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Subject: Self governing software?
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Author Messages
DennisG7
(Georgia)

Posts:108


12/30/2019 6:31 AM  
We are exploring the possibility of going to a self governed HOA. We have 189 homes with annual dues of $525. A lot of complaints regarding the current management company. As we look at alternatives we are also considering turning to self governing. Does anyone have any information on software or sources we might look at if we decide to do this? Financial, dues collections, etc. Right now we are just talking about it and hope to decide after we talk with other management companies and look at the self governed option. Thanks
Dennis G7
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9444


12/30/2019 6:39 AM  
We just had an accounting firm. Which may fulfill yoir needs other than a full on MC.

Former HOA President
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3343


12/30/2019 6:56 AM  
It would probably be easier to simply Google HOA management software and start making your inquiries.

That said, you should know self governing isn't as easy as you may think. It's not that it can't be done, because there are communities who have been very sucessful. On the other hand, you will need to have people who are willing to put in the time, and although you may have people willing to do it now, what happens when they step down (and they will step down, sooner or later).

You may also and to look around to see if there are any self governing HOW's in your community and talk to some of those board members to see what issues they've had and how they were addressed. Take a good look at your documents to consider what you'll have to Keep track of (reviewing the current management company contract will also give you some insight).

Then you may want to hold a special homeowner meeting to discuss the community's options and who would be willing to work with the board in running the association. Depending on what your community needs are, I suspect you may need more that 5,7 or however many board members you have to handle all of this by themselves.

Hopefully other posters who live or have lived in self-governed communities will tell you about their experiences. Long before I moved into my community, it was self governed after the the developer turned the community over. It became too much for the board to handle (and there were nine of them at the time) so they went through 3 or 4 management companies before we found our current one (who they hired a year or so before I moved in).
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:1116


12/30/2019 7:33 AM  
I agree with Sheila. Self-managing can work well for the right communities, but it requires a wide range of skills, and you have no guarantee that you will have, or continue to have, those skills available.

Even the best software will not take the place of people who know what they're doing (unless you have full blown AI). It simply automates a lot of your processes, and the person using the software will need to understand how to use it - otherwise you'll end up with automated missteps.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2890


12/30/2019 8:28 AM  
I think there are web based approaches that provide the site, tools, etc for everything - notifications, billing, payment, data archives, automated mail out of hard copy documents, etc.

I would find this better than renting Quickbooks or trying to it in excel ... unless, it is a very, very basic association.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9444


12/30/2019 9:56 AM  
Self-management does work in the right environment. For us, we just used an accounting service to collect and manage our funds. Also they were the POC to gather notices from owners to us. We the board actually managed and made people adhere to the rules etc.

It may be that your HOA needs to re-evaluate it's relationship with an MC. A MC works for the HOA. Not the other way around. Many HOA's hire MC's to handle the HOA business for various reasons. Which may be a good thing or cripple the HOA. Your board would really need specific skills to make things work. Which only requirement to be on the board is to be an owner. So to find a skillset for HOA board duties may not necessarily exist.

So evaluate what you want an MC to do or what you want your HOA board to do. Maybe find compromise without all the extra expense/work. A MC may be as simple or complex as the HOA wants it to be.

Former HOA President
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9660


12/30/2019 12:12 PM  
Dennis
If you have no amenities and some really dedicated people, self management might work for you. The biggest hassle will be collections and payments. One could use a bank lock box for collections and a bookkeeper to do the rest.

I would begin by making a list of your present MC's duties and decide if the HOA association can take them on. Depending on your MC's duties you might also consider cutting them back and having several MC's quote, including your present one.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2890


12/30/2019 12:41 PM  
Integrating functions and having them accessible from anywhere, anytime - and, not being captive - would be my goal - assuming the numbers were large enough. 189 units is probably large enough.

If your state requires a website, or if you have one already, I would consider combining functions ... here's a quick rundown of options ... don't know any of them, though. https://www.capterra.com/hoa-software/
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3916


12/30/2019 1:32 PM  
Having experienced life in a self-managed HOA for the past 5 years, I would generally advise against it. Too much can go wrong and slip between the cracks with boards that, quite frankly, have no business running a business of any kind.

