Howard A. Goldklang, CPA, MBA
Introduction: Background and Key Points
You want to serve your community. You run for the board of your association and you're elected. At your first board meeting, you're appointed to the office of treasurer. You know that as treasurer you hold a critical position within the community. But you are unsure of the responsibilities of the position.
This report is written specifically for the treasurer. However, the information and guidelines on critical areas of community association financial activity that it contains will be of interest to anyone involved in community associations—managers, volunteer leaders, informed homeowners, and even the financial professionals who serve them. Some of these areas include: investments, reserves, financial statements, income taxes, budgets, borrowing, and special assessments. This report helps volunteer leaders decide what to do and who to turn to for financial advice. With this information, the treasurer and members of the finance committee can voice the financial needs of the community.
- The treasurer is the financial voice of the board and the community.
- The treasurer is the board's liaison to the association's auditor. He or she should monitor the progress of the annual audit. Make sure that appropriate tax returns are filed on time.
- The treasurer should implement a reserve program based on an engineering study and make sure it has adequate funding.
- The treasurer should ensure the implementation of an annual operating budget.
- The treasurer should implement safeguards to protect association assets.
Chapter 1: Maintaining Association Accounts
Healthy finances are critical to the sound operation of a community association. The association treasurer is responsible for maintaining the finances and ensuring financial growth.
Association documents establish the treasurer's authority in maintaining these accounts, and bylaws outline the treasurer's responsibilities. Following is an example of bylaws that discuss what the treasurer is required to do:
The treasurer shall have the responsibility for association funds and shall be responsible for keeping and maintaining a complete set of financial and accounting records. He or she shall be responsible for the deposit of all monies in the name of the association in such depositories as designated by the board of directors, and he or she shall, in general, perform all the duties incident to the office of treasurer of a condominium organized under the laws of the state of ____________. He or she shall cause an annual audit of the association's books to be made by a certified public accountant at the completion of each fiscal year, and the treasurer shall prepare an annual budget. He or she shall receive no compensation for his or her duties as treasurer.
In addition to the responsibilities outlined above, the association's documents and bylaws specify a number of other financial requirements that the treasurer must oversee, including:
- Maintain financial records
- Investing funds
- Collecting assessments and delinquent accounts
- Calculating and funding reserves
- Filing all income tax returns on time
[This sample includes only the first page of Chapter 1.]