Tag Archives: Cash flow

Budgeting and Reserves for Condominiums


Most covenants for condominiums require that the association include as part of the annual budget, an allocation for  reserves.  Reserves should be set aside for roof replacement, pavement resurfacing, building painting, and any other item of association responsibility with a replacement cost or deferred maintenance expense of $10,000.00 or more.

Traditionally, the reserve schedule accompanying the proposed budget has used the “straight line” method of calculating required reserves. For example, assume that the roof on a condominium building has a twenty year useful life, is ten years old, and will cost $100,000.00 to replace. Further assume that the current amount of money in the roof reserve is $50,000.00. The association will need to collect $5,000.00 per year, over the next ten years, to accumulate another $50,000.00 so as to “fully fund” the roof reserve. This is traditional, “straight line” funding of reserves.

Similar calculations are then made for all other required reserve items (building repainting, pavement resurfacing, and other items with a replacement cost or deferred maintenance expense in excess of $10,000.00), and the annual contribution required to “fully fund” the reserve account is thus arrived at.

When reserves are funded on the straight line method, whether fully funded or partially funded, they should only be used for their intended purposes. For example, money should not be taken out of the roof reserve account to pay for painting the building. However, the association can use reserve funds for non-scheduled purposes if approved in advance by a majority vote of the unit owners.

The concept of “cash flow” or “pooled” reserve funding differs from “straight line” reserve funding.  Under pooled reserves, it is still necessary for the reserve schedule which accompanies the annual budget to set forth required reserve items (roofs, painting, paving, and other items with the replacement cost/deferred maintenance expense of more than $10,000.00). Further, the “cash flow” reserve schedule must still disclose estimated remaining useful life and replacement costs for each reserve component. The main difference in the cash flow presentation of reserves is that instead of each reserve line item having its own fund balance, there is a “pool” of money in the reserve fund, which is available for costs affiliated with any item in the reserve pool. For example, the painting and roof reserve monies are “pooled” into one fund, so a vote of unit owners is not required for expenditures from the fund, as would be the case in a straight-line reserve scenario where monies from one reserve account would be used for another reserve purpose.  As with “straight line” reserve funding, with pooled reserves, a vote of the unit owners is should be required to use reserve funds for operating purposes, or for any expenditure involving items that are not part of the “pool”.

The pooling method of reserve funding attempts to predict when a particular item will require replacement or deferred maintenance, and reserves are scheduled and funded so as to insure that a necessary amount of funds are on hand when the work needs to be done. Theoretically, monthly or quarterly reserve contributions can be lowered, while still avoiding special assessments.

Of course, what works in theory does not always work when placed in human hands. In addition to needing a crystal ball to predict exactly when a reserve expenditure will need to be made, reserve contributions may be substantially higher in certain years, such as when the fund is depleted for the replacement of a required item, and there is a short useful life for the next asset that needs to be replaced.

A condominium reserve fund helps associations pay for maintenance and upgrade costs as they become due.   As a property owner, you will be well aware of the benefits which accrue from setting aside sufficient reserve funds.   The  association will better maintained over time and you will lessen the need for special assessments to make up future budget deficits.

Budgeting and Reserves for Condominiums


Most covenants for condominiums require that the association include as part of the annual budget, an allocation for  reserves.  Reserves should be set aside for roof replacement, pavement resurfacing, building painting, and any other item of association responsibility with a replacement cost or deferred maintenance expense of $10,000.00 or more.

Traditionally, the reserve schedule accompanying the proposed budget has used the “straight line” method of calculating required reserves. For example, assume that the roof on a condominium building has a twenty year useful life, is ten years old, and will cost $100,000.00 to replace. Further assume that the current amount of money in the roof reserve is $50,000.00. The association will need to collect $5,000.00 per year, over the next ten years, to accumulate another $50,000.00 so as to “fully fund” the roof reserve. This is traditional, “straight line” funding of reserves.

Similar calculations are then made for all other required reserve items (building repainting, pavement resurfacing, and other items with a replacement cost or deferred maintenance expense in excess of $10,000.00), and the annual contribution required to “fully fund” the reserve account is thus arrived at.

When reserves are funded on the straight line method, whether fully funded or partially funded, they should only be used for their intended purposes. For example, money should not be taken out of the roof reserve account to pay for painting the building. However, the association can use reserve funds for non-scheduled purposes if approved in advance by a majority vote of the unit owners.

The concept of “cash flow” or “pooled” reserve funding differs from “straight line” reserve funding.  Under pooled reserves, it is still necessary for the reserve schedule which accompanies the annual budget to set forth required reserve items (roofs, painting, paving, and other items with the replacement cost/deferred maintenance expense of more than $10,000.00). Further, the “cash flow” reserve schedule must still disclose estimated remaining useful life and replacement costs for each reserve component. The main difference in the cash flow presentation of reserves is that instead of each reserve line item having its own fund balance, there is a “pool” of money in the reserve fund, which is available for costs affiliated with any item in the reserve pool. For example, the painting and roof reserve monies are “pooled” into one fund, so a vote of unit owners is not required for expenditures from the fund, as would be the case in a straight-line reserve scenario where monies from one reserve account would be used for another reserve purpose.  As with “straight line” reserve funding, with pooled reserves, a vote of the unit owners is should be required to use reserve funds for operating purposes, or for any expenditure involving items that are not part of the “pool”.

The pooling method of reserve funding attempts to predict when a particular item will require replacement or deferred maintenance, and reserves are scheduled and funded so as to insure that a necessary amount of funds are on hand when the work needs to be done. Theoretically, monthly or quarterly reserve contributions can be lowered, while still avoiding special assessments.

Of course, what works in theory does not always work when placed in human hands. In addition to needing a crystal ball to predict exactly when a reserve expenditure will need to be made, reserve contributions may be substantially higher in certain years, such as when the fund is depleted for the replacement of a required item, and there is a short useful life for the next asset that needs to be replaced.

A condominium reserve fund helps associations pay for maintenance and upgrade costs as they become due.   As a property owner, you will be well aware of the benefits which accrue from setting aside sufficient reserve funds.   The  association will better maintained over time and you will lessen the need for special assessments to make up future budget deficits.

HOA Cash Management Programs


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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.

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Review the Financial Statements of the Association


As part of its responsibility for financial supervision, a nonprofit board should review the organization’s audited financial statements regularly. These statements include: Statement of Financial Position (Balance Sheet) Activity statement (Income Statement) Cash Flow Statement Statement of operating costs Notes … Continue reading