Community Association Management professionals face many hurdles, ranging from frivolous lawsuits to client retention, but new survey results pinpoint some of the largest issues - which may surprise you.
About the Survey
We asked hundreds of community association management professionals a simple question: "What is the biggest issue facing the community association management industry today?" We received 357 responses. While responses were free-form, there were some surprising patterns that were revealed. We categorized those responses into 30 unique categories.
The Usual Suspects
Some of the more obvious issues were identified like keeping up with changing laws, management companies' constant struggle to increase profitability and Board politics.
My biggest challenge is $$$$.$$ to put it simply. Work is increasing and value for service is decreasing.
Competition continues to be a fear managers face, with such topics as employee turnover, weak marketing and associations going self managed ranking as top concerns.
What was surprising among these more obvious issues was how some of the issues that one might expect to rank high ranked relatively low, such as manager burnout and frivolous legislation, although those still are important issues facing some CAM professionals:
Our biggest challenges are Affordable Care Act Compliance and constantly dealing with lawsuits usually related to slip & falls or similar at associations.
I think we are the same as most companies, manager burn out. It is a very competitive business.
Communication plays a big role in the issues affecting the industry. From directly identified 'Poor Communications' to less specific responses on 'board politics', 'accountability to boards', 'homeowner education' and 'lack of professionalism', improving communications could solve a lot of the problems today's CAM professional faces.
I feel the biggest problem in this industry is lack of the knowledge on HOAs for homeowners. As we try to promote education with groups such as CAI it is still a struggle.
A large number of responses centered on the 'growing pains' currently being experienced by members of the industry. This is great news as it tells us that our industry is growing, but it's also a cry for help to help managers find solutions. This is also supported by issues like 'time management' and 'lack of automation'.
We are just in the growth process where I am unable to hire another accounting person but need one. I have created controls through the office so that I am not the only one doing A/P, financials and bank rec's. But if we can streamline some of these items, (A/P and bank rec's), it would help a great deal.
The top rated issue revealed by the study was 'Integration Between Tools'. Not only was it surprising to us that this was rated so highly, but it also sends a strong message to the vendors that service the community association management industry: CAM professionals want us to do a better job of working together.
I'm tired of disconnected and outdated systems. I want more flexibility, more report options. I want to give more access to outside people, such as owners/boards. I want to integrate online bill payments.
In fact, technology was a recurring theme throughout the responses, with people identifying outdated systems, leveraging technology and using the wrong tools for the job as issues affecting the industry.
We have too many different systems. Everything is pieced together: spreadsheets, some accounting software, lots of spreadsheets and too much paper and duplication of effort.
These survey results give us an interesting glimpse into the issues facing the community association management industry. Perhaps the best thing we can take away from it is the fact that there are many opportunities to improve, so even small changes in your business can have a huge impact on your success.