Tag Archives: hoa management alpharetta

Audit the Associations Books?


Audits are Expensive and Should Be Done Selectively.

An audit is an extensive and methodical examination of all of the books, records and accounts that support the financial statements.  In most circumstances, they are costly and time consuming.  However, it is often prudent to audit the HOA books and records whenever a developer turns over a community to the homeowners to verify that the developer has fulfilled its obligations to the association, and won’t leave unit owners holding the bag for any unpaid fees.  Or an audit may be need if misappropriation of funds by an association or management company is suspected or a community is transtioning from self-management to a management company and experiencing extreme financial hardship.    In those case, a forensic audit must be performed to determine exactly where the money has been going.

A Review is a Less Expensive Alternative to an Audit.

A review is a report of limited assurance stating that the accountant is not aware of any material modifications that need to be made to the financial statements in order for them to conform with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). The accountant must perform sufficient inquiry and procedures to give a reasonable basis for that conclusion.  A review is a more affordable alternative for most associations and should be sufficient in most cases.

When governing documents talk about “audit,” it generally refers to some level of independent review of the books by a CPA.   Depending on the size and complexity of your HOA, an audit may be overkill and may not be warranted.   Rather than perform an annual audit, the Board may elect to perform an annual review.

Whether your HOA decides to do a review, a compilation, or a full blown audit,  we think it is a good idea to do on an annual basis.   Some HOA governing documents require it, others are silent on this point.

There are a variety of qualified CPA‘s in the Atlanta area that can do this work for your Atlanta HOA. Why is this a good idea? The easiest answer is a simple one: it’s smart, prudent policy. Even if you are confident in your Atlanta HOA management company, it is a good idea to do this as it shows the membership that you are being thorough in your desire to ensure the HOA’s funds are tended to in an appropriate manner. Regardless of whether you do an audit, make sure you review the financial reports you get from your property management company each month.

We are happy to provide financial report training to any of our clients. We’ll explain what the GAAP rules are and why we adhere to them in your financial reporting. We’ll also explain the rules of double entry and much more. If you are interested in getting more information on our financial report training webinars please contact us by going to our website at http://www.riversidepropertymgt.com.

How to Run an HOA Board Meeting


The Secret to Good Board Meetings.

Board meetings should be productive, efficient meetings where the board conducts business.  Are your board meetings productive and efficient? Does the board meet to conduct business or socialize? Are you getting the most out of your meetings?

Consider doing a few of these things:

Prepare a Realistic Agenda. Five page agendas with 50 objectives set out may be impressive but they are unrealistic and counter-productive.  You need to set a list of priorities for each meeting and focus on those issues.  If you have 50 issues you want to address, spread them out over the course of the year.  You will be more efficient and see better results if you are able to manage your agenda.

Set an end time to your meetings. Meetings should last no more than an hour.  Start the meeting when it is scheduled to begin and get straight to business. If you collectively have the focus to get done in an hour you’ll be amazed with how much you can accomplish. If you have no time limit, the meeting will typically drag on and a lot of time will be wasted. When time is wasted at a meeting then people are less likely to volunteer because they feel their time is wasted.  One hour meetings have a major impact on volunteers. Associations that hold focused, one hour meetings have more people volunteer. It’s also important to note that those volunteers stay active the in the community for much longer. Length of your board meetings may seem like a trivial matter, but it really does have a large impact on how the volunteers of the association view the organization and, in turn, how they view their role.

Be familiar with the Covenants and Bylaws. Key elements with which board members should familiarize themselves are the association’s governing documents that define the board’s authority. If you have a management company, they should provide guidance on your role as a board member, your fiduciary responsibility, specific board responsibilities from decision-making to administrative tasks, and how to conduct and participate in board meetings. Other vital information will include how to avoid personal liability, professional conduct at meetings, parliamentary procedures, the operating and reserve budgets, federal, state and local laws that impact your community, and appropriate insurance coverage.

Come prepared. Be familiar with the issues that will be addressed at the meeting.  If you have questions, ask them prior to the meeting so that your manager (if professionally managed) can have ample time to find the answers. This will help the meeting be more effective and brief. There is nothing more frustrating to those attending the meeting than for fellow board members to come unprepared and want to discuss issues at great length.

Make the meeting a time for action. Next, hold action oriented HOA board meetings.  Don’t just discuss issues, make decisions. Every item up for discussion should end in a vote to move forward in some way or table the issue with a clear understanding of why the item is being tabled and when it will be revisited. When taking action on an item make sure it is clear who will be responsible for getting that task completed. Ambiguity cripples a board.