However, for an association with an annual budget of less than $100,000, it might be possible to get it right without too much confusion. Excel and Quickbooks could be all you need. I think the exact tools you choose are less important than the people who use those tools and their ability to do so effectively.
MarkW18


Posts:1289


12/30/2019 2:05 PM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 12/30/2019 12:41 PM
Integrating functions and having them accessible from anywhere, anytime - and, not being captive - would be my goal - assuming the numbers were large enough. 189 units is probably large enough.

If your state requires a website, or if you have one already, I would consider combining functions ... here's a quick rundown of options ... don't know any of them, though. https://www.capterra.com/hoa-software/


it really sounds like you don't know a whole lot about HOA's, now do you?
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2890


12/30/2019 2:13 PM  
Well, I thought I did ...

Help me, Mark ... show me the way!
EdC5
(Florida)

Posts:116


01/03/2020 7:08 AM  
As a CAM I echo your sentiment. Some of the most difficult associations I've taken over have been self-managed. They, typically, aren't versed in the requirements of the statutes and administrative law; and, tend to do what they want because "well, we did what we thought was right, but, no, we didn't check chapter XXX (718, 719, 720, etc.).

Edward J Cooke, CMCA, LCAM
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9660


01/03/2020 9:08 AM  
Self management can definitely work under the right circumstances. The #1 thing will be one or two people willing to do the work. This is what would stop my HOA from doing so and with 112 owners, budget of $100K and no amenities, we would be the ideal candidate for self management if we had some people willing to do the work.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2890


01/03/2020 9:45 AM  
MarkW,

I'm still waiting for further info on what you didn't like about my post.

I thought I knew there were companies that provide not only the web portal - either via your previously held URL, following transfer from the currently holder - but, also provide an overlay of accounting, payment and tracking capability so the processes can be managed by a single HOA/COA administrator, or even by a property manager.

That was the purpose of my post. While I don't use this sort of system myself, I thought it was commercially available.

Is this not possible?
HansE
(California)

Posts:9


01/08/2020 11:39 AM  
Hello,

This may sound a bit biased (I am a certified ProAdviser) but I would say use QB online plus. You will be able to (with some small exceptions) automate collections vendor invoicing, recurring payments ect. I would also suggest looking for a ProAdviser in your area to help set you up.

One quick question though what software is your current MGMT company using? If it's already QB (which there is a 50/50 chance it is) then the transfer would be really simple.

Hope that helps.
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:350


01/08/2020 12:24 PM  
Depending on the complexity of the HOA QB may or may not not be a good fit.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3987


01/08/2020 12:40 PM  
Posted By HansE on 01/08/2020 11:39 AM
Hello,

This may sound a bit biased (I am a certified ProAdviser) but I would say use QB online plus. You will be able to (with some small exceptions) automate collections vendor invoicing, recurring payments ect. I would also suggest looking for a ProAdviser in your area to help set you up.

Hi Hans.

We're self-managed. We fired a national financials-only firm for messing up our books around 3 years ago. We replaced them with the CPA firm that had been auditing our books. They are ProAdvisors for QB.

Two things about QBO that irk me.

1. Income Statement. QBO sets it up like a for-profit entity - with a line for gross profit. No cogs and no gross profit in fund accounting.

2. Homeowner Statements. We would like 2 separate columns - 1 for debits and 1 for credits. But QBO puts everything in the same column - which makes it difficult to match payments against invoices at a glance. Homeowners complain that they cannot read the statements - and we agree that it's very confusing. It's got to the point that we don't email statements unless the balance due is above a certain threshold.

Our bookkeepers haven't provided a workable solution.

Hans, Do you know any fixes for these 2 issues?

Thanks.




Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
HansE
(California)

Posts:9


01/08/2020 1:49 PM  
I will point out that QB has NPF software it's not online.

Next what are you using an income statement for? I would think you should just need a balance sheet and statement of cashflows (people put way, WAY to much importance on that). If you end up with 0 in Cogs that would be fine and it is good to make sure you are not taking in any profit; the rest you should basically ignore.

2) I'm not sure why you would need 2 columns (one for paid and on for not?).

Other then some very specific customizations I would suggest working around the following reports

Customer aging detail

You can also work in the invoice list by date report.

In both cases some customization would be required based on personal taste.

