The C.O.R.E. Approach to community management fraud risk

Portland Association Audit process

Preparation and Documentation are Key

Our approach to accounting and financial management is focused on ensuring the necessary steps to detect and prevent fraud are followed every day.

It starts with preparation. We document the steps that are essential to preventing and detecting fraud and then ensure they are followed.  We require documented approvals by appropriate board members and ensure that all spending is authorized and necessary for the association.

Our focus is on protecting assets.  This means always ensuring that vendors are performing the work they were hired to do and that the amount charged met expectation.  It means meeting with the board and committees to ensure that all spending is planned and within the scope of the budget.  

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Vital Segregation of Duties: Accounting from Operations

One of the most important areas where work should be segregated in condominium accounting is between accounting management, financial management, and operation management.  For associations, this generally means that your community management company has different people performing these functions, who can then act as a check and balance.

Your assigned community manager is likely going to be the one who is authorized to spend money to support your community.  She will have the power to engage a contractor and approve the invoice.  

This can potentially turn disastrous to your association if the community management can also enter the invoice into the accounting system, print the check and then sign.  This approach puts too much power into one person's hands without anyone in a position to verify the money should have been spent.  

Ensure your community management company has solid segregation of duties between operating and accounting management and they have a system to explain how that system works to safeguard your money.

And this is where a firm like C.O.R.E. can help your association.  We provide the accounting and financial management as an independent check on operations management.  We ensure that bills are authorized and backed up by documentation - even theirs.  And our process is focused on detecting and preventing fraud, so no vendor bill ever gets paid without full documentation and authorization.

C.O.R.E. is based in Vancouver WA and supports condominium and homeowner associations from Portland to Seattle.  

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Forensic Accounting and Auditing

If you are concerned that fraud is not being detected or prevented, we can help.  When you have concerns a significant breakdown in the process of protecting your association's money has occurred., you need to know the extent and the amount of loss as quickly as possible.  In these moments, your C.O.R.E. team works with the board, the manager and other stakeholders to verify the integrity of the process and recommend changes to enhance the security of Association assets.

Unlike a financial statement audit, during a forensic audit, our team reviews transactions to discover what caused non-compliance with Association requirements and policies.  The focus is on evaluating the breadth of non-compliance and quantifying its impact.  While no one ever wants to face the problems that management's non-compliance with appropriate controls can cause, knowing the extent of the damage is extremely important to recovering from the offending parties.

If you feel that you need additional insight into transactions or are concerned that management might be doing something it shouldn't, feel free to click the link below to contact us and learn more about how a forensic examination might help you.

Learn about our forensic Audit Approach