How Can You Use QuickBooks for Your HOA?
How does your homeowners association keep track of the dues you invoice and the payments you receive from your residents? Are all your data tied up in a spreadsheet that dates back 10 years and four treasurers? Did every one of those four treasurers record information differently—and make your data difficult to reconcile? Are some payments missing altogether and others recorded more than once? Most importantly, are you tired of hearing your accountant explain how much easier her work would be if you really organized your data?
“It’s not that bad,” you say, smiling sheepishly. But it could be better, right? And the main impediment that holds you back from getting all those numbers together is one or both of two things: Time, which is a precious commodity for an administrative volunteer, and the sheer difficulty you anticipate whenever you think about what’s involved (which, let’s face it, is right after your accountant gives you that annual lecture).
But your accountant would be happy—even ecstatic, at least for an accountant—if you just got it together starting now. And the combination of the right HOA software, plus QuickBooks Online, is just the ticket to clean up your data and earn a gold star from your accountant. Not to mention that the software and the transition are so much easier than you’ve convinced yourself. Let’s think through what’s involved, and see whether it’s time to revise your approach to your community’s financials.
Start with the right HOA software
To integrate your financials with QuickBooks, you’ll need to collect your financial data in a consistent form. That’s a lot easier to do if you bill all your dues and fees through your website—and collect secure payments automatically online as well. Give your residents the ability to pay online with a credit or debit card, or deduct their payments directly from a checking or savings account, and most of them will embrace online payments wholeheartedly. For those folks who prefer to pay the old-fashioned way, make sure your website gives you the ability to enter the details of paper payments so all your data stay together.
While you’re sending out digital invoices and collecting online payments, you’ll also want your HOA website software to provide a comprehensive set of payment reminders. Ideally, you’ll want a clear message that includes the original invoice as an attachment, along with a reminder before the due date, and a “you’re-late” notice that provides a gentle nudge if remittance is tardy. To give residents an added incentive to make timely payment, your website should be able to restrict site access unless and until all dues and fees are paid up.
Beyond the mechanics of billing and payment, look for HOA software that enables you to funnel your payment data directly into QuickBooks. Yes, you’ll find other financial management software packages out there, but none can boast the combination of feature set and accountant acceptance that this long-time standout provides.
That “accountant acceptance” is no afterthought. If you have to spend hours preparing data so your accountant can work with your information, it doesn’t matter how full featured your financial package is from your perspective. Any time an accountant must work harder to handle your taxes and other annual financials, you run the risk of paying more for their services than if your data are easy to use the moment they’re ready.
A note about QuickBooks Desktop
QuickBooks comes in many different package versions and feature levels, but the most noticeable difference lies between the older version of the software—QuickBooks Desktop—and its replacement, now called QuickBooks Online. If you’re still using the Desktop edition of QuickBooks, bear in mind that Intuit, the maker of the software, plans to discontinue this version soon. Before that happens, make your own plans to migrate across to QuickBooks online so you’re not forced to take these steps at the last minute. Likewise, for long-term current and future compatibility, you want HOA website software that supports QuickBooks Online.
Organize and analyze your data in QuickBooks Online
QuickBooks handles all the dollars-in and dollars-out necessities of a working homeowners association. With an easily accessible link between your HOA website software and your financial package, you’re ready to record, analyze, and share your essential information for complete fiscal productivity. Your HOA is a business, and the combination of outstanding homeowners association website software with equally outstanding financial software makes QuickBooks an essential tool in the administration and management of your HOA.