The aging report and the invoice list will get you what you ultimately need which is to verify who paid and when.

GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2890


01/08/2020 2:05 PM  
While I have never used QB ... I have seen others do so - and express their frustration at their inability to tailor it for their uses in an HOA setting. I always had the sense QB was a great piece of SW for accounting, but HOAs being run by volunteers needed something waaaaay less complicated and faaaar more flexible.

Hans' answers seem to indicate NpS was asking questions about things he doesn't need and offering workarounds.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3987


01/08/2020 3:34 PM  
Posted By HansE on 01/08/2020 1:49 PM
I will point out that QB has NPF software it's not online.

Next what are you using an income statement for? I would think you should just need a balance sheet and statement of cashflows (people put way, WAY to much importance on that). If you end up with 0 in Cogs that would be fine and it is good to make sure you are not taking in any profit; the rest you should basically ignore.

2) I'm not sure why you would need 2 columns (one for paid and on for not?).

Other then some very specific customizations I would suggest working around the following reports

Customer aging detail

You can also work in the invoice list by date report.

In both cases some customization would be required based on personal taste.

The aging report and the invoice list will get you what you ultimately need which is to verify who paid and when.

A. Not sure what NPF software is.

B. On use of income statement. It's only important if we want to comply with State law for HOAs. For example, whenever a house gets sold, we must provide a Balance Sheet and Income Statement. No State law requirement re Cash Flow Statement. As an investor, I want to see a Cash Flow Statement. But most of my fellow owners wouldn't even know what one looks like. Your solution - to just ignore certain things - is what I do. But like I said, the problem isn't with me. It's a potential problem for a homeowner who loses confidence if they're told to "just ignore that" on something they've never seen before.

C. Benefit of separate Debit and Credit columns. What I said was that it would make it easy to match payments against invoices at a glance. Here's an example. We have Monthly Fees, Quarterly Fees, Late Fees, and a few other Fees. Let's say Monthlies are $150 and Quarterlies are $50. A homeowner questions a statement. First step - Count up the number of $150 charges that are in the Debits column. Then count up the number of $150 entries in the Credits column. When there's a different number of $150 entries in the two column, then bingo - You can clearly show to Mrs. Smith that she made 9 Monthly payments instead of 10. And that kind of visual clarity would take around 2-3 minutes to demonstrate to that owner. If the problem isn't in Monthlies, then move on to Quarterlies, and count entries again. And so on. But --- a single column with pluses and minuses all mixed together is a lot harder to explain to someone who isn't comfortable with numbers to begin with.

D. I agree with George that QB is a bit clunky. But that doesn't mean that we're going to move to something else. I like the fact that I have read-only access 24/7 so we're not waiting for a monthly report in the middle of the next month to see what's going on.

E. I'm familiar with the available QB reports that we could use. But I am looking for an individualized statement, not a listing of who owes what.

E. We can live with the Income Statement issue. We would spend money for a Add-on to QB that would give us a 2-column homeowner statement. Do you know someone who can do this kind of customization?

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3987


01/08/2020 3:34 PM  
Posted By HansE on 01/08/2020 1:49 PM
I will point out that QB has NPF software it's not online.

Next what are you using an income statement for? I would think you should just need a balance sheet and statement of cashflows (people put way, WAY to much importance on that). If you end up with 0 in Cogs that would be fine and it is good to make sure you are not taking in any profit; the rest you should basically ignore.

2) I'm not sure why you would need 2 columns (one for paid and on for not?).

Other then some very specific customizations I would suggest working around the following reports

Customer aging detail

You can also work in the invoice list by date report.

In both cases some customization would be required based on personal taste.

The aging report and the invoice list will get you what you ultimately need which is to verify who paid and when.

A. Not sure what NPF software is.

B. On use of income statement. It's only important if we want to comply with State law for HOAs. For example, whenever a house gets sold, we must provide a Balance Sheet and Income Statement. No State law requirement re Cash Flow Statement. As an investor, I want to see a Cash Flow Statement. But most of my fellow owners wouldn't even know what one looks like. Your solution - to just ignore certain things - is what I do. But like I said, the problem isn't with me. It's a potential problem for a homeowner who loses confidence if they're told to "just ignore that" on something they've never seen before.

