A good treasurer is crucial to the well-being of any co-op or condo. Unfortunately, the position is, without a doubt, one of the most challenging offices to hold. Carl M. Cesarano, CPA, a partner with Cesarano & Khan PC in Rego Park, Queens, says treasurers are the eyes and ears of the co-op or condo. "The treasurer should be the watchdog of the entity that collects cash and pays bills." They should be familiar with the expenses of their building, in addition to any miscellaneous expenses that arise and should keep watch over how the managing agent spends the residents’ money. In turn, the treasurer organizes the information and must keep the board informed as to the building’s financial standing so that this information can be disseminated to the shareholders or owners when necessary.
What it Takes
Does a prospective treasurer need a background in finance to be successful in the position? "Not necessarily," says Cesarano, "although a financial background can prove very useful." A working knowledge of finance will enable a treasurer to view financial documents, such as reports and budgets, without much effort. Cesarano believes someone with little or no financial knowledge can be a successful treasurer provided they make the effort to study the information put before them. He adds that those with no financial background must be fast learners so that they can get up to speed quickly on financial matters. "If they strive to get an understanding, it becomes second nature." He admits that he spends a substantial amount of time explaining and clarifying financial information to treasurers.
Prior financial knowledge provides treasurers with an inherent understanding of the financial affairs of the co-op or condo. Seth Frank, the treasurer of his East 86th Street co-op for the past three years, feels that his financial background is important to the position. Much of the information contained in the reports treasurers review can seem very complex to a novice. "Those with a finance background are simply more knowledgeable," says Frank. The individual with prior experience in finance will have an easier time understanding and relaying financial information from management and accountants to the other board members, which is an essential duty of the job.