Issue: A Texas apartment complex did not have an efficient software package in place for property management.
Solution: The property supervisor purchased TOPS software and used it to establish comprehensive management solutions for the complex.
Issue: A property supervisor had no way of tracking water bills for each apartment in the complex.
Solution: The property supervisor uses the TOPS’ work sheet function to bill and collect water for each apartment.
— Gayle A. Shannon
After many years of working with a proprietary software program that wasn’t performing quite like it should, Gayle A. Shannon, CAPS decided there had to be a better way. Shannon and her colleagues knew they wanted something specific to property management, and after reviewing several options, they felt good about purchasing TOPS software. Eight years later, Shannon says it was definitely the right decision.
“I really like the program,” she says. “It’s so flexible and it offers so many features to property managers. Plus, it’s reasonably priced. Some of the competing programs cost twice as much as TOPS.”
When Shannon first purchased TOPS, she was working in homeowner association management for a firm in Austin. In 2002, she became Property Supervisor of The Lodge at Lost Pines Apartments, and she said there was no doubt that TOPS would be making the transition with her.
“Well, I certainly didn’t want to learn a new program,” Shannon laughs. “No, seriously, I wanted to bring it along because it has so much flexibility. Take financial statements for example. You can set them to read any way you want. Flex Data is another option that is very convenient. We use it to keep track of birthdays, vehicles, license plate numbers and key codes.”
Shannon, who has 27 years of property management experience, says learning TOPS was simple – for both her and her employees. “I have done very little training with TOPS; I actually taught myself because it’s that easy to learn,” she says. “Training staff has been fairly easy too, for the whole nine yards.”
In terms of where she spends her time, Shannon says she uses the Utilities module on a regular basis. “I use it quite a bit, because it’s so easy to go in and make changes,” she said. “I can edit the accounts receivable or accounts payable for a particular ledger, or make changes to data without affecting general ledger balances.”
Naturally, Shannon uses the general ledger for recurring entries, and she loves the fact that she can print a detailed report for the property owner if necessary. “If we have exceeded a particular budget for a certain time period, he can look and see exactly why,” she says. “I can also produce detailed balance sheets, income statements, and accounts payable and receivable reports.”
Making life easier
Regarding routine transactions, Shannon uses the AR module to keep track of security deposits and rent. She is eternally grateful that she can generate a work sheet to keep track of water bills, for the property is submetered and she has to bill and collect for the water bill on each apartment. “It’s honestly a pain to keep track of, but TOPS makes it so much easier,” she said.
Utilizing the Web functionality offered by AtHomeNet is also a very simple process, Shannon says. “TOPS is a fantastic program and the fact that it integrates so easily with a website is amazing,” she said. “It’s incredibly easy to post pictures, and I love that,” she says. “Also, it takes me two minutes to post a notice about an Open House. Being able to make changes and edits without having to know code is incredibly helpful.”
Learning how to use TOPS in a more in-depth manner is a priority for Shannon. “The website feature is one of the items I’d like to explore more thoroughly and use more consistently,” she says. Ultimately, she wants renters to be able to go to the website to post payments, and she envisions the site offering access to local restaurant menus and a calendar that would list events like children’s play dates and garage sales. She also wants to incorporate the Work Order feature from the Maintenance Module.
“[Without TOPS] it would be like going back to the dark ages, back to handwritten ledgers.”
— Gayle A. Shannon, CAPS
Shannon says life without TOPS would be like going back in time. “It would be like going back to the dark ages, back to handwritten ledgers. That’s what we used to do,” she said. “TOPS is a really great program, or I wouldn’t have brought it over here.”
This case study is for informational purposes only. TOPS Software makes no warranties, express or implied, in this document.