Serving as the treasurer for your HOA Board of Directors is an important job. To make your job as treasurer a little easier, there are a few things you can do to smooth your transition onto the Board. Smooth transitions are not only key to your success but they can aid in future changeover which then results in a more stable organization overall. Doesn’t every HOA want stability? Here are a few treasurer transition strategies for HOAs.
The treasurer is the custodian of the funds of the HOA. They are also in charge of the investments and the records of the association. The treasurer has the most time-consuming position of all HOA Board members so it is common for HOAs to hire outside managers who are familiar with accounting to handle most financial transactions. As some HOAs are managed by a property manager which handles the day-to-day financials, the treasurer will oversee the management team to ensure that all financial records are properly filed and maintained.
It is the treasurers job to make sure that the management company adheres to sound accounting principles. Usually, the treasurer is responsible for developing the proposed annual budget and for preparing and presenting the annual financial report. The financial report details the financial health of the association.
Do Some Research
It is important to have some accounting and bookkeeping knowledge. If accounting isn’t in your background, it’s a good idea to take a class at your local community college. If you are handling the accounting and bookkeeping yourself, there is a software program that can help you. MoneyMinder is a bookeeping program that was designed for small nonprofits like HOAs and can assist with sending statements, tracking membership dues, and running reports.
Take some time to review key HOA documents. The more you know about community operations, the role of the board, and your responsibilities the better your transition will be. Here are a few items to review:
- Covenants and Bylaws: Oftentimes referred to as Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions or CC&Rs. These are the rules and laws that govern your neighborhood.
- Budget: Review the current budget and look for any major variances. Make sure that adjustments have been made for moving forward to next year’s budget.
- Reserves: Look at the latest reserve study and match the recommended balance to the reserve account balance.
- Vendor Contracts: Review all vendor contracts. You will want to be familiar with the property management company, the landscaping company and others.
- Insurance Policies: Take a look at which insurance policies your association has. Insurance can be confusing. If you need more information about HOA insurance policies, click here.
- Board Meeting Minutes: Spend some time reviewing your HOA’s board minutes at least for the last year. You will get a good sense of priorities and projects as well as ongoing issues.
- Logins: Make sure you have all login information to your website, email, Wi-Fi network, security system, accounting system and more. Keep updates well documented.
Plan to Meet
It’s a good idea to set up a meeting with your outgoing treasurer learning their job. If the financial health of your HOA seems questionable or the records are less than well organized, consider hiring an experienced CPA to review the financials with you.
If the outgoing treasurer is unavailable, stop by a neighboring HOA and meet with their treasurer. They probably won’t share exact numbers with you but they can highlight some of their policies and procedures that can help you with your duties.
Schedule a meeting with your association’s property manager, if they have one. Get a good sense of their role within the community and how that fits with your position as treasurer.
Plan to meet with your association’s attorney. Check in on your association’s standing on any current collection issues or other legal issues. Familiarize yourself with your collections process and any delinquent neighbors you may have.
It’s a good strategy to take notes during your transition. Notes will not only help keep you on track, but you can go back to them when it’s time for you to transition out. Make observations on what you found challenging and try to improve upon them with the incoming treasurer.
Remember, HOA treasurer is not an easy job but these transition strategies should help you get started on the right track. Stick to these strategies and you should have a very successful time serving as HOA treasurer.