I am the Vice President and General Manager for Steward Property Services, Inc., located in Petaluma, CA. We are a small company that has a strong local reputation that has been built over twenty years of managing Common Interest Developments from Ukiah to San Rafael. We have a unique take on managing HOAs and prefer to work toward a sense of community, rather than as enforcement agents. However, every Board we manage and every Association we manage is unique and they all have their own priorities, which we try our best to satisfy.
When I started with this company over five years ago, the housing market was just beginning to crash. Foreclosures and bankruptcies were skyrocketing and our operational needs were multiplying faster than we could handle. This is when I started looking to consolidate our operations and use technology to increase efficiency in an effort to lower costs for our clients. We had been using software that was geared toward rental properties and creating customized communication using the Microsoft Office Suite.
As our business began to grow, and I was promoted into more of a supervisory position, there was no way for me to provide accurate or constructive oversight because everyone seemed to be "doing their own thing." When I came across TOPS software, a light came on. All of their features fit all of our needs and everything was bundled into one nice package, which also functioned as a centralized database for all of the information that we had previously had to create individual folders for. The housing of data was also attractive because much of this could be kept digitally and we could begin decreasing our paper use. I researched many competitors and many different types of programs.
The answer, for me, quickly became obvious. TOPS would be the perfect solution for our company. I worked with their sales department and expressed my problems and needs and they were able to define for me how TOPS could help. In 2008, we purchased the software with the intent of having our accounting department test it and become familiar with it, before introducing it to the management side of the house. This was incremental because we were able to first import all of our accounts from our previous software. Because we had our own unique needs, we chose to transfer all of the data ourselves, but if you are not that tech savvy, TOPS has conversion specialists that can work with almost any kind of database and get you up and running quickly.
TOPS worked with our banks so that we could import and export data for check writing, reconciliations, deposits and all other areas of accounting functionality. We were able to convert all of our properties as their fiscal cycles renewed and began 2009 with all of our accounts in TOPS. The hiccups were minimal, but I was sure to purchase their unlimited tech support, and this has become incredibly valuable, as we have progressed. They are so friendly and helpful with minor user issues, but when our server crashed and we had to convert all of our backup data to our new server, TOPS worked overtime to make sure that we were up and running as soon as possible. If we want to customize any of our operations within TOPS, tech support and their training department have helped us get there.
The training classes are fantastic and easy for any user, no matter the skill level. Once we transitioned this software to our managers, the reaction was immediate. Our managers actually thanked me for making their jobs easier. I helped them set up their form letters and CC&R tables, and suddenly their mountain of violation work had been streamlined and easily archived for reference. The reports helped them manage work orders, phone calls, and follow up on violations. I helped accounting set up their delinquency tables and tracking became a breeze. It was easier to train my successor on the delinquency process because TOPS streamlines and tracks the progress of the delinquency and using the job streaming function allowed the delinquency process to be completed in a matter of minutes, versus what used to take us three or four days.
I could type on and on about how valuable TOPS has been to our business. They are constantly evolving the software and developing partnerships with companies such as AtHomeNet.com, who created and manages Association websites for us and is able to work with TOPS so that users can securely login to their Association site and view pertinent accounting data and reports. I try to attend any seminar TOPS offers because their products keep evolving so rapidly, I don't want to miss out.
If you are thinking of transitioning software, I highly recommend TOPS for both small and large management companies. If you would ever like to speak with me about our experience, someone at TOPS can put you in touch with me. Or use the contacts listed in this review. I could not be happier with the choice we made. I hope you have success too!
The vendor has very nice and professional employees
The software is full of bugs and links mysteriously stop working. Print to screen might work on some reports, not others. Email a homeowner, no way. Cant open that link at all. After upgrading and buying the new Professional a year and a half ago the product is obsolete and not supported. They want us to pay additional $ a month to fix the errors in their program.
Jay, thank you for taking the time to share your opinion on TOPS. Feedback like yours keeps us honest and allows us to continually improve both as a company, and in our products themselves.
I am very sorry to hear that you have had some problems using the software. As I am sure you know, every software program (even the big boys!) have issues that sneak their way into the code. This is why we offer the monthly support plan for clients not only to have access to our world class support team, but also to provide you with regular updates to the software. More than just new features, these semi-annual updates include many bug fixes.
Because the product that you purchased is a stand-alone Windows product, the only way we can afford to provide the level of support we offer is to charge a monthly maintenance fee.
