HOA Software Quickbooks

Is Intuit QuickBooks the right software tool for HOA management? That’s actually not quite the right question to ask, but it’s related to the right one. What you and your fellow HOA administrators really want to know is whether you can combine HOA software with QuickBooks to manage your HOA and its financial affairs. That’s because self-managed HOA software handles one list of administrative processes and tasks for your homeowners association, but QuickBooks handles a completely different roster of responsibilities. While self-managed HOA software takes care of the day-to-day business and publicity of your homeowners association, QuickBooks monitors and manages the big picture of your financial affairs.

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Yes, you can incorporate HOA software with QuickBooks. In fact, the combination of top HOA management software and an outstanding financial management package makes an ideal combination for complete control of your HOA affairs. In this toolset collaboration, HOA software handles the community management aspects while QuickBooks manages your financial data. When you use HOA software and QuickBooks together, you can help your community association manage both its financial and its operational tasks efficiently. Here’s how to get started with these powerful tools.

Take the first step

Take the first step

First, you need to choose an HOA software provider and a software package that integrates with QuickBooks. Look for HOA software that offers data sharing directly into QuickBooks so you can transfer categorized financial data for use in fiscal reporting. With this linkage set up between the two programs, you’ll be able to record financial data from one program to the other with ease. That means you can take advantage of the strengths of each program to enhance your community’s management responsiveness and financial acumen. There are even options that include HOA websites as part of their software plans.

How do you choose the best HOA management software? Before you select an HOA management software provider, you have to decide on the basis for that decision. You can ask around among people you know who live in other HOAs of comparable size to your community, but most homeowners associations begin this research process online. Do a basic web search for “HOA management software” and “HOA software with QuickBooks” so you can take a look at results and begin to compile a list of possibilities.

When free isn't quite so free

With cost-saving motivations in mind, many communities start their search for HOA management software with budget-conscious alternatives, and begin by looking for the best open-source HOA software or even free HOA management software. But that term—free community management software—is something of a misnomer. You won’t find many full-featured free HOA software packages, and typically, the ones you do find either are cutdown versions of paid packages or underpowered options that cost you in other ways. It’s all too easy to waste valuable time trying to make up for the shortcomings of an HOA software package that’s supposedly inexpensive, and the time you save by using a well-organized package more than makes up for a modest price tag.

Instead of trying to live with and waste time compensating for an underpowered HOA software package, why not look to a dedicated provider of software specifically for HOAs? These companies specialize in understanding and fulfilling the needs of homeowners associations and other types of managed property developments. Their products aren’t free, but they typically structure their packages with various sets of features at different price points, with an entry-level package aimed at small communities, a middle tier for larger communities with broader needs, and a premium feature level for the largest developments and most-active communities. Some providers even offer a turnkey package—typically their most expensive—through which they set up all aspects of your site for you.


Choose the right features

Multiple feature levels, or tiers, of software products offer you many advantages, especially when it comes to HOA software. These feature levels enable you to choose a package that offers all and only the specific features you need for your community management at the time you set up. Furthermore, they offer you the ability to step up to a higher feature level in the future as and if your community needs change. Depending on the software provider you select, you may be able to negotiate multiple years of a package at a fixed price across the entire time span.

Moreover, many full-featured community association management software providers do provide two free items that can give you an equal number of big advantages. First, they offer you a free trial period that provides you with full access to their top software package for a specific time period. You’ll be able to tell which features belong in which software package, but at the same time, you can test out the full power of their feature-level top offering. Invite as many of your administrative colleagues as possible to participate in this free trial period so everyone can experience the software first hand and compare notes later during the evaluation phase before you make your final selection.


HOA Software Website


The second valuable feature that homeowners association website software providers offer at no charge consists of free HOA templates and themes. Professional designers on the HOA software provider’s staff build design themes that include various choices of color usage, site layout, typography, and image placement. Within each design theme, they create individual templates that enable you to build specific types of website pages, including board member listings, member directories, document repositories, frequently asked question/answer pages, photo galleries, online payment pages, and other easily customizable combinations of images, text, and links. These templates await your use in creating public-facing website pages, and they help you make quick work of an attractive design.

Time to make a decision

Time to make a decision

After you and your colleagues have researched and investigated a variety of community management software options, compare notes and begin to narrow down the field so you can make your eventual decision. In most cases, you’ll be able to eliminate some choices quickly because they lack features you require, their package fee exceeds your budget, their onboarding assistance and support looks skimpy, or for any one of a long list of valid reasons. If you run into any questions that your free trial experience or the software help system seems unable to answer, ask the provider for additional input and take their responsiveness into consideration as part of your decision-making process.

