Re: condo association accounting services
From: Diana E Carroll (
Date: Mon, 8 Dec 2008 19:01:31 -0800 (PST)
Thanks so much for your detailed reply, Larry.

Of the firms I've talked to, some handle payment of bills directly,
whereas others deal with invoices and prepare the checks, but like
you guys, a trustee must actually sign the checks.  Apparently one
way we can save money on services is not to have the bookkeeper
involved in the checks at all; we get the invoice and pay the bill,
and then sen the stubs or a copy of the check to the bookkeeper for
data entry.  I was leaning that yo see any problems
with this method?

For accounts receivable, I'm hoping that we will NOT have 68 checks
every month!   I'm hoping most of our folks will want to
do an automatic bank debit thing, to save them work, and us too.

I'd love to hear details about other people's experiences with
bookkeepers, too.

Diana (Mosaic Commons Treasurer and Trustee)

At 09:54 PM 12/8/2008, you wrote:

Sure. We have a Treasurer who is a community member and, usually, leader of the Finance Team. The bookkeeper is not authorized to sign checks. The Treasurer receives all invoices at our common house mail box. She reviews them and indicates the account number to charge them against. At a meeting, she gives them to the bookkeeper to enter into the accounting system (Quickbooks) and make out a check for payment. At the same meeting, the Treasurer signs the checks from the previous week's invoices and the bookkeeper puts them in envelopes and mails them.

It would be possible, in theory, to do all this by mail. However, that would be both cumbersome and slow. Many bills, such as electricity need to be paid within 2 weeks or so of being received. Trying to do this with 3 successive mailings is really slow and puts a lot of pressure
on the Treasurer, who is already doing a lot of work.

For reasonable financial security and to protect all parties from any hint of impropriety, it is
normal accounting practice to have 2 people involved in issuing a check.

The other half is receiving dues. It is our practice not to have the bookkeeper handle the money, so the Treasurer deposits the checks and gives the bookkeeper a record of payments. We do this by scanning all the checks which provides a permanent record of payments. This could be
done by mail or email.

Our bookkeeper charges $35/hr and it works out to 10 hours a month. That's based on 36 units, so there are at least 36 checks in each month and 36 invoices. There are also about 30 checks written each month, not including meal reimbursements which are handled by a different person (me). I was the Treasurer for 2 years, so I can give you any level of detail you would like.

One of our members is a CPA and he does our taxes for us. My guess is that, if you go with an
accounting firm, it will cost you much more than a bookkeeper.


-----Original Message-----
From: Diana Carroll [mailto:dianaecarroll [at]]
Sent: Monday, December 08, 2008 6:29 PM
To: Cohousing-L
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ condo association accounting services

Can you say more about how you interact with your bookkeeper that requires
him/her to be local?

None of the companies I've talked to so far as local to us.  the closest is
two hours away in New Hampshire.  The furthest is in California.   The only
concerns mentioned with regard to distance/location were how quickly
invoices and checks could be sent in the mail, and that there might be
state-specific condo regulations that would have to be addressed.

- diana

On Mon, Dec 8, 2008 at 9:24 PM, Larry Miller <larry.miller [at]>wrote:

> The reason I didn't name anyone is that our firm is local to Paso Robles.
> As we interact with
> our bookkeeper regularly, it probably wouldn't help unless you were located
> in Paso Robles, CA.
> Larry
> Oak Creek Commons
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