Alliant Property Management, LLC is Southwest Florida’s premier homeowner and condominium association management company with operations in the Fort Meyers, Naples and Charlotte County areas. With the latest in technology and a hands-on management philosophy, Alliant has grown from a small company managing 8 associations to servicing 160 associations with more than 25,000 units. Alliant uses TOPS Professional for their association management platform and TOPS Go! for mobile/on-site activities tracking.
When John Spina and his partners bought a small association management company in January, 2005 they made a strategic decision to bring the outsourced accounting in-house and to manage the company with TOPS. Over the years they have relied on TOPS to help them efficiently grow the company to over 160 managed associations. “TOPS is our business really. Without it there is no way we could handle 25,000 owners,” says Spina.
Today, Alliant continues to rely on TOPS Professional and has added TOPS Go! to maintain the operational efficiency necessary to support their successful, service-oriented business model.
Tools for Growth
The association management company purchased by Alliant Property Management, LLC (Alliant) in 2005 managed eight associations. “When we bought the company, they were outsourcing their accounting to a small accounting firm,” stated John Spina, CFO, Alliant Property Management. “We decided strategically that we wanted to bring our accounting in house.”
Spina relied on his accounting and IT background to find the right accounting and operational software for the company. “I’m very familiar with technology,” explained Spina. “I did my due diligence.” Spina looked at three different packages. He decided to use TOPS Professional as the software to manage Alliant’s accounting and portfolio. Spina saw TOPS as a tool to help grow the company. “We liked some of the management tools within TOPS, like Job Streaming and the CC&R and Work Order modules,” explained Spina. “We could not only do the accounting but TOPS could help us manage the properties.”
Growing with TOPS
Nine years ago Alliant did everything with three people. They input the data from the accounting firm and began operations with TOPS. “It went smoothly and we just built from there,” stated Spina. “As we grew, we hired more people in the accounting department to take on the responsibility.”
Over the years TOPS has grown right along with Alliant. “We’ve been very pleased with the response from TOPS,” stated Spina. “We’ve been able to add quite a few new modules and functionality that has really helped us competitively.”
Spina’s favorite feature addition is iMail, which is the ability to e-mail an owner who opts in. “iMail creates a record for every owner of when the e-mail went out so we can go back into the history and say, ‘Yes we did send an e-mail on this date,’ and that is very important,” stated Spina. “Using the CCR module itself puts a process in place where notices go out when they need to, based on the policies of each association.”
The integration of TOPS with SouthData, a fulfillment mailing house, saves labor for Alliant. “We have to notify owners violating the rules of the association by certified mail,” explained Spina. “With the click of a button we can send a file of that letter to South Data and document within the owner’s file the date that certified mail was sent out.”
Alliant has a call center with an electronic ticketing system to track every call. The Fact Sheet in TOPS helps them respond quickly. “These people can handle a lot of questions that owners have or even vendors by just going to the Fact Sheet,” stated Spina.
The TOPS Go! mobile application for Android devices supports Alliant’s hands-on philosophy— an important factor in their growth. “We free up managers as much as possible to counsel and guide the boards. If they’re busy doing paperwork and process stuff where they lose that time, that creates problems,” explained Spina. “TOPS Go! creates a process that is easier for managers than taking a note pad and having to scribble down all this stuff and put it in the CC&R module when they go back to the office. You can take a picture and do it all right there at the site.”
Spina finds that TOPS Go! keeps him connected when he’s out of the office. “I’m always out and about,” stated Spina. “I use TOPS Go! all the time to look up board members, or if I need to call or to look at vendors if I need one for a particular association.”
80% More Efficient
Using a homegrown accounting system or QuickBooks would not work for Alliant. “I wouldn’t even attempt to operate with either one. It has to be designed specifically for associations,” stated Spina. The powerful features in TOPS Professional have made Alliant’s operations much more efficient. “I would say 80% more efficient,” stated Spina. TOPS Go! saves time for association managers. “It streamlines the whole process so it makes their life a lot easier,” stated Spina. “It’s very easy for the CAMs that work for us to learn how to use TOPS and get around. They don’t have to be computer experts.”
Integration with SouthData saves on paper and labor. “It’s a huge time savings for our mailroom,” stated Spina. “We don’t have to print it, we don’t have to stuff it and we don’t have to mail it. Signatures are digitized so now we don’t have sort through stacks of cards from the post office to find proof that the owner signed.”
Alliant finds their efficiency and technology to be a competitive advantage. “Our associations are saving up to 20-30% in postage and paper because of the iMail system,” explained Spina. “It is a great tool when we go up against our competition.”
About two months ago Alliant took over an association with 2,000 homes. “They requested our technology, not just TOPS, but our document management system, the accounts payable approval process that integrates with TOPS, and the websites that the associations have,” stated Spina. “There’s a lot of technology that integrates with TOPS and that’s why we got this large account.”
The Fact Sheet also helps to land new clients. “It goes back to communicating and providing good service,” explained Spina. “If we can pick up a phone and give them an answer immediately, we leave a very good impression. Our competitors can’t do that.”
“TOPS is our business really. Without it there is no way we could handle 25,000 owners.”
— John Spina
Spina relates how these and other features have helped Alliant grow to its current size. “With TOPS automation we were able to bring on clients very smoothly. It’s user friendly for us and for the boards. That helped us to convert clients from QuickBooks, Yardi or whatever accounting software they used. iMail helped us communicate better and it makes boards more comfortable as we take over the accounts.”
“We’re in a relationship business and the more time the manager can work with a board and build relationships, I think the better reception of service will be by the board. TOPS enabled us to create the kind of relationships that we need to grow our business.”
This case study is for informational purposes only. TOPS Software makes no warranties, express or implied, in this document.