Cloud computing is no longer the future, it’s a convenient reality and if you’re not using cloud-based services for your HOA, you could be missing out on some valuable and handy features. Cloud-based software options are available for just about every function your HOA needs to accomplish, from accounting and online payments, to CC&R enforcement and communicating with residents. When it comes to HOA accounting for self-managed HOAs, often QuickBooks, or other titles geared toward small businesses, offer more than enough functionality for the job. Other titles might work just as well, but I will focus on QuickBooks Online for illustrative purposes because of my familiarity with it and the clean integration it has with eUnify products. These are some of the benefits of implementing QB Online:
Ease of Maintenance:
Management companies tend to have the IT resources to maintain local servers for installations of product suites and client/homeowner databases. Self-managed HOAs often are limited to a laptop or home computer in handling similar tasks. This might pose challenges in terms of storage and backups, as well as privacy and security. Online security is about access, not location, so it doesn’t matter where Intuit’s servers are located, just that you are able to access them securely with encrypted login credentials from your web browser. Intuit’s servers are much more secure than your home or even office network and all security updates released by Intuit are automatically applied, along with any other release updates. Moving accounting to QuickBooks Online moves the burden of maintenance from the board to the team of professional developers, support personnel and IT specialists at Intuit.
Ease of Integration:
With the database in the cloud, integrating with third party applications is significantly easier. The third party system will be able to use Intuit’s API (Application Program Interface) to integrate data via a web service. This means that you can accomplish integration of account data with another application without having to download, install, or run a program on your computer. Syncing data via online integration completely alleviates the headache of tweaking firewall, antivirus, and network settings to allow for the transmission of data.
Ease of Transition:
When it comes time for the board treasurer to pass the baton, the new treasurer will have immediate access to all accounting functions and histories with the QuickBooks Online login credentials. Using a local installation of the program would require the new treasurer to install QB on his/her computer, import the company file, and adjust any necessary settings, as well as edit preferences for all integrated applications. Alternatively, the new treasurer could take possession of an association-owned laptop or computer, but this option keeps the board tied to aging hardware and support issues that come with it. Aside from board transitions, concurrent members can have better shared access to accounting in the hosted solution.
A slew of other features, such as automated invoices, statements, and reporting, smartphone access, and having multiple windows open simultaneously further enhance the offer of convenience, security, and ease of maintenance for QuickBooks Online. Putting your HOA’s accounting in the cloud will save you time and energy by simplifying the tasks you perform as a volunteer board member.