Dollars and Sense

By Chris Irons

You thought strata was all about common property, maintenance, decision-making and living in harmony? Well to the Money Manager, it’s all about the money – how it is raised, budgeted, apportioned, invested, and spent (or, not spent). Every line item for a body corporate is, to the Money Manager, to be analysed within an inch of its life.

Catch cry: “I’ll need to crunch the figures on that to see how it lines up against cash flow”

Red Flags: you have a Money Manager on your hands if you see or hear something like the following –

  • ‘Our performance against budget looks like this…’
  • ‘That budget line item is really worrying me’

The Good: there is absolutely nothing wrong with being fiscally responsible, so all kudos to the Money Manager for keeping the body corporate in line and within its means. The Money Manager is particularly useful in schemes where previous financial management had been somewhat casual, to get it back on track so that all owners know where they stand now and into the future.

The Bad: it’s fine for the Money Manager to approach strata like a business, although the reality is that strata is not a business. When, for example, the body corporate must comply with its responsibilities to maintain common property, and that responsibility happens unexpectedly (such as a weather event or emergency), the Money Manager might find themselves struggling to adapt to the unanticipated financial need which has arisen.

Making the Money Manager Work For the Scheme: the obvious answer here is that they become the Treasurer. If the Money Manager is prepared to expend some of their time and financial skills to the benefit of the scheme, that can be great, especially if they can do so in constructive collaboration with the scheme’s strata manager and/or caretaker.

What Can We Do When It Becomes a Problem? While all owners ideally should be engaged in the operations of their scheme, when it comes to money they should be especially involved – after all, they will be the ones to make up the shortfall if need be. The Money Manager needs owners to properly oversee their input and actions, and indeed, would rely upon owners to be doing basics such as reading financial statements.

Fun Fact: maybe the Money Manager can be encouraged to, counterintuitively, take on a role which is not financially related. Instead of treasurer, perhaps they could apply their attention to detail and process-oriented approach to being secretary instead. It would broaden their outlook and develop the skills of someone else in the treasurer role.

Think You May Be a Money Manager? Remember that strata does not always follow the laws of economics: strata carries with it a significant amount of emotion and, yes, irrationality. Particularly when it comes to money and especially when discussions about expenditure occur during tight financial circumstances. Owners are people and usually have myriad financial commitments, not only strata ones.

Can Strata Solve Assist? Sure can! Drop us a line to see how we can assist with this and related strata issues.

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