From the beginning of StoneKastle, using technology was critical. The company began with an older version of TOPS software, TOPS Professional, a Windows-based system. “It was very user-friendly,” she said. Lori also surveyed accountants in the industry who appreciated the software’s functionality. With those endorsements, StoneKastle began using TOPS software.
StoneKastle began integrating TOPS [ONE] in June 2019, which was fortunate timing. Just months later, the pandemic interrupted work-life for many, but having cloud technology firmly in place meant the company could continue operating as normally as possible. ‘If we hadn’t made the shift to TOPS [ONE] [with its cloud-based technology], we would have been in a world of hurt,” Lori said. “Going virtual has been the biggest thing.”
In addition to the advantages StoneKastle realized from TOPS [ONE] cloud technology, the solution made it easier to handle daily tasks.
Billing, for example, used to be frustrating. Files wouldn’t run properly, and Lori frequently had to rerun them four or five times. “I was pulling my hair out because it was so difficult,” she said. Now, however, TOPS [ONE]integrates perfectly with the billing company to run reports accurately the first time. “Billing is not an issue,” Lori said.
Board members use their iPads to access the TOPS [ONE] board portal, so they can have the necessary information at their fingertips, which speeds decision-making.
TOPS [ONE] can be configured to meet the different requests of HOA boards within communities. StoneKastle can now customize reporting to make tasks more efficient and accurate. With more access and transparency, homeowners and board members can get questions and concerns addressed quickly, building trust and HOA satisfaction.
TOPS [ONE] allows StoneKastle to send email blasts to residents, keeping them informed in a timely manner. Another function that helps business run better are resident portals, which will make it easier and quicker for communities to pay their dues directly. Residents can also contact the HOA through the portal, saving the HOA from having to pay for another website.
Lori anticipates integrating more functions to save time, money, and paper. Soon, homeowners will get invoices online instead of receiving paper ones by postal mail. This improvement will save the company thousands of dollars a month as well as significantly decrease processing time. Even better, it will improve accuracy and eliminate problems StoneKastle periodically experiences with the current billing house, she said.
Once StoneKastle fully deploys the document management function, homeowners can access their accounts and look up and answer many of their own questions, eliminating the need to contact the StoneKastle office. That frees Lori’s staff to streamline their work and focus on other complex HOA issues.
Although StoneKastle may have had some growing pains along the way, fueled by the technology of TOPS [ONE], Lori’s vision of her company being a different type of HOA has materialized.
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