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3 Year-End Planning Season Tips for HOAs and Community Associations

As Fall season approaches the kids are going back to school, we are gearing up for pumpkin spice lattes, and HOA and Community Association management teams are rolling up their sleeves to get ready for 2019. If you’re about to undergo year-end review and planning, and considering some process improvement initiatives, here are three tips

Tip#1: Analyze historical costs to identify high-ticket items and trends you can curb

Instead of diving right in to planning for next year, take the time to analyze your projects and associated costs over the past 2-3 years. Are there costs that are consistently rising? Do you notice any trends? Taking the opportunity to analyze your activities and expenses will help you identify areas that are ripe for improvement.

Tip #2: Improve your processes and save staff time (and overtime)

Look at where your staff is spending their time. Do you have team members who are manually doing tasks like matching up coupons with checks? Could they be spending their time on more value-added activities? Is this leading to overtime costs, or requiring you to get contracting help from outside resources? If your staff is drowning in coupons or unidentified checks, or you’re getting bookkeeping help from a third party because you need to reconcile your accounts, you may consider evaluating online payment vendors that reconcile with your accounting software.

For example, at PayLease our auto-recurring payment options are variable, so a homeowner can set this up and forget it. This option is great for a number of reasons, including a) it’s good for homeowners who don’t have to worry about remembering to mail in a check – and for you because you don’t have to follow up on late payments, b) payments automatically reconcile with your accounting software saving you time, and c) the variable auto-pay means when rates rise, the deduction amount changes automatically – a great benefit if year-end planning leads to changes in fees.

Tip #3: Bill homeowners for utility costs in condo associations to recoup expenses

It’s difficult to manage expenses when utility costs are variable. Condo associations can better stabilize expenses by making sure that homeowners cover the costs of their utility usage. Solutions like submeters and ratio utility billing system (RUBS) calculations, which is an allocation-based billing system, help to not only recover costs from homeowners, but also reduce usage overall since each home/door will see the impact of their usage on their personal bottom line. There are a lot of regulations in this area, so be sure to talk with experts if you wish to undertake a utility billing program.

Some of these items can be done in the short term and others are longer term projects, but hopefully they gave you some ideas for where you can improve processes and cut costs. Good luck with your planning!

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