Archives: May 19, 2022

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How Housing Societies Deal with Hard Water

Water is one of the most valued resources for any habitat. From drinking to mopping floors, the average Indian uses 135 litres per capita per day. Despite being water-rich, India’s huge population means that the country remains water-stressed. An uneven supply of water also puts stress on areas with scarce water resources, such as the NCR, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu. 

With highly limited availability of freshwater, most households today depend on groundwater to meet their daily requirements. However, the available groundwater often has a high concentration of minerals, which means that most of it is hard water, leading to a high requirement for treating hard water in housing societies.

What is hard water? 

Hard water is a type of water that contains salts of magnesium and calcium, in the form of chlorides, bicarbonates, and sulfates. It may also contain ferrous iron. Hardness of water can be temporary or permanent. Hardness caused by calcium carbonate can be resolved by boiling the water. However, hardness caused by other salts is permanent as it cannot be treated by simply boiling the water. 

The continued use of hard water for domestic purposes can lead to multitude of problems, which can include:

  • Health problems like kidney stones
  • Itchy skin and dry hair
  • Deposition of scum on utensils after washing
  • Scaling of plumbing fixtures and appliances, eventually leading to their breakdown.

Hard water is also ineffective when used with soap. The calcium and magnesium ions in the water form an insoluble gelatinous curd when combined with the higher fatty acids of a soap. It means that you will find it hard to produce any lather. These complications mean that hard water cannot be used for any domestic purpose, whether mopping floors or cooking food, without prior treatment.  

How to deal with hard water

At home, there are multiple means of treating hard water that can range from home remedies to commercial solutions. These include:

  • Boil it. However, this will work only in case of temporary hard water. 
  • Get water softening solutions that contain chelating agents. The solution is added to hard water to soften it. 
  • Use a final rinse of vinegar after hard water usage. For instance, use a final vinegar rinse after washing your hair or utensils to remove any chances of salt accumulation. 
  • Scum and scaling on appliances can be treated by commercially available products that are designed for these purposes. 
  • You can use commercially available home water softening systems that are attached to the faucet or to the central water supply. 

How societies treat hard water

With a high density of population, housing societies depend heavily on groundwater supply to meet their demand. To make this groundwater, which is mostly hard water, suitable for domestic consumption, housing societies today follow a centralised water softening mechanism which is based on RO technology. These industrial RO treatment plants can be highly effective in reducing TDS or Total Dissolved Solids by as much as 80%-90%. A water meter is attached to the water softener plant to monitor the quantity and in measuring regenerated water. The water should also be tested regularly to ascertain its functioning. 


Budgeting 101: How to Optimise Your Society’s Spending & Improve Cost Efficiency

As a governing body, budgeting is one of the key functions of a management committee. With the estimation of revenues and expenses, a budget forms the financial foundation of a housing complex which decides the allocation of funds towards various categories. Smart budgeting can help a society to cut costs, thereby increasing the allocation of resources towards key areas. Hence, one of the Treasurer’s main roles is to track budget variance and ensure optimisation. 

What is Budget Optimisation?

Budget optimisation is the process of allocating funds in the most efficient manner to realise a desired objective, whether to reduce expenses or to improve the delivery of services. Budget variance is one of the important tools in achieving budget optimization. It is the process of periodically measuring the difference between budgeted and actual figures for a particular category, such as housekeeping. 

Budget optimisation is also important to ensure cost management. By allocating an appropriate budget, a treasurer can put a ceiling on the expenditure for different categories, such as security, housekeeping, or renovations. However, its success depends on the availability of adequate allocation for each category. This is where budget variance plays an important role. 

How does the ApnaComplex Budget Variance Report help in ensuring budget optimisation?

