The HOA management industry is about 30 years old but in California is still an unsupervised industry. Neither the Real Estate Commissioner nor the Department of Corporations has any interest in setting up guidelines under which practitioners in our field operate.
This is of course a two edged sword. Communities can choose to self-manage, as many did 30 years ago, or they can engage an entity that is perhaps not well prepared to guide and assist them.
We can provide a financial services package that produces a budget each year, pays all the approved bills and collects all the dues (hopefully). The service includes preparing monthly income and expense statements, and a monthly balance sheet reconciled with the different bank accounts. We provide annual results but do not provide annual tax returns or financial audits or reviews. We believe these are best done by an independent entity so that one more set of eyes review the final figures.
Pilot has offered this service to a small number of communities which has in most cases resulted in a move to full management at a later stage. If a community has members well versed in say finance, insurance, construction, HR and legal affairs they are certainly better prepared than most. When those talented and giving members move on that may be the time to consider full management.
It is said that community management is all about the 3 Ps: Pets, Parking and People, not necessarily in that order. It is however really about listening. Sometimes the real underlying reason for a request or a complaint is not readily apparent. Sometimes we simply need to listen.