A few years ago, Windsor Tower Condo (WTC) was in a perilous position all too common in buildings: their management company was negligent and mishandling funds. The situation created a precarious state of affairs for the building, as banks wouldn’t lend to them and vendors were chasing the building for payment.
After electing an entirely new board, and firing the management company, they set to work self-managing and trying to repair the damage. “The new treasurer and I realized we needed to find someone we could trust,” Jennifer said. “We were in no way going to hire another management company, as we’d had three or four and each brought more distress.”
“For the first time in 20 years, we decided to figure out what was going on with our building and why we never seemed to have enough money despite annual assessments,” Board Treasurer Carol Stark said. This is when they hired Felix as their building’s CFO.
Because the building’s financial documents were extremely disorganized, Felix started by gathering relevant documents and organizing their books. He instituted a transparent accounting system, prepared their taxes and created a secure and accurate billing and invoicing process. With triage complete, he then renegotiated several contracts which immediately saved them money and collected past due accounts which had become the norm at WTC.
Felix’s differentiator is the guidance he provides and his willingness to lean in when needed. “Felix acts as if he is an owner and takes care of contentious situations, which really helped us navigate the transition,” Jennifer said. “We were bleeding cash and had contracts that made no sense. Felix found better vendors and pored through every aspect of our finances. Even though we were taking on his fee, he has more than paid for himself through his diligence.”
After a couple of years, with their accounting now in pristine shape, they set forth to find a new management company that would allow them to continue their work with Felix. “It was not easy to find a management company that would handle the physical property while allowing us to keep Felix as an independent third-party to manage our finances,” Carol said. “But we simply weren’t going to work with a manager that wanted to take the accounting in house. There’s huge value to having the money and property management separate.”
During their search, the WTC board members talked to many comparable buildings. Each one complained about the same thing: no trust in their property manager and messy financials. “Property managers don’t care if the building’s board has the latest paperwork, and when you fire them you lose all of your financial history and documentation,” Carol said. “With Felix, we can move to new property managers when we need to because all our records are in house with Condo CFO, and we can access them whenever we want.”
Felix has cemented his place with the WTC community. “He tracks every penny as if it were his own,” Carol said. “He efficiently monitors expenses and oversees vendor contracts. If a vendor shortchanges us or doesn’t send what they promised, Felix sees it and makes sure it is fixed. He works with a number of other buildings, so he knows what things should cost and can tell us what to expect on standard items.”
That attentiveness goes beyond the financial management. Jennifer says Felix’s response time is exceptional, with minimal or no follow-up needed. “He reminds us when we need to file or renew paperwork, participates in our board meetings and is always prepared. This is why it was so important to hold on to him when we were trying to find a management company.”
Having a clear delineation between those that manage the building’s money and those that spend it, is the highest value that Condo CFO can bring to clients.