM  
Posted By GenoS on 09/14/2017 1:05 PM
Posted By JanetB2 on 09/11/2017 8:56 PM
We use Excel. Most all individuals will have Microsoft Office on their computer which includes Excel. Also many people know how to use Excel, so when the job is passed to another individual it is not a big deal. Potentially when you go outside those bounds (especially if self managed) you can limit the number of individuals willing to take on the position.

I seriously question whether most "individuals will have Microsoft Office on their computers". MS Office is expensive and not everyone has it. I believe it has moved to a subscription model in the last few years. If the association wanted to keep a certain number of subscriptions active and allow directors and officers access to the product(s) then that might be one possible solution. But, again, it's expensive and a business-level subscription is probably more than an individual subscription. Last I checked, Microsoft did not offer discounts to not-for-profit corporations.


Geno ... almost everyone I know in my area has MS Office on their home computers. It runs around $99/yr basic which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook under the new subscription scenario. If you want Access and Publisher then they tend to charge a little more. Yes they have moved to a subscription model in the last few years ... LOL which is why I am glad I have hard copy of last released CD's to install on any of my computers. Their software has not changed that much over the last many years with regards to the overall programs and what they can accomplish. Most changes have been with regards to the look and feel.

LOL ... If virtually every owner in my subdivision has MS Office on their computer ... why would the HOA need to have a "business" subscription? After all each board member is an elected "VOLUNTEER" utilizing their volunteer personal equipment to handle the HOA.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:1624


09/15/2017 12:41 AM  
Posted By JanetB2 on 09/14/2017 10:33 PM
Geno ... almost everyone I know in my area has MS Office on their home computers. It runs around $99/yr basic which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook under the new subscription scenario. If you want Access and Publisher then they tend to charge a little more. Yes they have moved to a subscription model in the last few years ... LOL which is why I am glad I have hard copy of last released CD's to install on any of my computers. Their software has not changed that much over the last many years with regards to the overall programs and what they can accomplish. Most changes have been with regards to the look and feel.

LOL ... If virtually every owner in my subdivision has MS Office on their computer ... why would the HOA need to have a "business" subscription? After all each board member is an elected "VOLUNTEER" utilizing their volunteer personal equipment to handle the HOA.

Depending on the community demographics I can see where many people might have MS Office on their personal computers. But for those who don't, or those who only turn on their computers to read their email, $99 a year is an expense they're not interested in.

I, too, have the last non-subscription version of MS Office at home. Office 2010. I have found plenty of older MS Word documents (Word 2003 mainly, a few from Word 2007) that do not open cleanly in Word 2010. That damned Calibri font caused a lot of incompatibility issues between Word 2010 and earlier versions. There are fewer problems with older versions of MS Excel, but in my experience in the non-business world there are 10 MS Word users for every MS Excel user, and despite an HOA being a business I think most HOA directors and officers are not business or technical people.

What used to be included on new Windows systems for free was an abomination called MS Works whose files can not be opened by "modern" MS Office programs, say from Word '97 onward. MS Works is completely obsolete and can't even be found anywhere to download (legally).

Going the other way can be a huge pain in the neck, too. I create documents in both Word and Excel 2010 vintage that people with older versions of Office can't open unless I save it in the "old" format. It's a huge pain in the neck.

Virtually no owner in my community has MS Office on their computer other than board members and most of those have installed copies of dubious authenticity and provenance. That's why here, at least, a business subscription would make sense. I can name 3 board members right now whose terms are expiring next year and none of them will ever use MS Word or Excel again after January. Asking new board members to sign up for an annual $99 subscription to MS Office is not reasonable. Far more reasonable, I think, is for the HOA to pay that subscription for them.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:14854


09/15/2017 1:31 AM  
Of course, nothing prevents the Association from purchasing a laptop and software that goes from Treasurer to Treasurer (signed for showing model and serial numbers)
PainintheA


Posts:0


09/15/2017 12:33 PM  
For documents:

Save as .rtf (rich text format)

ALL word processing software can and will open a RTF file.



For accounting:

QuickBooks is top-o-the-line.

It can operate simply or be quite complex.

The tutorial disc is $99 and takes 1/2 - 1 hour to grasp.

It will save hour upon hour of grunt work compared to excel.

If you have your member database in excel you can import it and do EVERYTHING from QB including all your letters and violations and other paperwork.




A $300 laptop passed BOD to BOD is cheap.
PainintheA


Posts:0


09/15/2017 12:38 PM  
RTF is a text file format used by Microsoft products, such as Word and Office. RTF, or Rich Text Format, files were developed by Microsoft in 1987 for use in their products and for cross-platform document interchange. RTF is readable by most word processors. RTF files support text style formatting, as well as images within the text. RTF files can be converted into a different format by changing the formatting selection when saving the word document.




