Last modified on October 13th, 2021
By Brittany Benz
As an association manager, the end of the year is always a hectic and busy time. Not only do you have to carry out all of your daily tasks, serve homeowners, and meet with the board, but you also have to prepare annual reports, deliver statements, and budget for the next fiscal year. These responsibilities can be cumbersome and time consuming, especially when done manually through a paper-based system, which can lead to mistakes and extra costs.
Instead of forging ahead with last year’s process, you can use the repetitive nature of your end-of-year duties to your advantage and create a standardized workflow. When everything is clearly laid out step-by-step, it’s easier to simplify your operations to automate certain tasks, eliminate error-prone activities, and build in efficiencies to improve the entire process. Read on to find out four ways you can streamline your end-of-year duties and set your association management business up for success in 2022.
1.) Budgeting for the Upcoming Fiscal Year
Few things are more important than informing your boards about the past, present, and future financial health of their community association. Whether they came in over, at, or under budget dictates their fiscal strategy for the upcoming year. Offering them visibility into association financials with multiple concise reports, like budget comparatives, fund balance and income statements, profit and loss for the reserve, and customizable board of directors packets can help clear up any misconceptions and streamline their planning and decision-making processes.
To get a comprehensive picture of your associations’ financial health, it’s best to use an association management software with a robust accounting foundation. Look for a system that has real-time data, expansive bank integrations, customized reporting, and automated budgeting tools built into the software, which makes it easier to maintain accurate records and understand your finances.
For specific reports, like budget comparatives, you can also provide month-to-date and year-to-date actual figures versus budgeted ones, and comparisons between certain periods of time for review. These options consolidate critical data for board members, which simplifies evaluation, while assisting them in planning for specific months where they may need to budget additional funds.
Having a single system of record for all of your finances also enables you to uncover insights in real time to share with your boards, further proving the value your management brings and empowering the board to make better-informed decisions for the year ahead.
2.) Sending Emails and Letters
The financial year ends in December, which means a lot of time is spent communicating with board members, vendors, and homeowners. But what if you could get some of that time back by streamlining your communications?
By re-examining how often you send messages and which channels you use, you can make a big difference in reducing your overall correspondence time. Rather than calling each board member individually, mobile communication tools, like texting and emailing can allow you to share important information, such as budget comparative reports, en masse. For documents that are required to be sent via postal mail, you can avoid wasting time manually compiling annual letters by using a software with a fully integrated, end-to-end mailing service to send bulk or individual mail automatically.
3.) Assessment Update Notifications
As the end of the year approaches, it’s also time to update assessments. Instead of using a complex, paper-based system to make these changes, simplify the process by using a digital solution.
This way, as soon as you need to make a change, such as an increase in association dues, you can do it online and automatically notify homeowners with customized letters. By going digital, you can save time and money, and reduce errors caused by manual data entry, plus give homeowners an easy way to keep their account up to date.
4.) Accounts Payables
Manually scanning and entering all of your end-of-year invoices by hand can take hours if not weeks of your team’s time. You can increase efficiency exponentially by automating the accounts payables process. For instance, with AppFolio Property Manager’s Automated Accounts Payable, all of your invoices are forwarded to AppFolio via mail or email, where they are then received, scanned, processed, and then digitally posted for your review. Once approved, the invoice is paid on your behalf by AppFolio. All of this allows you to increase the speed of your invoice processing while scaling your accounts payable to meet your monthly demands.
Getting through all of your end-of-year duties doesn’t have to be a stressful, manual process with hours of data collection. By switching to a single solution with built-in, automated accounting features, you can prepare customized and detailed reports, automatically send letters and process invoices, and ensure boards are always informed about the financial health of their association. And when it’s time to communicate updates and share important annual documents, mobile communication tools can ensure your board members and homeowners are kept in the loop. If you’d like to learn more about how transitioning to a paperless accounting system can increase efficiency year-round, take a look at this article.
Comments by Brittany Benz