In 2020, communities across the globe faced unprecedented challenges, but as the new year begins, there’s hope for a brighter, more predictable future. Having learned from the experiences of 2020, communities can now work towards a successful tomorrow. In doing so, it’s important to resolve to do the things that will set your community association up for success in the new year and beyond. Here are five New Year’s resolutions to help your community thrive in 2021.
1. Complete an annual audit of the association’s financial records.
An audit is designed to ensure that financial statements prepared by the treasurer, management company, or bookkeeper are fairly presented and in compliance with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). One of the most important methods that can be used to protect an association’s financial assets, an audit traces transactions to any supporting documents and authorizations, reviews the association’s minutes and legal documents, and points out weaknesses in accounting procedures. An audit can also help correct existing financial issues and allow the board to determine any additional measures needed to protect and enhance the financial position of the association.
2. Develop a management plan.
It’s critical for the board to work with their community association manager (CAM) to develop a management plan. This plan should include the tasks to be performed by the management team and goals for the new year. All community stakeholders benefit when a management plan guides the CAM, allowing for greater consistency and successful outcomes. A typical management plan includes:
- Rules enforcement
- Property maintenance
- Association services
- Asset protection
- Policy development
You should monitor, adjust, and review the management plan at regular intervals throughout the year. Doing this will help the association to operate as efficiently and effectively as possible.
3. Create an association calendar.
An association calendar offers a road map for management to control operations and for the board to manage deadlines for community functions. It becomes the single source of all critical events, activities, compliance, and renewal dates for the year. Make sure to highlight meetings, holidays, and deadlines. Read through the bylaws and determine the annual meeting date. Set the schedule for board meetings and committee meetings. Note that it’s best to schedule committee meetings in advance of board meetings, so reports and recommendations from committees can be brought forward at the board meeting. Also, be sure to track the corporate tax filing dates, staff holidays, and any other days when the office will be closed.
4. Ensure your community is prepared for any emergency.
Knowing how the onset of COVID-19 challenged communities worldwide, it’s clear that associations can never be too prepared. We all hope that our home, community, coworkers, and friends never need to implement an emergency action plan. However, it makes more sense to prepare for the possibility rather than figuring out what to do in the middle of confusion and fear. Unfortunately, most communities don’t have a plan in place for residents. Take the time to plan and create a unique emergency management plan to keep everyone safe when disaster strikes.
5. Revisit your governing documents.
Whether it’s emerging technology or newly established laws, gradual changes in the world around us affect how we live our lives. As a board member, it’s crucial to keep a finger on the pulse of the ever-changing needs of your community. And in doing so, you must ensure the rules and restrictions in your governing documents are also keeping up with the times. Outdated communication requirements, ambiguous or missing information, and vague developer declarant rights are all reasons to reexamine the governing documents. Work with residents to review existing rules, identify areas that may need adjustment, and examine processes to amend the regulations that don’t hold value for your association.
The Partnerships Communities Need to Succeed
A well-run community association doesn’t come easy, and the responsibility can be a lot for a board of directors to handle. That’s why many boards look to professional advisors and service providers to help them successfully fulfill their roles, complete requirements, and assist with duties. Read our ebook, "The Community Partners & Professional Service Providers Every Board Needs," to learn how partnerships with professional advisors and service providers can help associations reduce costs, increase efficiency, and much more.