ISSUE: Large-scale accounting firm must have accurate, reliable software to accommodate client base: more than 800 homeowner associations that represent 40,000 residential units.
SOLUTION: TOPS software consistently provides reliable service, giving the firm the tools it needs to consistently please clients and gain additional business by word of mouth.
ISSUE: Software must make it possible for individual team members to accommodate large volumes of clients and be scalable enough to accommodate continuing growth.
SOLUTION: TOPS has not missed a beat during the firm’s growth, and firm members have no doubt it will do the job, even with double the client base.
It’s hard for Certified Public Accountant Mark Cantey to remember a time when his firm didn’t use TOPS software. As far as he’s concerned, the software is an integral part of what he and his team do.
“We used their DOS-based version and actually loved it; we loved how reliable it was,” said Cantey, founder and president of Mark Cantey Associates.
His Wheaton, Illinois based firm specializes in serving homeowner association and neighborhood management firm accounts. “We’ve dedicated a whole team of people who simply do accounting with TOPS software,” said Cantey, who estimates that Mark Cantey Associates serves at least 800 homeowner associations and approximately 40,000 residential units.
“We’ve been doing this for nearly twenty years,” Cantey said. “It started with one or two associations. Over time, you realize this is becoming an area of specialty.” And TOPS hasn’t disappointed. Says Cantey, “The software has been reliable and accurate. Those two criteria are what matters the most to us and what matters the most to our clients.”
Right tools for the trade
Cantey says he especially values the software’s lockbox function. “As homeowners pay their association fees to the bank of their choice, TOPS dials in to the bank software and update accounts daily,” Cantey explained. “That’s been the functionality that has allowed us to grow so significantly. It saves us from a lot of the key strokes we used to do.” It helps that the lockbox works automatically. As long as homeowners include their account information with their payments, the software can catch it.
Cantey also appreciates the flexibility the software provides for formatting financial statements. His team members can easily customize statements for clients based on their individual preferences.
While Mark Cantey Associates primarily serves Illinois based clients, it has accounts nationwide, from Wisconsin to Florida. “We’ve been able to use TOPS for clients all over the country,” Cantey said.
Team members have been consistently positive about the software and its ability to meet their needs. “Each of them can handle a number of associations because the software allows them to handle the large volumes,” Cantey said.
As new professionals join the team, it has been a simple process to train them on the software and get them up to speed.
As for clients, the software is not on their radar, Cantey said, and that’s just how he wants it. “It’s like a Visa statement. As long as it looks a certain way, and the content is accurate, people don’t call. They’re not going to call unless they have questions or complaints.” As far as his clients are concerned, the firm is meeting and exceeding their needs. They’re not worried about the tools that help make that happen.
When Cantey has had questions about the software, he hasn’t hesitated to turn to TOPS’ customer service department. The interactions have been productive. “They’re pretty responsive. We’ve actually made some suggestions, and they implemented them.”
Cantey also has attended TOPS’ client forums. “TOPS wants to hear what people are doing with the software,” he said.
In for the long haul
It’s comforting to know, Cantey said, that the TOPS software is scalable enough to accommodate significant increases in clients. “I’m confident that if we went from 40,000 units to 80,000 units, we’d still use TOPS,” he said. “That’s important to me. We have to have software that will handle our growth.”
Cantey has opportunities from time to time to talk to other professionals interested in entering his specialty: serving homeowner associations and property management firms. “I tell them, ‘You’ve got to decide if you get into this, who you’ll partner with. Will they be around? Are they reliable?’
“We’ll continue to use TOPS. To me, that’s the highest way to give them tribute.”
This case study is for informational purposes only. TOPS Software makes no warranties,
express or implied, in this document.