Small and Medium Companies

Elizabeth’s Training Suggestions for Small to Medium Sized Companies

4 simple steps to help you tackle your company’s training needs!

Most companies are comprised of team members with all levels of Section 42 or Tax Credit Program compliance experience. This makes the task of getting everyone the training they need daunting. By following Elizabeth’s 4 steps, you can take the guess-work out of training and be assured you have a well-trained team.

If you have MORE than 11 employees that need training or expect to average 1 new employee each month over the
next year, you may want to look at Elizabeth’s LARGE COMPANY training plan.

Step #1… Assess Each Team Member’s Current Knowledge

The most important thing to do first is understand what type of training each team member needs. Because of the different levels of experience and knowledge, putting everyone through the same courses can be a waste of time, cause frustration and disgruntled employees. Certainly not conducive to getting your people up to speed quickly and efficiently! Remedy this by having all compliance and property management staff take the Compliance Assessment which will pinpoint exactly where each of your team member’s current compliance knowledge is at.

Now, understand, the Compliance Assessment is not a course. Rather a tool to help you determine your staff’s current compliance knowledge. This assessment is comprised of a series of questions divided into 5 sections with each section assessing the understanding in a specific area of compliance that must be mastered in order to protect your portfolio from noncompliance. The 5 compliance areas assessed are (1) general compliance understanding; (2) income eligibility and income/asset calculations; (3) eligibility and special program rules; (4) income limits, rents and utility allowances; and (5) fair housing.

Each of the 5 sections represents the concepts taught in a specific Housing Credit Training Center course…

  • Section 1 = Housing Credits 101: Compliance Basics
  • Section 2 = Housing Credits 103: Income & Assets
  • Section 3 = Housing Credits 204: Unique Program Rules (Rule application, household rules & student rule)
  • Section 4 = Housing Credits 204: Unique Program Rules (Unit transfers, Available Unit Rule & Unit Vacancy Rule)
  • Section 5 = Fair Housing 101: A Fair Housing Primer

so by completing the section, you will not only have a clear picture of each of your team member’s current knowledge, you will know what class or classes in which to register them to improve their knowledge level.

Once all 5 sections of the Compliance Assessment are completed, direct each person to print their transcript which indicates the score the person earned in each section and compare these section scores to the Industry Proficiency Chart included with the Compliance Assessment. This chart will indicate that if any section score is…

  • 80% or higher…
    • Concepts understood
    • No further training is recommended
  • Between 65% – 79%…
    • Understands many but not all of the concepts
    • Suggest reviewing material in corresponding course
  • Less than 64%…
    • Further study needed
    • Enroll in course to learn concepts

$49/person  Add to Cart
When registering multiple individuals & provide them with immediate access, you will need to go through the shopping cart process separately for each individual.
We can help with this if you have a large group. Contact our office at [email protected]

Step #2… Determine Which of the Suggested Courses You Should Enroll Each Team Member

Once your employees have completed the Compliance Assessment and you have compared their results with the Industry Proficiency Chart, you have a clear plan of attack.

Now BEFORE you begin registering individuals for courses, STOP for a moment and think about each person’s level of responsibility, current position within the company, length of time with the company, and the long-term goals you have for this person as far as compliance goes. You probably aren’t going to want to register everyone for all the courses. Quite frankly, some just don’t need that comprehensive of an education to function well at their job. For example, if the team member is only responsible for taking in applications and determining initial eligibility, it is probably not necessary for them to take Housing Credits 205: Income Limits, Rents & Utility Allowances, especially if there is another person within the company that oversees this. However, if the team member is a supervisor or has a decision-making role for a property, you will want to ensure they have a comprehensive knowledge and enroll them in all of the courses suggested by the Industry Proficiency Chart. Also, don’t forget education is often a great way to keep your prized team members happy and keep them from getting antsy in their current position.

Once this decision is made, you can register your employees for individual classes or, if you have employees that are new to the program or you feel need an overall compliance education, save money and sign them up for the Site Course Package Plan. Courses taken individually range from $249 to $299 per person. The Site Course Package Plan is a comprehensive bundle of courses designed to provide the individual with all the fundamentals they need to master site compliance and is $799 per person.

