Background:

A national code enforcement agency arrived on Able Management Solutions’ doorstep, nearly bankrupt, from their management company.  Their management company had initially competed with Able for the business of this organization, and had won, mostly by virtue of a Washington, D.C. address, larger staff and “what you want to hear” sales pitch. Able’s more realistic approach and SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely) goals weren’t as glamorous or exciting.  The association also wanted to maintain a hands-on style and were afraid Able would “take over” too much, stealing their thunder.  Sadly, the other company promised them the moon, then took them to the cleaners.  The firm spent all the association’s money, including earmarked funds for projects like their annual conference, never allowed any outside, independent audits, and provided only internally-generated financial reports to the board and treasurer.  The board of the association, as a result, had no idea what was going on, until a vendor contacted them and complained about a bounced check for services.  An investigation was initiated and the management company quickly suggested that the contract be broken and the association was free to find new management.

 

What We Identified:

So it was that the association came back to Able, hat in hand, asking for help.  Able reviewed their circumstances, remaining funds including pocket lint, assets and liabilities, and decided there was potential, promise, a possible future there.  Able offered to help, “IF you do EXACTLY as we ask.”  They agreed. Able scaled back payments and created a payment plan until they could get back on their feet.  Able projected it would take about 18 months to achieve some kind of stability, but it took only eight. 

 

What We Did:

The first order of business was getting rid of the sloppy bookkeeping and management practices and getting the basics back on track, followed by growing the membership and restoring a level of profitability to their conferences.  With Able at the help, they never again lost money on a conference or meeting.  Once they came on board and got out of the danger zone, the board had a strategic retreat (on their own dimes), a bare-bones meeting to create a plan to which they stuck over the next eighteen months. 

 

“If I had to name one singular move as PSHP president that was a defining moment, it was pushing for us to sign with Able.” – Fern Kaufman, Past president and head of search committee, Pennsylvania Society of Health System Pharmacists

 

How it Ended:

The association has done very well.  They have not lost money on a conference, their membership nearly doubled.  They continue to have rough spots, but no more than any other organization in this troubled economy, but the good news is that these rough spots are caused by external factors. Their internal management processes and controls remain stable, with no more bounced checks or mystery bookkeeping to worry about.