Being on your community association’s board of directors can be a tough (and sometimes thankless) job. However, you don’t have to go it alone. Choosing an experienced management company to partner with provides boards with not only access to trusted guidance, but also tons of resources that will make your time as a board member that much easier. Further, a professional community management company can take care of many of the time-consuming business aspects of the association, giving board members the time to focus on other areas of the community. We’ve come up with a few examples of what partnering with an experienced, local management company do for your board and community.
While many companies may offer the services below, keep in mind that not all management companies are created equally and the quality of the service will depend on the company’s investment in technology, its staff, and the standards to which it adheres.
Financials and Budgeting
One of the critical business functions that a community management company can help your association with is financial management. There are many requirements (both by way of state laws and statutes as well as governing documents) regarding the association’s financial recordkeeping and reporting as well as the handling of assessments, delinquencies, and collections, to name a few. When volunteer board members are unfamiliar with these, it can cause trouble for the association or ultimately expose it to liability. Professional management companies have not only accountants on staff, but also have software that will take the guesswork out of preparing financial statements, keeping track of monthly income and expenses, and much more.
Further, community managers can provide the data to help prepare budgets for associations, taking a big burden off your board. Though the budget is ultimately the responsibility of the board, having the community manager draft it and present it to the board for approval is an invaluable service.
And let's not forget about reserves. The management company, along with reserve specialists, can aid in ensuring that your reserve account is properly funded and, if it isn't, help come up with funding options.
Being a board member is a tough job regardless of if you're new to it or a seasoned vet. And it isn’t fun to take on a job that makes you feel like you have no idea what you're doing, right? This is another place where a professional management company comes in handy. A great management company will provide board members various training opportunities such as classes and webinars presented by industry professionals, as well as have a plethora of resources available on their website that will give you access to everything you need to know to do your job well.
When disaster strikes, the last thing you want is to find yourself without a plan of what to do next. This is another place where a trusted management partner is of the utmost importance. Having a team of experienced professionals to assist you in putting together an emergency response plan will put your association in the best position possible to quickly recover when disaster strikes. Further, a reputable management company will have 24/7 emergency services available should something unexpected happen (think a major water leak) that is threatening property and needs immediate attention.
Connecting with Professionals
While professional community managers can assist boards with most needs, the manager also serves to connect your board with other professionals such as attorneys, engineers, and reserve study specialists when the need arises. Management companies have experience with such professionals and can put you in touch with them to ensure you're getting the best professional advice possible no matter what situation you’re presented with. Being sure that you've done your due diligence in consulting professionals is another way boards can protect themselves from liability.
These days, people want to be able to quickly send messages, put in maintenance requests, and pay bills on their own schedule and to do this, they need the right technology available to them. An excellent management company will have state-of-the-art technology available for both boards and homeowners, technology that will streamline many aspects of association living. Not only does this make things easier for everyone, but it also creates an atmosphere of accountability and transparency. Owner portals provide convenient billing and payment options and allow messages to be sent and requests to be made and tracked should they need to be referenced later.
With the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, technology options have become all but essential for any business to function and this includes both management companies and community associations. Having a professional management partner on your side will provide your board with guidance on setting up and conducting virtual meetings as well as learning to use the associated technology.
There are, of course, many other areas in which a professional community management company can assist your board and community members. While we’ve mentioned a few different ways community managers can handle things on your behalf, the overall theme here is that they can give you some extra peace of mind by providing trusted guidance and thereby giving you the confidence that you’re doing your best as a board member and acting with your community’s best interest at heart. And taking the worry out of anything tends to be worth it, right?
Is your community receiving the Trusted Guidance it deserves? If not, it may be time to consider partnering with a new management company. To learn more about CAMS and the services we offer, please reach out to us through our website or at 888-798-2624.
Mike Stonestreet, CMCA, PCAM, AMS, is Founder/Co-Owner of CAMS (Community Association Management Services). CAMS began in 1991 with Stonestreet and a few employees in a small office in Wilmington but has since grown to over 300 employees serving eight regions across North and South Carolina.
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