Automation and You: Implementing Workflows

This is an excerpt from our new E-book: "Future-Proof: Automation and Your Community Association Management Company."

When you know what processes you currently have in place, you can begin streamlining them by automating the repetitive actions, and eliminating the unnecessary ones. One of the first things that can be done is creating a workflow. 

Building Workflows

Start by eliminating unnecessary or duplicate steps and arranging the workflow in the most logical order. Any simple changes that can be made, such as moving the printer from one end of the office to another to easily reduce or eliminate a step should happen at this phase, too.

Next, evaluate the remaining steps, and especially the details of each step to determine which aspects truly need a human to do the entire process, which ones just need a human to provide oversight, and which can be completely automated.

For example, I once visited a management company where the community managers had completely taken control over collections and made the process so convoluted that the company had to hire an extra accounting person to manage it.

First, they would have to print an Aged Owner report, then use a physical stamp to mark accounts that were 90+ days late, then they would give the stamped report to the property manager, then the manager would write on the paper whether to send demand letters or send to attorney. Then the new bookkeeper would have to enter this all into Excel so they could track if they already sent a demand letter last month. And that had to be repeated every month!

Not only was this process convoluted and long, it confused the accounting department and undermined their ability to maintain complete financial records in their management softwareIf this were the process we were evaluating, we would first question whether the managers really needed to physically stamp the paper. Was that just to make them feel better, or was there a logical reasoning behind it?

If the former, then what if instead the accounting team were to email a digital copy of the posting report before they actually posted so the managers could sign off on it? That would eliminate the run-around that was happening with pushing the papers back and forth, as well as prevent the need for an additional employee just to do double data entry.

Alternatively, the management executive might simply tell the managers that they needed to trust the accounting department and eliminate that extra process in its entirety!

Either way, the management executive has increased the speed at which the accounting department can process delinquent homeowners, and freed up an accounting staff member so they can do something else. They have also freed up the manager’s time from having to go through all those reports with a rubber stamp. So now the managers can handle a larger portfolio of communities, and there is an extra accounting team member to handle the load there.

Understanding the ways automation can streamline your processes and how simple it is to do so is one of the most important parts of the set-up. The more you know about the specific in's and out's of your day to day tasks, the better your technology solution can serve you and free up your time for everything else!

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