Have you heard of the game, 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon? The idea is that Kevin Bacon is such a prolific actor, literally everyone in Hollywood has 6 or fewer degrees of separation between themselves and the actor.
Comedian Dave Barry gives a great example linking Bacon to the Lone Ranger: "The Lone Ranger was the Green Hornet's great-uncle; the Green Hornet and O. J. Simpson both hung out with people named Kato; Simpson and Robert Wagner co-starred in The Towering Inferno; Wagner and Bacon co-starred in Wild Things."
You could play along at home, but instead of measuring against Kevin Bacon, consider this: your reports and other outputs are your management company's version of Kevin Bacon.
Your Message is Diluted
Most businesses are one of two things: B2B (Business to Business) or B2C (Business to Consumer). A CAM Management Company deserves a special designation. Something like B2A2B2V2H (Business to Association to Board to Volunteers to Homeowners). It's a tangled web, with multiple degrees of separation, and yet your company is ultimately held accountable to all of these groups of individuals.
As a management company representative, the toughest part of all these degrees of separation is that the farther you go from the original relationship, the more diluted the relationship becomes. When you finally get to the individual homeowners, their only knowledge of their management company may be an annual report, a monthly statement asking them to pay on time, or an occasional letter telling them they broke the rules. Kinda makes it hard to have a good relationship, amiright?
Your Outputs Are Your Ambassadors
That's why your outputs, like statements, letters, and especially reports are so incredibly important to your management company's success in the community. To board members, vendors and homeowners, the reports you generate are the sole representation of all the hard work your management company puts into the community finances.
Sure, maintenance is a highly visible aspect of managing a community. And an occasional paint job, new carpeting, or landscaping shows you are keeping the community beautiful. But there is only one way to represent the fact that you are keeping a watchful eye on the financial health of the community, and that is your reports.
Sometimes, those little paper ambassadors are the ONLY interaction that exists between the management company and the homeowner. They are your Kevin Bacon, connecting the many varied aspects of the community association into one coherent whole.
From maintaining the books, to making sure the money comes in on time, to creating a neighborly environment where all the services come on time and do what the community needs done, it all comes down to your financials. And the better they look, the better you look!
Putting Your Best Foot Forward
So what do yours look like? I don't mean how pretty they are, in terms of bright colors or shaded boxes. I mean how easy are they to understand? Do they present all of the information the board needs in a clear way?
When you are considering your community association management software, here are a few questions you want to make sure you can answer:
Can the software supply the reports I need to represent the data in the best way?
Can I customize the reports to display the data in a way that makes the board happy?
Can I add a cover page, branding or notes to the reports to make them more personal?
Can I generate a package of reports automatically to save my team time each month?
For TOPS [ONE] users, we are pleased to present our new custom report engine that allows users to customize the data, layout, header/footer and branding on your reports. TOPS [ONE] allows you to package these reports together with a cover page and index to make them easier for the many different people in your community to consume, and even emails them automatically on a schedule you can set.
Your reports look great, and they also read great, in a way that even someone who has never met the community manager can look at and easily understand - no matter how many degrees removed they are from Kevin Bacon.