Nobody knows how many condominium corporations continue to store paper records in filing cabinets or dusty storerooms. When information is needed a frantic search for that crucial document can take hours or days. More often than not that needed contract, e-mail or invoice is not found.
The cost to these communities can be enormous. People tasked to search document files instead of what they are paid to do, unnecessary payments to vendors because of missing documents, resident complaints from failed service commitments and lawsuits lacking substantiating documentation are just some of the consequences.
There can be resistance to new technology because some fear the unknown. These people prefer to stay with “the way we have always done it” without acknowledging costs.
For those still in denial about paper and record keeping here a few facts.
There is a cost to paper
There is a cost to receiving, managing, storing and searching paper. The cost is paid in employee salaries, errors and work that doesn’t get done. As these costs show up under salary and other line items, there is no easy way to calculate the savings of eliminating paper.
Every e-mail, service record and communication should be stored for easy access
There is no way to know in advance what documents will have to be tracked down in the future. Service may not be completed to expectation. A resident’s concern may not have been adequately addressed. An invoice may have been received and paid – more than once. Any of these situations, and others, can require the tracking down of prior documentation or communication. Considering the number of residents and vendors involved with a condo community these situations are likely to come up on a regular basis.
Storing records by vendor or resident interaction, and making them searchable by keyword, date, project or other criteria makes all records more easily accessible. It reduces, by a large margin, the time and risk of being unable to find crucial documents when needed.
Electronic record keeping offers innumerable added benefits
Once stored in electronic format records are easily reproduced and redistributed. They can be linked to all related parties and projects for organization and searching.
Less time spent searching and reproducing records offer tangible benefits including financial savings. Fortunately, technology for implementation is readily available. Accounting software is popular for keeping track of all financial transactions and commitments. Condo management software offers similar capabilities for most other communications. Both are inexpensive solutions whose cost is easily outweighed by their advantages.