Seven Tips for a Successful Budget Meeting

‘Tis the season for budgeting!

The fiscal year and the calendar year align for most communities, which means it’s time for your association’s board to crunch the numbers and determine assessments for the next year. And it’s time for your community to hold its annual budget meeting.

Budget meetings are a great way for residents to gather and discuss the plans for maintaining common areas, setting goals for the future and keeping the community running smoothly.

If board members follow a few simple guidelines, your association’s budget meeting will be informative and productive:

1. Create a meeting agenda and stick to it. No one likes a meeting that isn’t on-point. If possible, create a simple PowerPoint highlighting key points to cover.

2. Keep it positive. Make the meeting a celebration of the community. Highlight recent community improvements, demonstrating how the owners’ financial investment is being used successfully. Showcase pictures of projects completed in the past year.

3. Focus on the big picture. Outline the association’s short-term and long-term goals and financial responsibilities. Carefully detail how the board allocates the association’s funds to invest in the community’s future.

4. Be accurate. Owners rely on the board to check and double-check the budget, accurately reflecting the association’s expenses.

5. Explain line items. A little explanation goes a long way in helping owners understand what each category and proposed expenditure means.

6. Provide comparisons. Show the changes that are being made to next year’s budget compared with current expenditures—and explain why.

7. End on a positive note. Emphasize what community spending will accomplish in the next year and how this investment will positively impact the community—and property values.