Frequently asked questions
ARPC began as a resource website to post articles and other training materials for students of the Designated Reserve Planner (DRP) program of the Canadian National Association of Real Estate Appraisers (CNAREA). During the training sessions discussions arose around the need for some sort of association to enhance the relatively new industry created out of legislation. Brian Hill founded the organization with the goal to standardize the industry, provide training, mentorship and software solutions.
ARPC planners span Canada and include appraisers, home inspectors and engineers all of which have committed to comply with the ICBI Reserve Study Standards as well as the Financial Reporting and Assurance Standards Canada. All utilize RFA Pro software which is compliant with the ICBI software standard. The comprehensive reports are easy for the user to extract the required budgeting information and effectively manage the assets of the corporation.
ARPC and ARP-USA form the first two organizations of ARP – International. Gary Porter formed the International Capital Budgeting Institute and appointed 16 members from 6 countries to the Reserve Study Standards Board and published the ICBI Generally Accepted Reserve Study Standards in 2015. Brian Hill, founder of ARPC, was appointed to this board. ARP-USA was formed by Gary Porter with the same objective to operate separate from the ICBI and provide training, mentorship and software solutions.
A Reserve Study or Depreciation Report (as they are called in BC) is a comprehensive inventory of the strata or condos common assets and an outline of the expected repairs and improvements to maintain these assets. The purpose of the report is to assist the council/directors with long range capital budgeting. The report also keeps current and prospective owners informed of the condition of the property and their future cost of ownership.
Financial Stability – a long range capital budget helps corporations predict and plan for future expenditures, prioritize projects and maintain the assets. It also assists to fairly distribute the financial burden of aging assets among current and future owners.
Prolonged Property Life Expectancy/Lower Insurance Premiums – the report demonstrates that the property is being maintained and that a long range capital plan is in place. This is important to all stakeholders including current and prospective owners as well as insurance companies and lenders.
Clarity – the long range capital plan provides clear information with respect to timing of improvements. Purchasers considering older units may wonder when the windows will be replaced and the exterior painted or the club house renovated. As unit owners renovate they will want the common property to be maintained and updated as well. They also want to see where their money is going. The primary goal is to prevent surprises which may result in special assessments to the owners for unfunded repairs.
The term “Fully funded” is not well defined and often misused. In general terms it means that funds will be available when required for repairs to the depreciating capital assets. Unfortunately some reserve study providers utilize a theoretical model which rates the reserve fund based on percent funded. This analysis requires assumptions which are just untrue. The reserve fund is a single account. The “Full Funding” model, or Benchmark Analysis as it is often called in Canada, assumes that there is a separate account for each asset item and ignores the reality of pooled funds. The conclusions resulting from the analysis render a percent funded rating. This rating will then be compared to the theoretical “Fully Funded Balance” and will almost always fall short and concluded to be deficient or under-funded. Any prospective purchaser or current owner would not like to hear these words when referring to their large asset and could result in devaluing the property. The accounting community, when auditing, considers the funding plan to be adequate or fully funded as long as the fund is never fully depleted over the planning horizon.
When considering the purchase of a condo/strata property of prime concern is the future cost of ownership. Purchase price is given as are taxes and current monthly fees. The question then is are these fees going to increase and is the reserve adequate or is there a risk of a special assessment on the horizon. Lenders also want to know this. The best way is to determine if there is a capital reserve plan in the form of a Depreciation Report or Reserve Fund Study and are the council/directors following that plan? Has it been updated? Does it specify a shortfall in the future?
- Percent funded is a measure of the status of the reserve fund at a particular time and is inappropriate as an analysis in the capital budgeting process. A building which has just gone through a major refurbishment will have a lower rating than one which has these expenditures on the horizon. Percent funded analysis is more a measure of where the funds are, in the bank or in the building. The best method is to look at the current condition of the building, the current fees and the funding plan going forward. Is there any risk of an unforeseen or under-funded repair on the horizon? Are the fees expected to remain the same with only small annual increases to keep pace with inflation?