With our newer, SAAS products, support and updates are included in the monthly fees, but there is no way to do that for a one-time purchase. So yes. We do charge for support. But we do offer scaled plans that make it cost effective for smaller organizations like yours. And I promise you, it's worth the price.
Mike Hardy please get the issues with your first program corrected and don't sell your new one so fast. You made a lot of people unhappy.
The first program is easy to use and for someone who has a hard time learning something new. That's all I have to say!
Something is always wrong with the program. A/R goes off all the time and have to fix financials. Always something wrong where you have to call support and call Trapps. They work off 2 servers. New TOPS One is a mess and they will sell you with the accounting being all wrong and more issues than the first program. They don't have the software down correctly, too busy, not the easiest to use, doesn't have everything you need because they are still working it all out. TOPS One started too fast and they aren't and still aren't ready. They shouldn't be selling it but they are worried more for money than anything. Do yourself a favor, go with another program.
To run our company most efficiently.
It is web based so as long as you have an internet connection you can use it. It is very user-friendly to use, the people at TOPS are without a doubt outstanding to work with. One time we had an issue and TOPS staff spent the time on the phone with us to show us what WE were doing wrong not TOPS ONE.
We have used several products in the past and I can honestly say TOPS ONE blows them all away. There is not much in the way of bad things to say, with all software there are bugs and things we as users would love to see but the thing about TOPS ONE is they care and listen so if you are looking for something specific just ask, reach out to them talk to them they will accommodate you.
David, thank you so much for your kind words! we had a strong vision (http://www.topssoft.com/one/roadmap) when we built TOPS [ONE] to make a product that successfully served ALL of the stakeholders of a community association in one single platform. It is encouraging when customers can intuit and embrace that vision!
My overall experience with Tops One, considering I am a beginner with this software, has been a extensive learning one.
What I like most about the software is the easy navigation between the functions available. For example, posting payments thru the AR- Cash Receipts provided under the AR-Accounts Receivable tab. It's easy to post a payment on a unit owners account.
The least I like about the software are: 1) from an accountant perspective and having QuickBooks knowledge doing adjustments and rectifying ledger accounts are a bit confusing. The Debits and Credits seem to work backwards in this software which causes major confusion when making adjustments. 2) Is not having an auto function for bank transaction integration . Currently all deposits made through the bank, the bank provides a text file which we then upload into Tops One (lockbox cash reciepts). For expenses we have to post manually. Quickbooks has a bank integration module which downloads bank transactions into the software which then the accountant can review and post with one click of a button without having to manually input transactions. Having this kind of integration will definitely provide a more realistic and real time bank balances.
Nina, thank you so much for submitting this feedback! We¿re always glad to hear that the software is simple to navigate, and while we know it comes with a bit of a learning curve, we hope that our training and implementation team has made that educational experience a pleasant one!
If your goal is to run your office efficiently then I suggest you do not use tops one!! I was so excited after talking to the sales rep about all the cool changes we could make and not one of the promises turned out!
I have sent at least 10 emails to ask them when I am getting my training on the compliance and management side of the software and I was told the rep will call me and then after more emails from me i was told some other rep will call me then after another email today they told me the third rep is going to be reaching out to me. That is what inspired the review! I can't believe this company is able to stay in business or are they on their way out and that is why all the issues many companies are having.
I also called other companies across Utah and Arizona that use tops and I have asked them if they are having the same problems and I have had every one of the companies tell me they are looking to change! Don't buy this product you will regret your choice.
The next step to get back my money/training and misdirected promises would be get a lawyer involved. Sad that they can just be honest and fair to their clients
One year later and still haven't been fully trained like I was promised they took thousands of dollars from me no problem. I have to pay on time but they don't have to deliver on anything.
The support takes way too long to get answers or they don't have answers
The emails only go out in Tops software's name and you can't customize the subject line if emailed not the scheduler
Many people saying they aren't getting the emails from the software even though it says it was sent
The financials always have mistakes that they can't explain then we have to wait for them to fix them
Annual budget to update is very difficult to do. not user-friendly. you can hide the zeroed line items while updated the budget. good luck!
They say the financial layout is customizable but yet when we ask if we can do things they say well you can't do that!
Our CPA says The default financial isn't set up to the standard of typical financial statement
Unable to delete certain data that they said we could during the demo
The tradition has been a painful process! They said it is easy! it is not!!