C. Benefit of separate Debit and Credit columns. What I said was that it would make it easy to match payments against invoices at a glance. Here's an example. We have Monthly Fees, Quarterly Fees, Late Fees, and a few other Fees. Let's say Monthlies are $150 and Quarterlies are $50. A homeowner questions a statement. First step - Count up the number of $150 charges that are in the Debits column. Then count up the number of $150 entries in the Credits column. When there's a different number of $150 entries in the two column, then bingo - You can clearly show to Mrs. Smith that she made 9 Monthly payments instead of 10. And that kind of visual clarity would take around 2-3 minutes to demonstrate to that owner. If the problem isn't in Monthlies, then move on to Quarterlies, and count entries again. And so on. But --- a single column with pluses and minuses all mixed together is a lot harder to explain to someone who isn't comfortable with numbers to begin with.

D. I agree with George that QB is a bit clunky. But that doesn't mean that we're going to move to something else. I like the fact that I have read-only access 24/7 so we're not waiting for a monthly report in the middle of the next month to see what's going on.

E. I'm familiar with the available QB reports that we could use. But I am looking for an individualized statement, not a listing of who owes what.

E. We can live with the Income Statement issue. We would spend money for a Add-on to QB that would give us a 2-column homeowner statement. Do you know someone who can do this kind of customization?

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
HansE
(California)

Posts:9


01/08/2020 4:31 PM  
NFP (not NPF typo) Not for Profit. QB desktop has a special program just for not for profits (like they have for construction and POS).

Without looking through your books and running through the various options for customization and memorization it is hard pinpoint exactly what you want but take a look at the images below is this in the ball park? If you create a custom report template (like in any kind of software that I am aware of) then you should be able to run the memorized report with ease.

Creating a perfect custom report can be time consuming but may be worth it in the end.

If you wanted to take this further (although it sounds like you already have a management company) you can look me up in QB pro-adviser services my company is Virtual Task Accounting.

Hope I helped


Attachment: 118314736671.pdf
Attachment: 118314744454.pdf

NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3987


01/08/2020 6:59 PM  
Posted By HansE on 01/08/2020 4:31 PM
NFP (not NPF typo) Not for Profit. QB desktop has a special program just for not for profits (like they have for construction and POS).

Without looking through your books and running through the various options for customization and memorization it is hard pinpoint exactly what you want but take a look at the images below is this in the ball park? If you create a custom report template (like in any kind of software that I am aware of) then you should be able to run the memorized report with ease.

Creating a perfect custom report can be time consuming but may be worth it in the end.

If you wanted to take this further (although it sounds like you already have a management company) you can look me up in QB pro-adviser services my company is Virtual Task Accounting.

Hope I helped

Thanks Hans.

I do see where QBDT offers a NFP variation. But our bookkeeping company uses QBO, which does not have NFP. If I remember correctly, there was a time where - if you had QBO - you could download QBDT without additional cost - and use either system to look at your data. But today, I think you would have to pay for both packages separately. Waste of money IMO.

One of the attachments you sent looked like standard headings on a QBO statement. There is only 1 column for all Debits and Credits and then there's an Open Balance column. That's what I'm trying to get away from. I would like a Debit column, a Credit column, and an Open Balance column.

The other attachment looks like the Classification options in QBO that you can put on a statement. While useful for determining what information to include like invoice number and due date, it doesn't address my needs - A column for Credits and a separate column for Debits.

There is nothing special about what I seek. Here is a link to a simple sample statement:

https://www.beginner-bookkeeping.com/statement-of-account.html

In this sample, there are 3 columns labeled Amount, Payment, and Amount Due. That's what I am looking for. Nothing special. Nothing unique about it. Debits and Credits separated out into 2 separate columns.

Thanks for the conversation and best of luck.

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3599


01/09/2020 4:39 AM  
That's what I'm trying to get away from. I would like a Debit column, a Credit column, and an Open Balance column.


If you want custom reports to fit your particular look and feel, cant you simply make them yourself in excel? Export transactions and re-open in Excel, then make pie charts, reports, etc.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3987


01/09/2020 4:53 AM  
Posted By SteveM9 on 01/09/2020 4:39 AM
That's what I'm trying to get away from. I would like a Debit column, a Credit column, and an Open Balance column.