As a comparative measure, the objective of budget variance is to empower treasurers and financial controllers to improve their forecasts. A favourable budget variance indicates gains or profits while an unfavourable variance indicates a budget shortfall. The ApnaComplex Budget Variance Report is a revolutionary tool that digitises variance reports, enabling MC members to keep a constant track of their spending. This can help them to:

  • Compare actual expenses with budgeted expenses at any given time. 
  • Track accuracy of forecast, improving its effectiveness over time. 
  • Put a cap on expenses when the report indicates overspending, thereby controlling overall expenditure. 
  • Identify areas that see consistent overspending 
  • Facilitate financial reporting and management 
  • Validate additional allocation of funds when required
  • Identify areas that need better financial management
  • Save time and effort by automating variance calculations 

More ApnaComplex budgeting tools to improve optimisation

The ApnaComplex automated accounting function offers many other tools that can further help in improving cost optimisation. These include:

Removing chances of untraceable expenses: One of the challenges in managing the finances for a large complex is keeping a tab on various expenses. The billing and collection module in the accounting software mandates recording every financial transaction, removing chances of fraudulent or missed entries. This means that the MC, at any given point, can trace a detailed account of every expense. 

Ensuring on-time collections: Timely collection of maintenance is vital in ensuring the society’s revenue streams. The GST-compliant Society Billing & Accounting feature by ApnaComplex completely automates the process of calculating and issuing notices for maintenance payments every month, ensuring on-time payments. It identifies and notifies defaulters, thereby reducing the chances of missing or incorrect payments. By automating all accounting functions, this feature also reduces the society’s accounting work by more than 80%. 

Tracking expenses: With the Expense Tracker feature, the Treasurer can check expenses under each category. It is a vital tool in keeping a constant track of spendings as they occur. 

Improving financial management: The fully automated accounting functions are designed to remove any chances of human error or fraud in financial transactions. The digitisation of the financial records allows for complete transparency of data where expenses can be tracked to the source. This data is vital in improving the financial management of the society by identifying areas of high expense, trace performance of assets, and help in cutting down on avoidable expenditure. 

If you want to learn more about our budget optimisation tools, get in touch with us at support@apnacomeplex. Our team will help you understand the various features you can use for reducing costs and improving your balance sheet!


Importance of a Management Committee

If we see the residents of a housing society as a small community, the management committee or MC is the governing body for this community. Although not entrusted with the wide-reaching powers of an elected government, their roles, functions, and responsibilities are very similar to our elected representatives. The management committee is responsible for the overall upkeep of the community, its assets, and improving the lifestyle of its residents.

What is a management committee?

A management committee is a group of people who are entrusted to run a housing society. In a cooperative housing society, the management committee is elected by the members of the general body during the annual general meeting. The election rules can differ as per the model bylaws. 

Typically, the number of members in a management committee depends on the number of units. To qualify, a candidate must be above 18 years of age, a resident of the housing society, and must have cleared all dues to the complex within three months of nomination. Every committee must have at least one woman. Since there is no ban on re-election, MC members often have a very long tenure. 

Importance of a management committee

As the governing body of a housing complex, the management committee holds a vital position in enacting different policies, managing finances, and ensuring the general upkeep of the society. 

Management of the complex: The key function of the MC is to ensure the smooth functioning of the various maintenance activities of the complex. This includes regular cleaning, asset management, landscaping, and general beautification. The MC also periodically undertakes reviews, repairs, and renovation of various assets, such as gym or playing equipment, lifts, walkways, or other common areas and facilities. 

Collection and utilisation of funds: The MC uses various avenues to collect funds, including parking fee, maintenance charges, and non-occupancy charges, to maintain the reserve and sinking fund for the complex. In addition, the the committee may also collect funds from residents for a special purpose. These rates and charges are fixed by the MC from time to time and in accordance with the society’s bye-laws. The committee may also opt for alternative sources of collecting revenues. These can include charging different vendors or leveraging different marketing or branding opportunities in the complex.

Vendor management: A housing complex can have multiple vendors, including produce stalls, grocer, food or beverage stalls, maintenance or civil work suppliers and more. The MC is responsible for selecting a suitable vendor as per need and in ensuring their continuation if required.

Ensure compliance: While the MC does not have the legal authority to pass any legal sentence on the residents of the society, it can impose fines and penalties if there is a breach of the society’s bye-laws. These powers are important in ensuring that residents follow certain agreed-upon rules and regulations. Common regulations pertain to maintaining cleanliness or discouraging unwanted behaviour, such as littering or damaging society assets.