They said it works good with a Mac computer but it doesnt! yes it is web based but any docs downloaded or files you need to work with are not MAC friendly
Reports take very long to download! Custom reports are not user friendly
It crashes and times out
It does not have simple commands like putting tables in alphabetical order or descending/ascending order. It also does not imp/exp very good
Marc, thank you for posting your review in so many places, we have really got to stop meeting like this!
I know that you have spent excessive time with our support team and with Teri Perez, our support manager, and that you have experienced a resolution of many, if not all of the issues listed here.
I appreciate that you continue to be a user of TOPS ONE, as a show of faith in our commitment to our clients and their needs. We promise to continue to work hard to win back your love and affection!
I have always had an extremely good experience with TOPS from tech support to sales to management! I love the product!
TOPS[ONE] is an easy to use product. It is intuitive and has made the transition from TOPSPro to ONE a pretty smooth process. TOPS has recently upgraded their support and it is excellent. I get quick, knowledgeable help. Training was thorough. New, innovative services are continuously added. TOPS is extremely responsive to customer feedback and requests.
There are some things that aren't as easy to use as in TOPSPro, but after talking to TOPS, I have found out those things are coming in the 2nd quarter.
On paper it looks great and appears to be a great value - if you are a single user this may be the product for you based on price.
This company has fallen behind so far compared with their competition. They stopped innovating and placed no value in customer support. We have 300 plus communities with multiple offices in multiple states and I could not recommend Tops to anyone but a self managed community. Tops was costing our company over $50k per year working out problems that should have been addressed by Tops. The amount of lost data and the rush to deliver new updates that have not been tested cost us so much. I am the owner and have tried everything to resolve the issues we had - we finally made a move and it was the best decision. It was painful but what a difference in made for our clients and team. I am the owner of the company and I would be happy to answer any questions: Justin Scott www.hoamco.com
Justin, words cannot express how disheartening it is to read your review. I have personally worked with HOAMCO over the years and you have always been a valued client.
I can assure you that we have definitely not stopped innovating - quite the opposite, we have probably taken on more innovations than we really should have. With three major products to actively support, our customer service team has struggled in recent months to scale up to the demand of new clients. That is no excuse. We are actively making changes in our infrastructure to accommodate the demand, but I can understand (sadly) how this is too little, too late for you. We wish you the best.
Now that the pains of set up are over, we are all loving TOPS One. Since it is a new system they still have some bugs to work out; however, I have found the support team to be very responsive. Their enhancement program is nice, it allows you to recommend changes to upgrade the system to better suit your business needs. You will need to have a comprehensive plan in place, starting with the accounting transition and the patience to work through the transition. I learned a tremendous amount during this time and feel like I truly have a solid grasp on the accounting functions and reporting much better than beforehand.
Love having all property, accounting and resident information at my fingertips. Great for onsite managers. Provides real time reports and transparency of management operations to the board. Paying for itself double fold!
Set up was far from painless. Would definitely recommend the TOPS One Support Team find a way to assist in the transition by providing a comprehensive preparation plan.
The joke I have always used about Tops is that it was designed in 1991 and not updated since then. I fear that is too close to accurate.
It has nearly every feature that one could need for property management. They now have APIs that can be used with outside services which is helpful.
It is difficult to use and it is clunky. Contacting customer service is a disaster, takes at least an hour, and while they address the issues they will not explain how so that you can avoid the hour plus long call next time it happens (and there will be a next time)
TOPS ONE has been a great time saver for our large scale HOA, we are able to provide accurate financial billing and information to our homeowners.
I like the integration with other partners and the user friendly system
I would like to see more options for customizing the system to our needs
Thanks for your kind words Dana! We are so glad that TOPS ONE is saving you time and helping your board and homeowners!
Our product team is always available to listen to feedback on how we can continue to improve the software to meet your needs. You can reach out to them via the support tools inside TOPS ONE.
Overall we are very happy with TopsOne. It was a slow start because there were many kinks that needed to be worked out but the IT staff were great and helped us along the way.
The versatility of the software. There is so much that this software is capable of doing.
The Cash Receipts option. It gets confused and applies money incorrectly at times. I wish you could edit the batch instead of having to delete and start over.
Hi Vicki! Thank you for letting us know about your issue with the Cash Receipts option. We¿ve forwarded this feedback on to the appropriate team. Our goal at TOPS is to constantly better ourselves and our products to best serve the needs of the industry and our clients. We¿ve also let our support staff know that you appreciate them! They love hearing from clients about the work they do. We look forward to continuing to serve you!
Overall, it's a good software package. It's constantly growing and changing with updates. I hope to eventually see it exceed our expectations.