One of the objectives of a Capital Reserve Plan is to share the financial burden of replacing the capital assets when required. It would be unfair for those living a 40 year old property to bear the majority of the expense of major building envelope expenditures when previous owners who have moved on also enjoyed the life span of those items. Ideally the contribution to the Reserve Fund will be stable and steadily increasing year by year to keep pace with inflation with little risk of a special assessment so that all owners, current and future, fairly share the costs. Little can be done about past owners so the earlier the plan starts the better.
Care must also be taken to ensure enough funds are available without over-taxing the unit owners. The Act allows the corporation to pre-collect funds for what is NEEDED. That need is demonstrated through a Capital Reserve Plan and the resulting comprehensive Reserve Fund Study or Depreciation Report. A funding plan in which the reserve balance is never fully depleted however approaches $0 at some point in the planning horizon would be considered a Base Line Funding Plan. A funding plan which never drops below some threshold amount, such as 25% of the annual budget, would be a Threshold Funding Plan. Such a plan is considered adequate and reduces the risk of an unforeseen expenditure and possible special assessment. A goal of reaching 100% funded using a theoretical % funding model is inappropriate to determine NEED and may result in over-funding. No harm in over-funding? Remember that once the funds go from your bank account into the reserve fund they cannot come back except in reduced fees for future owners or even cash upon the dissolution of the corporation.
Some provincial legislation specifies required credentials however many Acts allow the corporation determine who is qualified. As there is, to date, no specific name or label which is common, the terms Reserve Planner or Reserve Fund Study Provider have been used. Those currently practicing include appraisers, home inspectors, engineers and architects. These professionals can typically obtain errors and omissions insurance for this type of reporting.
This is where Associated Reserve Planners Canada (ARPC) comes in. Brian Hill, the founder of ARPC also sits on the Reserve Study Standards committee of the International Capital Budgeting Institute which published the Generally Accepted Reserve Study Standards in 2015. Additionally as these are financial reports provided to third parties the Financial Reporting and Assurance Standards Canada also apply.
Appraisers, home inspectors, engineers and architects have industry specific standards to follow however are still required to comply with other applicable standards. ARPC members have committed to comply with the ICBI Generally Accepted Reserve Study Standards and Financial Reporting Assurance Standards Canada and all prepare reports using compliant software.
Reserve Fund Analysis Professional (RFA Pro) is the only report preparation software in Canada currently endorsed by the ICBI as being compliant with the Generally Accepted Reserve Study Standards. RFA Pro provides numerous formats to present the data and information so that it is easily extracted and used by the decision makers. No more magnifying glasses and rulers trying to decipher when expenditures are expected to occur and how much they will cost. If all expenditures are not clearly reported in an expenditure schedule year by year the report has probably been prepared with a simple spreadsheet which may contain errors. RFA Pro has been independently audited by a national accounting firm for accuracy. The financial exhibits are well laid out to provide the information in a clear manner.
ARPC offers training and is the exclusive provider of RFA Pro Reserve Fund Analysis reporting software solution. If you have a general knowledge of residential construction you may qualify. E & O Insurance can be an issue depending on your current profession/trade. ARPC offers mentorship programs which may also resolve insurance issues. Larger complex properties are best left to engineers and architects however the capital budgeting of smaller townhouse and low rise properties is not highly complex. ARPC training and RFA Pro software can prepare you for a rewarding, flexible, professional career or addition to your current business.
There are a few options available. ARPC endorses Reserve Fund Analysis software RFA Pro as it is compliant with the ICBI Generally Accepted Reserve Study Standards. In 2012 ARPC evaluated PRA System offered by Advanced World Concepts of Del Mar, California and negotiated the Canadian rights to system and rebranded it in Canada as RFA Pro. This user friendly platform provides well laid out financial exhibits and charts and the report writer and report builder modules make preparing reports and updates a breeze. Time is money and RFA Pro saves plenty of both.
