As promised in the discussion of condominium associations’ Official Records, we have dedicated a post exclusively to the accounting records that are required to be maintained pursuant to Florida Statute 718.111(12)(a)(11).
All accounting records of a condominium association must be maintained for at least 7 years. To be prudent, an association may decide to keep all association records since developer turnover. If your property does not have a lot of storage space for hard copy records, there are many companies that specialize in scanning records electronically and/or storing hard copy records. These services are relatively inexpensive and serve to both reduce clutter and protect the association’s records from fire, theft, or natural disaster.
Most professional management companies use high-end accounting software to maintain the bulk of their associations’ accounting records. This software can cost thousands of dollars so purchasing software like this doesn’t make much sense for the self-managed condominium. For very small condominiums, a program such as excel can be used to maintain the association’s financial statements, including homeowner ledgers. However, for larger condominiums, accounting software such as QuickBooks, which costs in the $300 range, likely makes the most sense. As I have mentioned in previous posts, if the Board of Directors does not have a member with a strong accounting background, hiring a 3rd party accountant to maintain the association’s books may be necessary.
Here’s what the FL Statutes say condo associations must maintain:
1. Accurate, itemized, and detailed records of all receipts and expenditures.
If this seems very broad to you, that’s because it is. The FL Statutes leave it to each condominium to determine exactly what they need to keep, and in what format, in order to meet this requirement. As part of the association’s routine bookkeeping, all monies received and spent will be entered into the association’s accounting software. Generally, these programs allow the user to enter a description of each deposit or expense. Be sure to enter detailed descriptions for each entry including the parties involved and the reason that the funds were received or paid. You’ll thank yourself for doing this the first time you try to look back at specific transactions from previous years. Further, I strongly recommend you keep all of the following either electronically or in hard copy:
- Copies of all checks received and written by the association
- Copies of all monthly bank statements for all association bank accounts
- Copies of all “lockbox” payment detail if this service is used by the association
- Copies of all final invoices paid by the association (typically these invoices are kept with the copy of the check that paid the invoice)
- Copies of all reconciliation reports (showing that the bank statements and the association’s bookkeeping reconcile each month-end)
2. A current account and a monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly statement of the account for each unit designating the name of the unit owner, the due date and amount of each assessment, the amount paid on the account, and the balance due.
This refers to the balances owed by each homeowner for their maintenance fees. This information should already be maintained in the association’s accounting system and there is nothing else special that needs to be done. These balances should include any accrued late fees or interest. I recommend you keep any other amounts owed to the association (e.g. fines, charges backs for work completed by the association on behalf of the homeowner) on a separate ledger for each homeowner as the association may only lien and foreclose on a unit for past due maintenance fees (and associated late fees/ interest). This makes it easier for the association to provide accurate account balances to the association’s attorney (during collection efforts) or prospective buyers. Along with this requirement, I recommend that the association maintain monthly A/R aging summaries (showing those units that are 30, 60 or 90 days past due).
3. All audits, reviews, accounting statements, and financial reports of the association or condominium.
What an association must maintain specifically under this requirement depends in large part on the size of the association. According to Florida Statute 718.111(13), each association must produce a year-end financial report (or have contracted for the production of this report) within 90 days of fiscal year-end. The type of report required is as follows:
- An association that operates fewer than 75 units, regardless of the association’s annual revenues, shall prepare a report of cash receipts and expenditures.
- An association with total annual revenues of less than $100,000 shall prepare a report of cash receipts and expenditures.
- An association with total annual revenues of $100,000 or more, but less than $200,000, shall prepare GAAP compiled financial statements.
- An association with total annual revenues of at least $200,000, but less than $400,000, shall prepare GAAP reviewed financial statements.
- An association with total annual revenues of $400,000 or more shall prepare GAAP audited financial statements.
Details on how to prepare the above financial report are provided in Rule 61B-22.006 of the Florida Administrative Code. The Florida Statutes allows the voting interests of the association to approve a waiver of compiled, reviewed or audited financial statements for up to three consecutive years.
Along with the above described report, I recommend that the association maintain copies of balance sheets and income statements for each month-end that have been approved by the Board.
4. All contracts for work to be performed. Bids for work to be performed are also considered official records and must be maintained by the association.
This requirement is relatively self-explanatory; however, there are some simple ways to keep track of all of this information in an organized fashion. I recommend that all long term contracts approved by the association be kept together for reference. It may be helpful to keep a list of all contracts including their maturity dates and renewal/ termination provisions. As mentioned above, all other contracts/ invoices can easily be kept along with a copy of the check that was issued by the association to pay the contract/ invoice. Lastly, all bids that were received for work must be kept as well. I recommend keeping these separate from those bids that were actually approved to avoid confusion.
As was mentioned in a previous post, it is a smart idea to keep a copy of each packet that is provided to the Board at each meeting. These packets typically include all bids related to agenda items so maintaining the packets would comply with the above contracts requirement. These packets also typically include recent financial statements, minutes from the previous meeting, the meeting agenda, and more of the items that are considered part of the official records of the association.
I am available via email if you have any questions or comments.
Ryan Koski is a condominium homeowner in Tampa, Florida and a CPA and Attorney with Accounting Clinic, Inc. He is also a Director of VERA Property Management, a firm providing full-service community association management in the Tampa Bay Area as well as consulting, financial and legal services to all Florida community associations.