TOPS (One) is a very easy program to learn. I find it more user-friendly than TOPS Pro, its predecessor. The TOPS customer support is great at accepting feedback and correcting and editing issues that need to be updated or changed to fit the industry.
The fact sheet is limited. It needs to be expanded and it lacks the capability to print it off. Also, once a homeowner's CCR is closed, it no longer shows on the homeowner's history page.
There were no benefits except to learn to read reviews before purchasing a product.
Easy of use when it does work, easy to navigate through. The cloud based is a nice feature as well.
It is just released before it is ready to be. Features don't work, the accounting is awful and when you try to get customer support you will pull your hair out. I takes over 48 hours to get someone to call you to tell you it's not something they can solve and has to go to Development which never gets solved.
Joanna, I am sorry to hear your frustrations. As you said, it is a new product and it is (and will continue) to be improved. In the time since you reviewed, we have made continual updates to the app, addressing many of the issues you mention. We would love to hear an update on your review if you feel your experience has improved!
RUN AWAY FROM TOPS
Looks nice and seems easy to use at first glance but does not really work. Search bar was about the only thing that really worked and it took a few weeks before they could make it work.
Does not work. We spent months unable to run reconciliations or generate form letters from TOPSone. No support or help to resolve basic functionality issues.
Thank you for your honest review, we are so sorry that you have had this experience.
When TOPS [ONE] was released, we became increasingly aware that the product had its merits, but our processes needed work. We’ve spent the year since its release modifying those processes to better accommodate the product and our clients, as well as making routine updates to reach feature parity with TOPS Professional. One of those updates includes the letters in TOPS [ONE], you can find it and all of our latest updates here: http://www.topssoft.com/blogs/tops-customers/topic/program-updates.
We hope that you will reach out to our support team at (800) 599 – 5689 or by creating a ticket at support.topssoft.com to let us do everything we can to resolve your issues with navigating our product. Thank you for your feedback, we are listening, and we are doing everything we can to make the changes necessary to better serve our clients.
We have researched several other software packages, and TOPS1 appears to be the most cost effective choice moving forward. TOPS1 provides the best balance of accounting and member service options for our HOA. TOPS1 includes premium support, so that takes care of our issue with support.
Over the years we have developed a good relationship with staff at TOPS. We are able to use the software for most of our member and accounting tasks. There are excellent form letter options, gate/parking permit tracking and CC&R enforcement tracking.
We were disappointed when it became necessary to pay extra (double) for premium support to wait on hold for support. Currently it can take a couple of days for TOPS to call us back on issues. We lost about 5 days in 2017 due to waiting for call backs.
The integration from my previous software to TOPS went very well with their data conversion. The product is very easy to use and much easier to navigate to get to the function that you want than with my previous software, Asyst Data Group. I really like their violation letter tracking and generating module with the only negative being that you cannot print out just a list of homeowners that are at the fine and hearing stage. I love their work order module with the ability to track work orders by tenant. Entering and printing or emailing the work order is so easy. Being in California, I was worried about customer support from Florida but they have extended their support hours to cover the west coast. Negatives ..I wish the Expense GL printed on the vendor checks and that when you are entering invoices in the Accounts Payable module that there was a quick button to get to the payment history for the vendor you are entering an invoice for rather than having to go back to look up that vendor on a separate screen. The good news is that they are constantly listening to input from users and try to add functionality if enough users request changes. I can't say enough good things about them. They really have been a great help any time I need them!
Jim, thank you so much for the heartfelt review. I think you will be pleased to hear that we absorbed all of the feedback you gave us, and have released a number of these requests into the product already! I encourage you to check out our product updates here: http://www.topssoft.com/blogs/tops-customers/topic/program-updates
Well Worth the investment !
Tops One has been our platform from day one. We find the solution to be easy to learn yet full featured. Support organization is quick to respond! And features roll out all the time.
Some early issues, that since were able to resolve. Like the ability to add features without action on part.
It's an okay program not good for someone who is not bookkeeping savy
The community side of this program is great for tracking monthly payments from residents and work orders
If you do not have a solid bookkeeping background this is not the program for you. Also, the technical support team takes days to address your problems
We purchased TOPS software almost a year ago and from day one the software has been unstable. We were sold on features that don't work, i.e. iPhone app that is no long supported, labeling pictures with date stamp or GPS data, etc. Everyone at their company has a different way of accomplishing or doing things, so every time you call, you get a different answer. TOPS GO is very unstable, i.e. can't upload pictures, can't save GPS tagging, etc.
