In many cases, condos and HOAs treat accounts payable (AP) as a necessary yet burdensome back-office job. Trying to keep purchase orders (POs), invoices, and emails organized can feel impossible, and that’s only part of the process.
While boards and managers tend to think of AP management as invoice management, it really starts when an association has a need for services or materials. Bid solicitation, vetting vendors, creating jobs and making POs are all important pillars that belong to the AP workflow. Boards don’t wait until they receive an invoice to find out the price of a service; they ask for quotes before the work begins.
Clearly, managing AP is a lot of work. But it doesn’t have to be so cumbersome. If you feel like you’re drowning in AP paperwork, get rid of the paper!
AP software isn’t a novelty, it’s becoming a necessity
Accounts payable software isn’t new, but it is becoming increasingly valuable to associations that are being asked to do more in the same amount of time. While administrative work is a critical part of condo/HOA management, boards and managers shouldn’t be spending most of their time manually filling in and processing POs, invoices and payments.
Cloud-based AP software streamlines most aspects of AP management, it allows for more collaborative work, and eliminates the need for communities to hold onto paper records. Furthermore, platforms like Condo Control save teams time by reducing errors and simplifying best practices. As a result, labor costs (and paper costs) are noticeably smaller.
Below are the top reasons why condos and HOAs are switching to accounts payable software.
Efficiency increases….by a lot
Efficiency is a top priority for any community association, and accounts payable software gets big points in this category.
AP software streamlines and automates so many things. For example, with Condo Control, you can:
- Solicit multiple bids or make a direct request for a quote from a preferred vendor from within the system
- Receive quotes in the platform instead of having to sort through emails
- Hire vendors with one click
- Create a job using information from a quote
- Ask vendors to supply compliance information and bank account details
- Create and share POs
- Request approval from board members
- Upload invoices and make batch payments
The platform is very dynamic as well as flexible. And since those with the correct permissions can see the same information as everyone else on the team, everyone stays on the same page.
AP software eliminates the need for admins to do things like fill out or print out POs, schedule in-person meetings to get approval to spend a certain amount on a job, or write a check. It cuts down on all of the small tasks that end up consuming too much of your time.
AP processes become standardized
Even when teams all have the same understanding of AP operations, it’s not often that people will complete processes exactly the same. Without a way to standardize processes, associations end up with incomplete job descriptions or POs. And this can create issues when something needs to be shared with a board member who has little or no prior knowledge of the document they are supposed to approve. Suddenly, emails are being sent back and forth, and the work or the payment may be delayed as a result.
A software system erases that issue by giving each user the same standardized forms to complete. With Condo Control, those with permission can even make some fields mandatory so that all the important points are always included. Similarly, approval requirements can be customized so that existing approval rules/processes are always followed.
The workflow created by Condo Control is intuitive, and creates stability and predictability for condos and HOAs.
Vendor relationships often benefit from AP software
When vendors are paid late, either because a due date was missed or it took longer than expected to connect with someone for approval, they’re usually not happy. They may stop doing business with your association, or introduce more stringent payment terms for the next contract.
Conversely, with streamlined approval processes, associations are far more likely to stay ahead of payment due dates. It’s even possible to schedule batch payments. This minimizes cashflow disruption and keeps vendors happy.
Software makes it possible to tackle AP tasks from anywhere
If your team depends on paper to process AP items, that limits when and where people can work. But a cloud-based AP system gives team members more freedom to work when and where they want. Cloud-based platforms allow admins to access every document that they are permitted to see, from any computer, laptop or tablet.
Not only does this make it easier for teams to work collaboratively, but with more eyes on the same documents, mistakes are more likely to be corrected before an invoice is submitted.
Spending less time on paperwork means there is more time to help owners
Regardless of your role, your main responsibility isn’t completing paperwork. It’s to have conversations and make decisions that will benefit your community as a whole. Yes, paperwork is an important part of community management, but if you’re stuck doing that for most of the day, it leaves little time for you to work on bigger, more impactful projects.
By automating AP tasks, board members and managers free up time to better serve owners and residents. Automating AP processes will cut down the time you spend on paperwork, and allow you to build better relationships with the people who belong to the community. AP software gives you the ability to spend some of your valuable time with other people. By talking with owners and residents, you may discover new ideas or initiatives that you would have never thought about if you were still stuck at your desk.
Automation makes it easier for community managers to scale
This point is primarily for community managers. Many companies and individuals have an annual goal to grow their businesses without having to invest more resources to achieve that result. But scaling can be tough, especially when condo and HOA associations are always looking for ways to cut costs. But, if you have a platform like Condo Control, you can demonstrate that your company has value. You can successfully improve AP operations without needing an AP manager or financial specialist. You can also take on new clients more comfortably since you’ve already got the software.
AP automation handles the mundane and repetitive tasks faster and more accurately. By spending less time on this work, management companies can focus on ways to grow their businesses without having to sacrifice the quality of their services.
Associations that switch from manual to digital AP management only regret not making the change sooner. AP software is a safe, smarter and simpler way to process invoices. More sophisticated programs will address your entire AP workflow, creating a more seamless experience for you, your board, managers, and vendors.
AP software makes it easier to implement best practices and even improve existing AP processes. A strong system minimizes human error, reduces late payments, and gives you greater control over the association’s cash flow. If you have more questions about AP software, we’d be happy to answer them.