Issue: Existing software system based on property rental model was unable to keep up with demands of growing management business.
Solution: Incorporated TOPS software into all aspects of business, using a system designed solely and specifically for property management.
Issue: Inefficiencies in system caused miscommunications between management and accounting.
Solution: With TOPS, managers gained direct access to data, tracking financial and other property details and improving communication with accounting and clients.
Issue: Paper-based data management system hampered company efforts to go green.
Solution: Online data management allowed firm to drastically reduce paper use, saving money and cutting waste.
Issue: Board members unable to view records and data.
Solution: Managers gained the ability to secure approvals and share information with board members quickly and efficiently, saving time and resources.
When Steward Property Services needed a software system to help them streamline their services, this growing firm turned to TOPS. Within months, TOPS had aided the firm in accomplishing four important goals: it improved communication among staff, it saved time and it reduced costs. Most importantly, it helped Steward Property Services gain the edge on its competition.
When Steward Property Services was looking for a way to streamline their services, they turned to TOPS Software’s TOPS Professional, an advanced, accounting-based software solution designed specifically for homeowners’ association management.
Saving Time, Saving Money
“TOPS was created completely for the business we do,” says Jeff Farnsworth, director of accounting operations for Steward Property Services, based in Petaluma, Calif. “Before, we were using software originally designed for apartment rentals, and there was a lot of miscommunications between management and accounting. TOPS helped bring those two departments together.” By doing so, the software helped increase speed and accuracy within the organization, freeing staff to provide more one-onone time to clients. “It allows us to focus on operations a lot more,” Farnsworth says.
In the past, managers and accounting staff exerted significant time and energy in trying to keep up with what each department was doing. “Before, our managers didn’t know about the accounting side of the business,” Farnsworth says. “Now, with TOPS, we can set access levels so they can’t affect the accounting side but they can view things like balance sheets and see delinquencies. They can see the information rather than getting it verbally from us. The software helped build synergy within the office.”
Unlike many other software systems, TOPS also allows users to toggle back and forth between different components of data management, from violations to collection letters to financial records and more, while allowing for access to multiple HOAs. “I can do everything across the board,” Farnsworth says. “I don’t have to log in and log out for every association. The job streaming has saved us a lot of money and a lot of time.”
For Steward, TOPS has helped the firm move toward its long-term goal of becoming a greener office by reducing materials use. “We’re considering moving toward a more paperless office,” Farnsworth says. “TOPS allows us to store everything digitally.”
In addition to the financial records for each HOA, the system allows management and accounting to keep track of resident violations by posting photos within the system rather than storing them in hard copy. In Farnsworth’s experience, relying on those hard copies creates unwanted opportunities to “miss a lot of information and waste a lot of paper in the process.” Having everything stored within the firm’s network “creates a system of ease,” he says. “You don’t have to go through every filing cabinet to find that one piece of paper you’re looking for.”
Reducing paper use not only means less waste, it also means lower expenses – every ream of paper purchased goes against the bottom line. And for firms trying to tighten their belts in today’s uncertain economy, every dollar counts.
A Tech Safety Net
While many software products leave users baffled and unable to maximize the system’s potential, TOPS offers an exceptional ease of use as well as a highly responsive tech support. When it came time to transfer data from Steward’s original system, TOPS Software was there to help guide the transition and provide honest systems support. “They weren’t afraid to tell us there was no way around certain problems,” Farnsworth says, “but they helped us make improvements at the beginning” to help get the tech ball rolling.
And with the system up and running, that safety net still comes in handy from time to time. “Tech support is awesome,” Farnsworth says. “If they can’t figure out how to solve the problem, the person next to them knows what to do. We pay for unlimited tech support and I would recommend it to everyone.”
The Bottom Line
TOPS, Farnsworth says, has exceeded expectations. “Our clients definitely notice the difference,” he says, noting how managers can now provide up-to-the-minute data and images for board members, enhancing board and management communication. “Even when we got this software, we didn’t know how powerful it would turn out to be.”
The bottom line, however, all comes down to one important question: would Farnsworth recommend TOPS to other property management firms? “Definitely,” he says, adding with a laugh, “The only reason I wouldn’t is because it gives us a competitive edge. I’m not sure I want to give that up.”
This case study is for informational purposes only. TOPS Software makes no warranties, express or implied, in this document.