The software has so much potential.
The desktop version is written in an antiquated software language which limited many of the data fields. The on-line version is severely limited on features.
Hi Thomas, I am so sorry to hear that you were dissatisfied with your TOPS experience. I appreciate you taking the time to spell out your issues, and I wanted to address them in kind:
1) The iPhone app is no longer supported because we updated to GO 2.0, a device independent web app. Every client on the old version got a free upgrade to this version.
2) GPS encoding and time stamps for images are stored in our database, not in the image metadata. There are many apps you can get on your phone if you want it to store in the actual picture file.
3) Because of the open structure of TOPS, there is more than one way to do just about every function.
I have reached out to Stefanie, your Account Exec to call you to develop an action plan to resolve any issues you continue to have.
I also recommend you take a new look at TOPS [ONE], our brand new platform for accounting and management. It is very feature robust and sports a modern interface.
Andrea Drennen, Marketing Manager
Utilizing TOPS has helped with managing our 602 home community.
The ability for our Board and for our accounting to be able to access and use the system is really great feature.
It is difficult sometime if you run across ad issue that you need to wait for the support team to get back to you. Although, once they do they are very helpful!
Shiela, great to hear from a self-managed community that is using TOPS [ONE]! Giving the board the rights to access the system is one of the great benefits of a web-based community association management software.
For support, I encourage you to check out the in-app help system. It is extremely comprehensive, and best of all, no wait times!
I came into the property management business knowing nothing and tops for sure eased me into the business of it and now I am pretty comfortable with it all.
Easy to access and learn. Keeps everything organized I need on a daily basis.
Hard to edit tablets in the soft system. Wish you could do it instead of having to add a whole new one
Thank you for your feedback, Greg! It¿s always great to hear from those who are brand new to the industry, and we¿re so glad that using TOPS has helped your learning experience! Don¿t forget that you can access our educational content to learn more, not just about our software, but about industry best practices and know-how, on our website at www.topssoft.com.
I have been a Tops user since late 1999. Our organization is comprised of 16 Neighborhood Associations and a Master Association. Our organization is the property management for all 17 associations as they are all located within one Premier Country Club. I was forced to look for new software as the software that I was using became unavailable as the owner of the (one man) company suddenly past away.
I was very happy with the software, but had no idea that most of the components were not written down. He was brilliant except he should have shared the information with someone else. Now, as I was researching for a new program, my main concern was to find an established company that was not a (one man) show. There were several excellent programs that I looked at, very impressive; however most of them were a (one man) show. I found several companies that were using Tops Software and I went to a couple of them to see Tops in action. It was very impressive and very stable. That is how I decided to pick Tops!
I am now using Tops 4.0. In the beginning, Tops was quite easy to initiate. Tops came with a training package, which included a Tops Representative to help me with the set up. We, Tops and I, have had a long relationship now and I have no regrets. I am constantly learning the new upgrades and I am very happy that I made the right choice! Tops also offers excellent customer support! I never have to fear when I need assistance as the return call or online response is very quick! Thank you Tops Software!!
It meets 95% of the needs for a HOA community, with many additional modules.
Has a good owner data base.
Good tech support.
Great program for the cost.
Vendor has been around for a long time.
Does not work well with large communities that have a lot of data, reports take to long to process.
Flex data fields are to cumbersome to get good reports.
Custom reports is complicated, not user friendly.
We have been a Tops customer for over 6 years and can’t imagine how we operated without it. Starting up my management business back in 2004 I came from a large management company that used self-made software, which was fairly inexpensive. I searched several companies including TOPS and ended up purchasing another companies software primarily due to price. I used the software for less than 6 months and the time I was spending trying to maneuver through the glitches and the hours spent on the phone with their customer support I could have paid for TOPS software twice over. I have recommended Tops to many colleagues in my industry. It never seems to amaze me when they call me to tell me how easy it is to use and how great their customer support team is. TOPS has streamlined our business and we wouldn’t consider ever using anything else.
I have used TOPS trainers on a few occasions to come to our office and I would recommend that anyone purchasing TOPS hire a trainer to come in and train you for a few days. It is easy to use, but much more efficient with the training. We have used most of the modules provided and our newest two are the maintenance modular, which is so much easier than trying to do it the old fashion way and the TOPS go, which we are just starting to use. The managers are asking how they made it without this feature before. In my opinion TOPS has cornered the market when it comes to Association Software. Great Job and keep bringing us those new features; we love them!