Less Time Bookkeeping, More Time Serving Members
How the Apartment Association of Greater Orlando was able to better fulfill its mission after finding incredible accounting efficiency with novi AMS
The Apartment Association of Greater Orlando (AAGO) has more than 1,000 organization members and 5,000 people active with the association. Established in 1972, AAGO fuels advocacy at all levels of government, provides education of the highest caliber, and fosters countless opportunities for career and business development. AAGO represents more than 172,000 multi-family units, making it one of the largest apartment associations in the United States.
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The Apartment Association of Greater Orlando (AAGO) had a big problem: its AMS didn’t work well with Quickbooks, and as a result, its accounting was a mess. Transactions were commonly in the wrong account, duplicate transactions were a nightmare, and AAGO’s staff had to spend hundreds of hours a year cleaning up their books.
Worse, AAGO’s members were getting frustrated by the these accounting problems. Often AAGO’s member invoices would be sent late, or payments would be applied incorrectly, so members would get an unwelcome surprise of owing money for an old expense. AAGO’s A/R ballooned and cash flow lagged as it struggled with accurate and timely invoicing of its members.
As AAGO grew, these problems compounded, and AAGO’s CEO, Chip Tatum, didn’t have confidence in his own financial reporting. He would personally spend hours reviewing and correcting errors in his financials before presenting them to his Board each quarter. “It's very intimidating not having 100% confidence in your financials,” Chip said. Annual audits would take five or more days, wasting a lot of his team’s time. “We finally got to a peak frustration point, and we knew we had to make a change,” Chip said.
Enter novi AMS and it’s Two-Way 24/7 Quickbooks Sync
One of the core concepts behind novi AMS is its two-way continuous sync with Quickbooks Online. Unlike AAGO’s prior solution, which only had a one-way error-prone Quickbooks data dump, novi AMS has an error-free two-way sync that seamlessly syncs records in the background 24/7. “We knew right away this was going to be a lifesaver,” Chip said. “The Quickbooks Online sync is wonderful - we can update any record or post any transaction in novi AMS and it immediately appears in Quickbooks Online. And, the fact that novi AMS’ interface matches Quickbooks Online’s interface makes the experience really intuitive.”
Even The Most Skeptical Bookkeeper Trusts novi AMS
“After we moved to novi AMS, for the first two months, I double checked every transaction and sync,” said Dominica Hurst, AAGO’s Bookkeeping Manager. “Because I was so scarred by our old AMS duplicating transactions, messing up classifications and having sync problems, I felt compelled to double check everything. But I soon realized novi AMS’ sync was awesome.”
Event audits soon became a breeze. “The day we knew we had made it with novi was the day our auditors came in and said “what did you guys do?”,” said Chip. “Audits used to to be a five day process.. now, with novi, they’re done in a day. Novi has literally made our audits 80% faster because our records are so much better organized and more accurate.”
Amplifying AAGO’s Mission and the Change AAGO can Create
The time savings novi AMS has provided AAGO has been instrumental in AAGO’s ability to fulfill its mission and create change. "Every minute you spend on the back of the house stuff is less time you can spend with your members,” said Chip.
“Having novi AMS is like suddenly having an extra staff member”
- Chip Tatum, AAGO CEO
Beyond helping the bookkeeper, novi AMS has had a major impact on all areas of AAGO’s reach. For example, AAGO’s VP of Member Relations is now doing far less manual membership registrations and renewals, which has freed her up to spend significantly more time with members. Before novi AMS, only about 60 of AAGO’s member representatives would renew their memberships or pay for events online. Now, more than 1,000 do - a 1,030% increase in members administering their own accounts.
With novi AMS, AAGO’s Programs Manager spends far less time manually entering event registrations and invoices, because members are able to easily register themselves and their teams. This enables her to spend much more time working with members on their professional development.
"Novi has really has been a game changer for us. It freed up so much administrative time across my staff that it has really enabled us to focus on our mission and creating change,” Chip said.
Dramatic Improvements in A/R and Cash Flow
For AAGO, one unexpected benefit of using novi AMS was the positive impact on cash flow. Because members can now easily manage their account and pay online, A/R has decreased significantly. And, because it’s easy for members to renew or register for events early and pay right away, AAGO’s cash flow has improved as well. The amount of time AAGO has to spend tracking down past due invoices has significantly decreased.
“Novi has some really cool features that help us manage our A/R,” said Chip. “For example, if one of our members’ accounts is significantly past due, novi can automatically prevent them from registering for upcoming events until their past due balance is paid.”
A Dev & Support Team that Really Responds to Customer Feedback
“Having used many other systems in the past, I can tell you that it’s almost unheard of for a software company to make its developers available to talk to customers and consider their feedback,” said Chip. “But novi consistently does that. They truly respond to their customers and make improvements based on their requests.”
“We made the strategic decision from day one that we wanted to involve Association Executives in our development process,” said Pete Zimek, Founder of novi AMS. “We’re talking to our AE clients every week, incorporating their requests and responding to their feedback. We think this is part of our special sauce - a competitive advantage that will keep novi as the most easy-to-use AMS for years to come. This relationship with our clients allows us to amplify the change their associations can create.”
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