You may need to assign a file association to your 'word processing' if you have never opened an RTF.


Simply 'open with' the processor of your choice, one time or 'always'.
BillH10
(Texas)

Posts:149


09/15/2017 3:31 PM  
George, when we began using QB we looked at offerings of the local community (junior) college. It offered Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced QB classes in the evenings for a reasonable cost. I was an experienced Quicken user dating to the mid 90s, I found QB functionally similar, which helped. I had also taken Accounting and Advanced Accounting in college and knew my way around accounting principles.

The community college classes were most helpful as I had not prepared a balance sheet in many years, my last experience was before computers. I am one of the generation who literally erased holes in pencil and paper accounting spreadsheets while correcting mistakes. If you can find classes which do not cost an arm and a leg, I recommend them.

QB is a classic double entry bookkeeping system. It has its frustrations, I keep a good reference book at hand and use on line help as well.

QB can be a very powerful tool, Quicken can work as can Excel but both have their own limitations.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:6784


09/15/2017 4:33 PM  
Due to my work I can get a copy of the Newest Office for $10 (Disc or copy online). As long as I stay employed I get to keep that copy. So some employers may have special programs for certain software packages. A lot of people don't look at the "perks" of some membership/discounts they qualify for through their employer or even insurance. My former car/house insurance company had special offers for being members. One company worked for could get a 10% discount off cell phone service or even certain cars.

Wanted to mention this as it's often a forgotten resource for savings and access. Believe even had access to legal services online. There is often a variety of such programs if you look.

Former HOA President
JanetB2
(Colorado)

Posts:3642


09/16/2017 9:18 PM  
Posted By TimB4 on 09/15/2017 1:31 AM
Of course, nothing prevents the Association from purchasing a laptop and software that goes from Treasurer to Treasurer (signed for showing model and serial numbers)


Awesome idea for HOA!!! Would add that potentially any such laptop should be "REQUIRED" to be backed up monthly to potentially a Cloud system (verified by other BOD members) so that any future Treasurer could not hold the HOA "hostage" with regards the records or information by keeping said laptop and file information for any extended period of time ... YEP that is called CYA
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:14854


09/16/2017 9:30 PM  
Posted By JanetB2 on 09/16/2017 9:18 PM

Would add that potentially any such laptop should be "REQUIRED" to be backed up monthly to potentially a Cloud system (verified by other BOD members) so that any future Treasurer could not hold the HOA "hostage" with regards the records or information by keeping said laptop and file information for any extended period of time ...




Personally, I don't like "the cloud."

In my opinion, it's simply a marketing term.
It's old methodology (remember dumb terminals and servers?).
The industry wants to rent you software that you download when needed (just like dumb terminals).
The industry wants you to store your personal information on their servers (which can then be used to target advertising to you - read those terms people). That industry has been hacked before and will be hacked again.

Again, with the "cloud" one is placing their information on somebodys sever (i.e. computer) and then they have zero control over it. Yes they have access to the files, but they have zero knowledge what, if anything, was done with those files by the individual(s) who own the other computer (server).

It is far more likely that a server or a server farm that is known to store information from many individuals will be hacked before your personal computer.




TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:14854


09/16/2017 9:36 PM  
Oh, as for being held hostage - well it's an Association owned computer.
Failure to return it would be considered theft.
Call the police.


As far as backups go - we utilize thumb drives.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:1624


09/17/2017 12:24 AM  
Posted By TimB4 on 09/16/2017 9:30 PM
Personally, I don't like "the cloud."

In my opinion, it's simply a marketing term.
It's old methodology (remember dumb terminals and servers?).
The industry wants to rent you software that you download when needed (just like dumb terminals).
The industry wants you to store your personal information on their servers (which can then be used to target advertising to you - read those terms people). That industry has been hacked before and will be hacked again.

Again, with the "cloud" one is placing their information on somebodys sever (i.e. computer) and then they have zero control over it. Yes they have access to the files, but they have zero knowledge what, if anything, was done with those files by the individual(s) who own the other computer (server).

It is far more likely that a server or a server farm that is known to store information from many individuals will be hacked before your personal computer.

That's what I think about the "cloud" too, Tim. Once upon a time it used to be called offsite storage of data, often on some mainframe system somewhere. Dumb terminals were able to access the data remotely. Today the "mainframes" are server farms, and a lot of them are offshore. I don't relish the thought that this roomfull of servers in Mumbai will be hacked some day and all my private information will be revealed to nefarious types. I'd rather have it on MY machine, thank you very much.

It's definitely a marketing term. And while I can see how some useful solutions might come out of it, it's not something I want to trust my data to.