If you want custom reports to fit your particular look and feel, cant you simply make them yourself in excel? Export transactions and re-open in Excel, then make pie charts, reports, etc.

You're absolutely right that it should be easy. Yet with all the add-ons out there for QBO, I can't believe that someone hasn't created something.

Neither we nor our bookkeepers have the skills to create it. But we would happily pay for it if someone created a generic model that any QBO user could use.

Thx.

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3599


01/09/2020 7:33 AM  

Neither we nor our bookkeepers have the skills to create it.


Not rocket science. Takes 3 minutes........


How to export reports from QuickBooks Online to Excel.

Select Reports.
Search for and select the report you want to export.
At the top of the report, select the Export icon. Then select Export to Excel.
Save the file somewhere you can easily find, like your Downloads folder or your desktop.

GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3916


01/09/2020 3:03 PM  
Posted By HansE on 01/08/2020 11:39 AM
Hello,

This may sound a bit biased (I am a certified ProAdviser) but I would say use QB online plus.

It's ProAdvisor with an 'o'.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3987


01/09/2020 6:22 PM  
Posted By SteveM9 on 01/09/2020 7:33 AM

Neither we nor our bookkeepers have the skills to create it.


Not rocket science. Takes 3 minutes........


How to export reports from QuickBooks Online to Excel.

Select Reports.
Search for and select the report you want to export.
At the top of the report, select the Export icon. Then select Export to Excel.
Save the file somewhere you can easily find, like your Downloads folder or your desktop.


Ok. So we export to Excel. And now we have a spreadsheet with info on all the owners in a neat little chart.

But wait. What we want is a customer statement - And there's the rub. The spreadsheet needs to be converted to something that can be sent to an individual owner with only their info on it.

And that is what we would be willing to pay for. As I said, we don't have that particular skill set. If you want to make that conversion, we would pay you to do it.

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3599


01/09/2020 6:58 PM  

But wait. What we want is a customer statement - And there's the rub. The spreadsheet needs to be converted to something that can be sent to an individual owner with only their info on it.


An individual deposit in quickbooks isn't going to track anything. I usually deposit many checks at once, so it would show in quickbooks as a lump sum, not an individual owner.

We use excel to track individual accounts. I simply have a tab with the unit number, then record the check number and date check received. Very easy. Takes 2 seconds to record a check.
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3599


01/09/2020 7:01 PM  
If you want software to do this for you there are property management software such as www.buildium.com or many others for individual accounts.

I dont see a need to spend any money to do that, we dont even use excel, we simply use google spreadsheets...... free. I just say Excel because people understand that.
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3599


01/09/2020 7:10 PM  

And that is what we would be willing to pay for. As I said, we don't have that particular skill set. If you want to make that conversion, we would pay you to do it.


You could simply take a page of paper and pen and document what the person paid, date, etc. You dont need a particular skill set.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3987


01/10/2020 4:08 AM  
Posted By SteveM9 on 01/09/2020 7:10 PM

And that is what we would be willing to pay for. As I said, we don't have that particular skill set. If you want to make that conversion, we would pay you to do it.


You could simply take a page of paper and pen and document what the person paid, date, etc. You dont need a particular skill set.

Obviously, you and I are talking by each other at this point.

I am looking for an add-on to QuickBooks that will capture the data and put it in a customer statement that has a Debit and Credit column.

You say I can change to Buildium. Not interested.

You say I can hand write it out by hand. Not interested.

So, thanks for your thoughts. I'm done.

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
HansE
(California)

Posts:9


01/10/2020 12:27 PM  
Let me know if you like this (see attachment)

It is almost an exact duplicate of what you sent as an example, it is 95% straight out of QBO.

Attachment: 1110275889271.pdf

NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3987


01/10/2020 2:11 PM  
Posted By HansE on 01/10/2020 12:27 PM
Let me know if you like this (see attachment)

It is almost an exact duplicate of what you sent as an example, it is 95% straight out of QBO.


Hi Hans
Thanks for trying.
In a perfect world, payments can be applied against a particular invoice. Which seems to be what your attachment does.
But in the sample I provided the link to, payments are entered into a separate column but not matched against particular invoices.
Matching is time-consuming and unnecessary with greater than 90% of our homeowners. (Less than 10% are slow payers.)




Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
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