This link takes you to the Course Catalog where you can learn more about each course and add your selected courses and/or the Site Course Package Plan to the shopping cart.

Step #3… Get Selected Team Members Compliance Certified

Once your individual team members have completed the courses you have selected for them, you should determine which of them should become compliance certified. Any team members that completed the Site Course Package Plan or any that scored 80% or higher on EACH of the sections in the Compliance Assessment, is certainly ready to take the Site Compliance Exam which when passed will give them their nationally recognized Site Compliance Specialist or SCS designation.

It is highly recommended you have at least 2 people compliance certified at a minimum. The actual number will be based on the size of your portfolio and how you have compliance monitoring set up at your company. If compliance is decentralized, meaning each property is responsible for compliance and its oversight individually, you should have at least one compliance certified person per property and possibly even 2 for a back up. If compliance is centralized, meaning you have a compliance department in charge of overseeing compliance on the entire portfolio, you will want at least 2 people compliance certified. Quite frankly, more is better here as it shows your State Monitoring Agencies and investors that you are concerned with maintaining compliance and have the existing knowledge to do a great job. And also, assisting team members in becoming compliance certified is a great company benefit that is often overlooked! I know many a company that has their entire compliance and management team certified in compliance!

To become compliance certified, you will want your selected team members to take the Site Compliance Exam which can be taken online at the Housing Credit Exam Room conveniently and securely. Once this exam is passed, the individual is compliance certified and is awarded with their Site Compliance Specialist (SCS) designation.

Now it should be noted, the SCS designation is a site compliance certification focusing on day-to-day compliance. You may also want to consider having selected individuals in supervisory roles certified in advanced compliance. Advanced compliance goes beyond day-to-day site compliance and moves into development and allocation, finance, and complex compliance concepts. Such concepts include, but are not limited to, understanding…

  • How tax credits are calculated and how that calculation affects compliance;
  • The applicable fraction, noncompliance, and recapture;
  • How the decisions made at allocation and throughout development and financing affects compliance and the property’s overall operating success;
  • Advanced compliance concepts such as acquisition/rehabs, mixed income properties, and subsidy-layered properties.

If you desire to have any of your team members certified in advanced compliance, you will want them to take Housing Credits 445: National Compliance Professional. Once this is completed, you will want that person to take the National Compliance Exam which can also be taken online at our Housing Credit Exam Room. Individuals who go down the path to obtain our advanced compliance designation must meet both an Education and Experience Requirement before the full-blown designation known as the National Compliance Professional (NCP or NCP-E) can be earned. Individuals who successfully meet these requirements and become an NCP or NCP-E are considered the elite of the industry!

about becoming certified in compliance

Step #4… Annually Refresh and Update Your Team’s Knowledge 

Now after this process is complete, you will have a team that has the education level required to successfully meet their job responsibilities. That is great but you cannot rest on your laurels. This program changes constantly and the compliance rules are full of interpretations that are constantly being tweaked as time passes. It is crucial as part of designing a training program for your team, you keep in mind the need for continuing education. Most State Monitoring Agencies today require it as do investors. Also, it is just a smart way to do business and keep your properties in compliance. The good news is this is easier than ever.

  • SECOND, I recommend you have them subscribe to the longest running compliance and management newsletter — The Compliance Monitor as it is an excellent resource to everything that is going on in the industry and is like a training session in each issue.
  • And THIRD, I recommend each team member take a refresher course at least annually.

Now as far as training courses are concerned, of course, you should consider having your team members attend your State Monitoring Agency’s training but you should also consider having them take one of our online courses to keep refreshed and current. When selecting what course or courses to have your team members take, don’t forget about the Compliance Assessment tool as it is a great way to determine and show your staff the holes in their knowledge. Consider having them take the assessment annually and then register them for the courses recommended. If they have already taken a course and are balking at the idea of repeating a course, be sure to explain to them that this program is quite complex and each course addresses numerous concepts. By repeating a course, I can GUARANTEE they will learn something new. Also, understand, if there are changes made to the rules or within the industry, I will update each of the affected courses, so by repeating them on an annual basis, your team will be assured they have the most current information and knowledge!

This link takes you to the Course Catalog where you can learn more about each course and add your selected courses and/or the Site Course Package Plan to the shopping cart.

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