Get set and go

Once you choose your HOA software, now it’s time to set it up. Because HOA software handles much more than just financial information, you’ll need to do some work to get your package ready to go. Before you get started, pull together the information about your community that you want to publicize, along with any digital information about residents, properties, and so one. In fact, it’s smart to accumulate all this information before you even begin your search for an HOA software provider. That way, you’re ready to go the moment you choose your software provider, and you can make better-informed decisions about how much feature power you actually need.

Remember that HOA software setup is a three-part process because this type of software operates in three different dimensions. One provides the public face of your community, presented through a custom website that talks about the history of your development, outlines outstanding local features, and generally conveys a sense of the neighborhood spirit of your homeowners association.

Another aspect of HOA software is the members-only view of website data, including documents, features, and functions that the public cannot see. In this view, each resident can review their financial participation, make secure online payments, reserve a community amenity, register for a neighborhood event, sign up to be part of a committee, file an architectural modification request, and much more.

The third aspect of your HOA software exists entirely behind the scenes, visible only to board members and other community leaders with administrative website credentials. This view enables you to create, modify, and update website content; review the payment status of individual invoices; create and modify dues and fees; process violations of community covenants; respond to ARC requests, and so on.

Enter your data

Enter your data

To set up your HOA software, you’ll need to enter data about your membership, set up online payments, and create the public face of your website. Depending on the information you have available and the way your community wants to approach website setup, you can import member data from a spreadsheet, enter one record at a time manually, allow prospective members to sign up for membership on your website, or, most commonly, adopt some combination of these methods.

If you do decide to import your member data, remember that HOA management software uses a specific element of member information to provide a unique identifier for each individual resident. Instead of assigning an arbitrary registration number to each person in their systems, many HOA management systems use e-mail addresses to identify members.

You’ll need a full set of information about each resident to be able to import information about them. Import systems use standardized templates based on delimited data structures, so you’ll need to make your data conform to the input template. If your current resident spreadsheet combines first and last names in one column, or puts street address plus city, state, and ZIP Code in another column, you may need to do some work to break up these categories of information into individual columns so you can accommodate the expectations of an import template.

Make connections

Once you finish setting up your HOA management software, you’ll need to connect it your banking account—so you can receive payments through built-in online transaction capabilities—and to QuickBooks. Through this connection to QuickBooks, you’ll be able to transfer financial data from your HOA management software to QuickBooks automatically through synchronization. The way you categorize the sources of monetary input in your HOA software determines which QuickBooks financial category captures each piece of financial information from your HOA software.

To ensure that your HOA dues and fees categorize correctly and sync properly, you’ll need to organize categories of financial information. To do that, you’ll need to create an HOA chart of accounts in QuickBooks.

“Chart of accounts” is an accounting term. It’s a list of all the accounts your accounting system uses to record financial transactions, essentially a coding system that classifies financial transactions into categories such as assets, liabilities, equity, revenue, and expenses. Your HOA chart of accounts provides a framework through which you organize and report financial information, prepare financial statements and set up the data for tax returns.



Every accounting system includes a chart of accounts, but the specific accounts you use can vary depending on the type and size of the business or organization. An HOA might not use the same chart of accounts as a retail business or a charitable organization. To ensure that you set up the right categories, consult with your accountant or bookkeeper to define the appropriate selections.

Ask a professional

Yes, even if you use QuickBooks, you'll still need an accountant to advise your financial performance, prepare taxes, and analyze financial data for you. Even if your board and community administrative volunteers include accounting professionals, you're still better off hiring an outside accountant to ensure that your data and reporting meet with established standards, and to provide your community with the fiscal transparency that makes all financial matters clear.

That transparency takes on added meaning when you consider that HOAs are meant to be accountable to their residents, and that financial clarity is one of the most important forms of that accountability. Residents have the right to ask questions about community finances and expect thorough, factual replies. An independent accountant or bookkeeper helps you ensure that level of accountability.

Choose an accounting method

As part of your financial recording process, and to ensure that you set up your chart of accounts correctly, you’ll need to use the proper overall accounting method, which your accountant or bookkeeper will designate for you. The basic choices include cash and accrual accounting, along with a hybrid that uses aspects of the other two methods.

When you use cash accounting, you record transactions when you receive or make payments. This method focuses on the movement of cash into and out of your financial system rather than on the timing of these transactions. It’s easy to understand, and often forms the method of choice for small businesses.

With accrual accounting, you record transactions when they occur, regardless of when you receive money for them. This method gives a better picture of financial performance over time. It’s more complex to master and more common among larger enterprises. For an HOA, it provides many advantages, including the ability to assess how early or late residents pay their dues.