Don’t be confrontational. Board members should recognize they are part of a team and not take a confrontational position with fellow board members or their management company. No one should have to work or conduct business in a hostile environment. Realize that at times you will not always agree, but take the position that even disagreement can bring compromise and consensus. Be concise with your opinion and thoughts and then be sure to listen to others. Always be respectful of your fellow board members and staff, as well as the homeowners. The tone of the board can set the tone of the community. So, if you want to have a healthy, vibrant and successful community, you should reflect that image as a board member.

Treat your Community Manager with Respect. Your community manager is your agent, not your employee. They act on behalf of the board and facilitate the decisions of the board.  Remember that they are professionals and should be treated as such. It can be detrimental to a board and its community to consistently be at odds with their management company. They are there to offer their expertise based on their experience, training and education to ensure that the board doesn’t compromise their fiduciary responsibility. A board should trust and rely on their management company’s vast experience and unlimited resources.  If your board has lost trust in the management company, have a frank discussion with the company’s CEO regarding whatever problems exist. Perhaps a different manager can restore your trust, eliminating the need to start all over with a new company.

Be a Team Player. If you recognize that, as a board member, you are part of a team of volunteers and management experts, you will be rewarded when you use those resources to make decisions that are based on sound business judgment. This, in turn, will inspire others to serve and build a team of future leaders who will want to emulate your leadership. By doing so, you will find serving on the board is not a burdensome chore, but a rewarding experience that you will value for years to come.

Be determined to have one of the best HOA’s in Atlanta by having an HOA management company that focuses on helping you have effective meetings.

Homeowners Associations Expectations


Atlanta at Night

Real estate developers usually create a homeowners association to control the appearance and managing of common areas in the land being developed. Upon selling a preset number of homes in the developed residential subdivision, it is turned over to the homeowners of the subdivision. There comes a time though that this association would need some form of help from experts to make sure that the subdivision will be a great place to live in.

This is where HOA managers come in. If you are living in Georgia and you think that your homeowners association is in need of professional guidance, you are in luck as there are good HOA managers in the city.  When searching you might want to consider this helpful website.  Before you work with one though, make sure that they offer plenty of services that will satisfy the needs of the association and that you have a good understanding of what your associations needs are so you can communicate those clearly to the community association management company.

Common features include HOA managers attending annual board meetings. This way, they would be able to gauge properly the progress of the association in terms of obtaining its goals. It would also enable them to see in what facet is the association lacking in terms of focus. This would allow them to be able to provide enough input that the whole association would benefit from.

The annual budget of the homeowners association is a delicate matter and it needs to be properly managed. Thus, it would be a good thing to have an HOA management company that would be able to provide professional guidance to the board of directors in formulating the annual budget. This way, the association would be able to make the most out of its budget. With that in mind, all residents of the subdivision would be able to benefit greatly from the money they have put in the association.

On the meeting that HOA managers would attend, they also have to be able to present a recap of the past year’s budget and its appropriations. This would allow the members of the association to see where the money went. This would provide transparency which is a very important thing especially with money involved.

These are the most common things that you should look for in an HOA manager or HOA management company. They would be handling very vital functions and thus should have the right background for the job. Apart from having these most common features as part of their service, they should be able to provide you with enough proof that they have extensive experience in such endeavors.  Also ask them to show you the certifications the staff has from the industry educational organizations.  This educational experience will allow you to understand the time and energy the HOA property management company has invested to prepare to help your Homeowner Association or Condominium Association.

How Do I Form an HOA ( Homeowners Association) in Georgia?


https://i1.wp.com/www.deerlakeweb.com/picture/a_clubhouse_wide.jpg

Home Owners Associations (HOAs) bring peace and civility to shared communities. Condominium or single-family home complexes may create an HOA to determine how common areas will be maintained, for example. In Georgia, as in most states across the country, bylaws and a board of directors must be established before an HOA is official. Talk to neighbors within your development to garner support for the HOA and commence with an expeditious launch.

Difficulty:
Moderately Easy

Instructions

    • Contact the Georgia General Assembly. Reach out to the offices of your House of Representatives and/or State Senator and ask for a copy of the Georgia Property Owners’ Association Act (GPOA). Review the GPOA to familiarize yourself with the rules and guidelines of the state for creating an HOA. Log online and visit the official Georgia General Assembly website to find the contact information for your respective representatives.

    • 2

      Form the physical HOA. Assemble residents of your community. Elect HOA leadership representatives including a president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer. Establish any committees necessary to the function of your HOA — planning or policy committees, for example. Write the bylaws for the HOA. State how shared community areas will be overseen, who is affected by the rules and the amount members will pay for annual dues. Title the bylaws “Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions.”

    • 3

      Reach out to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Ask an IRS representative for all necessary 501(c)(4) tax documentation for creating an HOA. Filing for 501(c)(4) status makes the HOA an official non-profit organization. Submit all necessary forms and supplemental documentation — a copy of the bylaws, for example — required by the IRS. Consult IRS agents and the 501(c) (4) forms for instructions.