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Building Digital Skills in Community Association Management

July 13, 2023
digital skills community association management

The community association management (CAM) industry is caught between a rock and a hard place. In a study by the Foundation for Community Association Research (FCAR), 91% of respondents said they’ve seen expenses increase in 2023, a byproduct of rising material costs and inflation. Still, they’re under pressure to keep fees low while delivering the same services and amenities their homeowners have come to expect.  

As a result, some community association management businesses are turning to technology to help lower overhead. In a recent survey conducted by AvidXchange and the Community Associations Institute (CAI), we found that 27% of community association management professionals and board members consider “identifying efficiencies to save costs” as the highest priority in 2023.  

Transforming Finance Functions with Technology

Whether automating manual tasks or enhancing data analysis, finance leaders across the community association management industry are implementing new technologies to help their teams work more efficiently and impactfully. Of the community association management professionals and board members we recently surveyed with CAI, 38% said their organization has already adopted AP automation, while 15% are actively considering it.  

Gartner says 40% of finance roles will be new or significantly reshaped by 2025 due to technology. It’s undeniable that emerging technologies like machine learning, automation and AI are changing the way we work. It’s unlikely that these tools will replace human workers. However, to keep pace with these changes, finance pros need to hone their digital skills.  

Finance Staff Embrace Digitization

There’s a perception that finance workers are against the digitization of their roles. However, most of the AP professionals AvidXchange and IOFM surveyed in our 2023 AP Professional Career Satisfaction Survey are receptive to automation technology. In our survey with CAI, 85% of respondents agreed that tools and technology improve professional development and career advancement.  

Many finance professionals view automation as a way to streamline processes, reduce errors and increase efficiency. Sixty-eight percent of the community association management professionals we surveyed with CAI agreed or strongly agreed that tools and technology also mitigate burnout.  

The value of digitization in AP departments may not have always been clear but given the current economic conditions, labor shortage and push for remote work, it’s time to embrace technology rather than resist it.  

Leveling Up with Upskilling

Upskilling programs are one of the most compelling ways to bridge the digital skills gap in community association management. Upskilling refers to training and development opportunities that help employees expand their job-related skills and knowledge to advance their career path. These programs can take many forms, including online courses, in-person training and on-the-job learning. By investing in upskilling programs, organizations can help their employees develop the skills they need to succeed in a digitized workplace.  

Employees aren’t the only ones who benefit from upskilling programs. Investing in these educational initiatives ultimately benefits the broader organization by increasing productivity, improving employee engagement and driving innovation.  

Employees who receive training are better equipped to take on new challenges and are more likely to stay with the organization long-term, which is essential in community association management where turnover mitigation is a challenge. Additionally, upskilling programs can help organizations identify new opportunities and ways to streamline operations, leading to business growth without additional headcount.  

Most importantly, employees want it. Upskilling is becoming a sought-after benefit. Our recent AvidXchange, IOFM survey found that 84% of AP professionals said learning/skills development is “moderately” or “extremely” important when evaluating a new job opportunity. Nearly 60% of respondents have been working in AP for 10+ years proving that even tenured staff are interested in continuous professional improvement.  

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