Cash management programs for Community Associations
Council members have a fiduciary responsibility not only to track revenue and expenses of the association, but also to use procedures that provide security for the assessments collected from homeowners and cost control. If your community association or management company has not recently revised its payment processing and cash management systems, you may not be aware of the innovations that can make your Board more efficient, save money and help increase your investment earnings.
Lockbox services designed for Community Partnerships
Does your staff still handles accounting manual assessment payments? If your association or management company is the opening of envelopes, posting payment information, preparing deposit slips and bring them to the bank, these activities consume a significant amount of management time and also increase the risk of theft and error . There is a solution: an automated treatment.
Automated processing services include a lockbox. A “lockbox” is a cash management tool that is a cost effective way to outsource most of the obligations associated with payment processing, saving time and money partnership.
Lockboxes have been available since the 1930s. They were designed to expedite the processing of payments by mail. Payments were sent to a PO box, closed and a delivery service could collect payments and transport it to their customers. The delivery of the contents of the box directly to the association eliminated the time lost by the post office to sort and deliver the payments. Computer imaging technology improved the process dramatically in the 1990s, making possible the creation of electronic payment files.
Today, the assessment payments are mailed directly to the lockbox, not the office of the association or management company. The controls are read by electronic scanners that reduces read errors, and payments are processed faster than it would be manually. Payments are credited to the account faster for the homeowner as well. The department of the association or management company accounting can upload files directly on your payment of accounts receivable system, eliminating manual entry of payments. The payment information is available to you online immediately.
Using a lockbox, associations often find they are able to reduce the time spent in processing payments and may be able to use staff to work on other tasks necessary to meet the daily needs of the association . How to find a lockbox service that meets the needs of your association?
1. Get recommendations from other professional associations or management companies what works for them and why.
2. Ask detailed questions about the technology used by the lockbox. The answer “using the latest technology” is not enough. Your questions should focus on specific services offered by the lockbox:
• Do you see a diagram and picture coupon?
• Are your electronic files compatible with your accounting system?
• Is the lockbox in use of their own software or licensed by third party? The costs are usually higher if the lockbox does not use its own software, because they must pay licensing and maintenance fees.
• What is the cost, if any? Most banks do not charge for the service in exchange for maintaining certain balances in checking and / or savings accounts.
3. Ask specific questions about what is working with the vendor to ensure that lockbox services fits your needs. Lockbox is held within the company or outsourced? How to handle errors? What kind of reports do you offer? How do you handle payments with on-line services to pay bills?
Cash Management Services Associations
It is important for all associations to ensure that financial institutions use to understand their needs. If they do, you may not be receiving advice and guidance you need to maximize the profitability of the funds of the association. In reviewing the cash management process, which should ask the following questions:
Are my reserve accounts performing as well as they could be?
I’m making the maximum rate of return on my money market accounts?
Do I have FDIC coverage on my CDs?
Do I have an investment manager we can trust to recommend investments that meet the regulations of my association and the investment policy?
Are all financial institutions that hold money for my association ensuring the highest level of protection of the funds?
If you are unsure, look for a financial services company specializing in industry owners’ association and work closely with them to implement an effective program management for an effective and efficient partnership.