Summer is over, kids are settled in school and the board is at full strength to tackle the community’s issues. One of those issues may be 1) finding a new management solution if you are dissatisfied with your current manager or 2) finding a resource to help the self-managed community board or Treasurer with all the monthly accounting tasks. Fall is a good time of year to plan and shop for management or financial reporting assurance services.
Construction Projects Winding Down
Summer is usually the time when the main capital projects get done. In many states the contractors plan to wrap up the projects well before winter. Also for associations that employ a management company they don’t want to make a change until current management is done with helping on the project. When these capital projects have come to an end there is more time for the board to contemplate other changes.
The fall is when many associations will plan their coming year’s budget. If there is a budget shortfall and you can’t increase your operating budget due to a limit on the percentage increase from year to year you may need to cut expenses. One way to reduce some expense is to go from using a management company to being self-managed with a financial management company to support the board. Services such as Community Financials can reduce the board’s work by over 55% while also saving over half the cost of “full management”.
Fiscal Year End = Calendar Year End
Many communities have a fiscal year end as the calendar year end and January 1st seems to be a favorite for communities to start up with a new service provider because they will have continuity of financial reporting for a full fiscal year. However, this is not necessary as your new manager or financial management service can take the last period’s closed reports (which should include year to date income and expense versus budget figures) and start at any time of the year and then provide the combined info to your CPA to do your year-end tax return.
Research, Get Quotes & Vote
Research, go online, call around and collect quotes. It is easy to get quotes. Have a quick call to explain your needs and frequency of services and you can receive a quote quickly. Don’t hesitate to have a phone call it removes a lot of guesswork which can cause a vendor to come in higher for a margin of safety since they don’t have all the info they need. The call helps ensure a more precise and competitive price quote for your community. For our financial management services after a 5-10 minute call we strive to provide a service quote within an hour but sometimes it takes a day.
Next, meet with your board, review the quotes and choose the best value candidate. Discuss any follow up questions, review and sign a service agreement and you are ready to give notice to your current provider and start the transition.
EZ 30 Day Transition
Transitions are easier than you think. For the monthly financial tasks our firm takes the last closed month’s income and expense report and balance sheet, a unit owner roster, a list of charges per unit and the current aged delinquencies and get you set up our accounting systems. We can send out assessment statements (if that is how your community operates)ed) and be up and running in 30 days – or even sooner if a board is in a rush.
Many businesses and their accounting teams may decide to turn to something similar to an Expenses Online Reporting Software to help them stay on top of how much they need to offer their employees in terms of money at the end of the month. Throughout the month, they can submit any expenses that they are looking at getting back to the software in a more efficient manner. This could be particularly useful for businesses that may tend to focus on other tasks.
So what are you waiting for? Start the conversation with your board if you are not fully satisfied with the way things are currently being handled? Maybe your current manager is falling short on their promises or maybe a board Treasurer is not thrilled with the work they have to do for the self-managed community. Help is out there, change is not as difficult as you think and a small investment in time today can alleviate a lot of headaches and free up time spent as a volunteer.
Having grown a property management business over 16 years I met over 1,000 condo & homeowner association board members and helped 100’s of communities. Many wanted a cheaper alternative to “full management” while making the board’s role doable. Growing a nationwide business that specializes in providing timely, accurate and transparent financial management for communities in order to make it easy and protect their money. Additionally, I’m using my understanding of leading industry systems to also serve community association managers and developers.