Ensuring harmony and positive spirit: In case of a dispute between residents, MC members often act as mediators. Their responsibility is to settle disputes amicably or to pacify all parties involved so that a resolution can be formed. However, the MC’s role goes much beyond keeping general peace in the community. They can also play a more active role by fostering a positive spirit by arranging events like society-wide competitions or celebrations like festivals or carnivals.

Ensuring safety and security: In gated communities, the MC is responsible for ensuring the safety and security of residents. This can include allowing and tracking visitors or to formulate policies to safeguard residents. In special circumstances, like a pandemic, the MC may also impose specific restrictions like wearing masks in public places. Such measures are taken to ensure the safety of all residents.

Providing additional facilities: The MC may also arrange for additional facilities within the complex, such as the provision of play areas and equipment, or the availability of medical staff on the premises. These facilities can be extremely important in improving the quality of life of the residents. 

In short, the MC manages all operational, financial, and administrative functions in a housing complex. As we see the emergence of more and more well-planned gated communities across Indian cities, MCs can be seen as the micro-governmental bodies, responsible for maintaining or improving the general standard of living conditions within the complex premises.  


10 things to consider before evaluating balance sheet

If you are a Secretary, President, or the Treasurer of a gated community, terms like maintenance dues, late payment charges, reconciliation of the balance sheet are a part of your everyday job.

For a society to run smoothly, maintenance dues have to be paid on time, the accounting has to be precise, and the treasurer must have clear insights on the society’s income and expenses.

However, not every treasurer or secretary comes from an accounting background and for this very reason, ApnaComplex offers a robust, fully automated accounting and billing solution with 100+ financial reports and 30+ audit-ready reports.

When the time comes to reconcile or evaluate a balance sheet, the Treasurer must consider various aspects and pay attention to a handful of factors before evaluating the balance sheet and submitting for audit.

Keep reading to learn about these essential factors and why they can never be overlooked!

Fixed Asset Verification

A Treasurer must ensure that whatever fixed assets physically available in the society’s premises,  must reflect on the balance sheet as well. This will help the treasurer keep note of the available assets, depreciated value, etc.

Outstanding receivable confirmation

All outstanding amounts, including maintenance charges, vendor payments, service charge dues, etc are received and updated on the balance sheet. Failing to add even a negligible amount can cause confusion and discrepancies which will cause trouble to the Management Committee during the time of auditing.

Bank Reconciliation

The treasurer must ensure that the bank balance reflecting on the account and bank statement/balance sheet are the same. If it doesn’t match, the treasurer must spend eons of time figuring why the statement and balance doesn’t match and must fix it before auditing.

Thankfully, with ApnaComplex, a treasurer doesn’t have to worry about this, for the solution auto-reconciles the balance sheet. It also gives the comprehensive details of overdue, advance payments, late payment charges, etc, saving a treasurer’s time by more than 80%.

Vendor Payments

Vendor payments, including any loans or advance payments made to or received from vendors, have to be cross checked and recorded along with the date and vendor details. The treasurer must also keep a copy for all the invoices and receipts for future references.

The ApnaComplex system, enables the treasurer to auto-generate receipts and invoices, and maintain digital repository of the same.

Vendor Payable Reconciliation

Payments made to vendors must be recorded and reflected on the bank account and bank statement.

Corpus Fund and Sinking Fund

The Treasurer must confirm that the Corpus Fund (capital amount, or the money provided by the builder to RWA during the formation of RWA), and the Sinking Fund (emergency money) are untouched. They should also ensure that the money in the bank and the amount reflected on the balance sheet/statement are the same.                        

Fixed deposit and interest

The Treasurer must confirm the money fixed deposit and the interest it generates. It should match the bank statement.

Year ending provision

Any provision such as security services, electricity charges, equipment maintenance services that happened before March has to be incorporated in the provision and reflected on the balance sheet.

Refundable Deposit and Advances

The Treasurer must also confirm the Refundable deposits (if any) and advance payments.

Statutory Payment payable and Compliances

The Treasurer must make sure that the TDS payments, GST payments, ITR payments, etc are done and all the relevant forms are filled and submitted.

We hope you find these quite useful! ApnaComplex’s accounting solution is the only fully-mature solution made for and by gated communities available today. It is GST compliant and fully automated. If you would love to simplify your society’s accounting processes and save your time and energy, visit apnacomplex.com