Hybrid accounting combines a bit of both cash and accrual accounting into a third option. This method combines the simplicity of cash accounting with the accuracy and completeness of accrual accounting.

Ask your accountant or bookkeeper to advise you on the proper accounting method to use for your HOA. Your business governing documents may have an impact on this decision, along with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). These principles define an accepted set of guidelines, rules, and standards that dictate how to prepare financial statements in the United States so financial reporting is transparent, consistent, and comparable across different businesses and industries.

Time for invoices and payments

Once you’ve set up your chart of accounts in QuickBooks, you can configure your dues and fees in your HOA software and begin to collect online payments through your website. HOA software provides powerful tools to help you create and invoice your dues, and includes secure payment capabilities for residents to use in paying for these and other expenses. In addition to recurring expenses, you also can accept payments for amenity usage, event registrations, and one-time charges. The latter category handles everything from the RFID tags for electronic gate entry to pool passes and approved community mailbox replacements, along with payments from community sponsors.




As payments for HOA fees arrive in your bank account and their details show up in your HOA software, sync your financial data between your HOA software and QuickBooks. This way, you ensure that all your financial information stays accurate and up to date. The syncing process pushes invoice and transaction information across from your HOA software to QuickBooks, where each individual transaction automatically slots into the correct category in your chart of accounts. The typical synchronization connection between HOA software in QuickBooks runs only in one direction, so if you make changes to any of your financial data in QuickBooks, you will need to make manual adjustments in your HOA software.

Advanced financial management

Advanced financial management

With a properly configured chart of accounts and synchronized financial data, you can use QuickBooks to manage your accounting tasks and generate reports about community finances and operational status. These reports give your governing board an accurate picture of community well-being, and provide them with the information they need to propose new community regulations, events, and programs, as well as to make decisions about future expenses and investments. This way, you take advantage of the strengths of your HOA software to manage your community and its affairs, and the financial capabilities of QuickBooks to handle your accounting data.

In addition to the standard QuickBooks setup, you may need to create a balance sheet, although your accountant or bookkeeper may produce this from data you supply. A balance sheet is a financial statement that provides a snapshot of an HOA’s financial position at a particular time, including assets, liabilities, and equity. This document summarizes what you own and what you owe, following the equation that underlies all of accounting: Assets = Liabilities + Equity

In the assets section, your balance sheet lists items such as cash, accounts receivable, inventory, investments, property, and equipment. Liabilities include accounts payable, loans, notes payable, and other debts you owe. Equity represents the value of your assets minus your liabilities, and includes your cash reserves.

At the same time that QuickBooks handles your financial details and may be the tool you use to generate your balance sheet, leverage your HOA software to manage community affairs and marketing. Depending on the self-managed HOA software you select, you should be able to send out customized mass e-mailings to all or select subgroups of your residents, post announcements and host resident comments on a neighborhood newsfeed, and provide a private chat feature—all of which enable you to manage community communications without the need for third-party social media sites.

HOAs, condos, and co-ops

If your HOA actually is a condo association or co-op, you can manage your association through the same software products that HOAs use. The software choices you make for a true HOA also can handle all the needs of other types of managed communities, including condos and co-ops. Likewise, QuickBooks for a condo association is the same financial software as QuickBooks for an HOA, although you may need to list different types of accounts to accommodate your financial structure. This is another situation in which your accountant or bookkeeper can provide essential advice to guide you in setting up your chart of accounts and other founding principles.

Make the best choices

What’s the best HOA accounting software? For many communities, QuickBooks fills that bill. Because Intuit offers various QuickBooks feature levels, you can select the product package that matches up best with your community’s needs. The criteria you’ll need to consider include whether you want to use QuickBooks entirely through a mobile interface, which computer operating system or systems—Mac or Windows—you need to support, and how many other features you want to incorporate into your financial package, including support for investments, vendor payments, etc.



When you use self-managed HOA software and QuickBooks together, your community association can streamline its processes and operate with greater ease and harmony. That’s the ideal byproduct of using HOA accounting software: Better, easier reporting and more transparent results. And when you simplify your financial reporting and simultaneously improve your financial responsiveness, that’s a real win for your community.

So how do you choose the ideal combination of HOA software and financial management software? Do your homework and conduct your research. There’s no substitute for hands-on experience with HOA software, and the best HOA software providers will offer you the free trial period you need to determine whether their package is the right choice for you. Of course, if you later decide that you made the wrong selection and need to change your mind, you always can start over, but most HOAs prefer to make the one right decision rather than have to reinvent the wheel. Add in the financial management software—including QuickBooks—to synchronize with your HOA software, and you have a winning combination for your community.

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