Our new secretary this year came up with the idea to scan all of our association records into electronic form. Good idea, for the most part. Then she decided (the board voted to approve all this so I can't just blame her) to store all these scanned documents "in the cloud". I opined that I thought it was a bad idea, that we should buy a low-power server and keep everything on it, making frequent backups. There's only about 500 MB of files altogether. Nope, gotta go with the cloud. So we had 7 years worth of association records scanned and then she asked me over the summer, knowing of my IT background, if I could look into some cloud solutions whereby we could grant access to our documents and records to owners online. She decided a business account with one of the cloud providers was too expensive, so now she's trying to decide how to pass on the cloud storage control and admin to future secretaries. Talk about putting the cart before the horse. I get along pretty good with her and we're on friendly terms, but I had to tell her, "I know nothing about the cloud. I avoid the cloud. I told you it was a bad idea to do this with cloud storage 8 months ago. Sorry, I can't help you."

Of course, the problem with setting up a small server in our clubhouse is you need a front end for people on the internet to connect into. A website, if you will. Who's going to maintain that 5 years down the road, even if we set up the greatest thing since sliced bread tomorrow?
JanetB2
(Colorado)

Posts:3642


09/17/2017 12:31 AM  
Posted By TimB4 on 09/16/2017 9:30 PM
Posted By JanetB2 on 09/16/2017 9:18 PM

Would add that potentially any such laptop should be "REQUIRED" to be backed up monthly to potentially a Cloud system (verified by other BOD members) so that any future Treasurer could not hold the HOA "hostage" with regards the records or information by keeping said laptop and file information for any extended period of time ...


Personally, I don't like "the cloud."

In my opinion, it's simply a marketing term.
It's old methodology (remember dumb terminals and servers?).
The industry wants to rent you software that you download when needed (just like dumb terminals).
The industry wants you to store your personal information on their servers (which can then be used to target advertising to you - read those terms people). That industry has been hacked before and will be hacked again.

Again, with the "cloud" one is placing their information on somebodys sever (i.e. computer) and then they have zero control over it. Yes they have access to the files, but they have zero knowledge what, if anything, was done with those files by the individual(s) who own the other computer (server).

It is far more likely that a server or a server farm that is known to store information from many individuals will be hacked before your personal computer.



Really Tim??? ... I do not PAY or RENT anything and have FREE access to a certain amount of space on "Cloud", "One Drive", "Drop Box", etc. With the MANY, MANY, MANY files I have ran through those services and I have not had any issues ... LOL potentially these are no longer considered "dumb terminals" as noted in OLD metholodgy. YES ... I remember the OLD methodologies, but times have changed and I am not sure you have kept up with the changes. However, I would contend that if a backup is done to to a "flash drive" (if smaller hoa with few files) or separate remote "hard drive" (for HOA with large files) that is also an option.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:1624


09/17/2017 1:40 AM  
Please remember, Janet, that that cloud storage is not free. When an online service is offered for free, then YOU are the product being sold and the actual customer is somebody else. That the information will eventually be compromised is not an if, it's a when, as so aptly demonstrated by Equifax last week.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:14854


09/17/2017 5:36 AM  
Posted By JanetB2 on 09/17/2017 12:31 AM
LOL potentially these are no longer considered "dumb terminals" as noted in OLD metholodgy. YES ... I remember the OLD methodologies, but times have changed and I am not sure you have kept up with the changes.




I've kept up with the changes. In broadcasting everything is done by computers, servers, etc.
My job is to keep them running. Hence my opinion of what they really are is based on first hand knowledge.

Per businessdictionary.com

Dumb terminals have no 'intelligence' (data processing or number crunching power) and depend entirely on the computer (to which they are connected) for computations, data storage, and retrieval.

The only difference is the fact that the terminals used for cloud storage has a processor.
However, data storage and retrieval are "in the cloud" (i.e. on someone elses computer).

But lets call them smart terminals.

Either way, in my opinion, the cloud is simply a marketing term to encourage individuals to store their personal data on a computer not your own and give up some rights to the privacy aspect of that data.

Of course, privacy today is far different then privacy a few decades ago.

JanetB2
(Colorado)

Posts:3642


09/18/2017 7:28 PM  
It is essentially disk storage space on a separate server from the HOA computer or server. HOA's unlike Equifax are not storing such data as individuals Social Security Numbers. Yes I do also use Thumb/Pen/Flash drives and also other small (but larger) separate USB connected hard drives. However, if a copy of records is kept on a separate server it will serve a good purpose of the HOA cannot be held hostage by any individual refusing to turn over documents ... as long as most recent documents has been properly backed up to a place all other BOD members can access. Sorry ... I do not like the idea of being held hostage and the potential legal cost involved.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:14854


09/18/2017 7:42 PM  
And I prefer to know what happens to the data that is stored.
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