In some provinces such as BC it is possible. The Act in Ontario may soon permit it. Often strata council or condominium boards will utilize an existing report to create a Reserve Management Plan of sorts or create one from scratch as it is better than nothing. In BC for example, a strata can vote to defer the depreciation report or its update. This may happen for many reasons and if often done using a spread sheet created by someone. A spreadsheet does not constitute a report and may not satisfy the current owners and prospective owners. ARPC offers a DIY program for these circumstances. A capital plan of any kind is better than no plan. ARPC can assist those who wish to formulate a new plan or update an existing report and create a report to present the data and information to readers with as little or as much assistance from ARPC and its members as required. ARPC members span the country and much can be done by booking an online meeting.
RFA Pro is a user friendly platform to analyze cash flows and reserve balances over the planning horizon and prepare a comprehensive Reserve Fund Study or Depreciation Report or a Reserve Management Plan as prepared by directors/council. Ask about our training, software, DIY reports or compliance with ICBI Standards. Call 1-866-342-4455 or email or book an online meeting.
RFA Pro Specific
The original DOS system was released in 1989 and the Internet version was released in 2007.
Reserve Study Providers, Property Management Companies (wholly owned and timeshare/vacation ownership), individual associations, CPAs, Real Estate Developers, Insurance Valuation Adjusters, Schools, Churches; basically, any entity that is trying to project future costs for maintaining real and personal property.
RFA Pro’s core calculations are done on a monthly basis which allows for tracking individual financial instruments and is the only system that has received a Quality Assurance Evaluation from a Certified Public Accounting firm.
In the RFA Pro System, you can setup Sites which would hold multiple properties. A Site could represent different management companies, multiple locations, etc.
Yes, export also, update worksheet, import back in.
When you download the blank worksheet the field names will be at the top for Description, Category, etc. There is also RFA worksheets that can be printed for with current data and placed on a clip board to gather data. This will be mute when we have the system working on tablets and iPads.
If I understand what you are asking, you can currently segregate items by Category and we will be probably adding a sub-category. You can sort and print in every combination.
Users currently cannot set overall Property Criteria Definitions. This is a one-time set up for a property and depending on what is trying to be accomplished, a basic setup could only a few minutes.
If you are rolling the analysis date forwards, adjusting the items that need to be rescheduled, finalizing financial analysis, producing the final report with auto table of contents and page numbering, if it takes more than hour you are probably not taking advantage of the system. The money is in the updates.
It is unlimited support. After a user gets through their 1st and 2nd report, we barely hear from them. We have two users that have three analysts each and they did over 600 reports each last year.
We are set up to do and have addressed the issues it but it isn’t going to be immediate. RFA Pro is always in active development. There is no one else out there actively developing or updating what they are offering.
We use Google Cloud Platform. All our servers are Windows Server 2008. We host our own SQL Server with a central database. We have an option to host a complete individual system on a private server with VPN access.
This is the AICPA report from their Audit and Accounting Guide for Common Interest Realty Association. This report is required in the association’s annual audit. This is their format. This sample report has analysis date is July 1, 2010, 6/30/2010 would represent the balance as of end of the previous year and the beginning balance as July 1, 2010.
RFA Pro has reports that do as of the analysis date and project forwards on an annual basis up to 40 years.
This is a timeshare feature where maintenance fee billings go out let’s say December. You can tell the system when will these fees be deposited, i.e. 50% received in January, 25% received in February, etc. This gives a more accurate calculation of interest earned based on when the cash is deposited on a monthly basis. Also, if maintenance fees are not monthly, they could be quarterly, semi-annual, etc.
No ownership selections are required in RFA Pro Project Definition. You can have proportional or fixed based on model types.
You have complete control of the financial plan with the features in Global Parameters.
Current cost as of analysis date has inflation applied to it calculate the future cost.