December 19, 2022

Understanding cooperative member administration & management

What is cooperative member administration and management?

Cooperative member administration and management is not too dissimilar to the requirements of any other kind of business and is especially analogous to shareholder or investor relations. However, a main area of distinction is in calculating and distributing rebates which we’ll cover below.

Cooperative member administration and management involves meticulous records management, including all business activity and or transactions in relation to member shares and ownership. All records are stored and preserved enabling easy access and good archive housekeeping. Some cooperatives also offer goods and or services for sale to their members, which like any business results in the need for accounting, point of sale data and tax statements. 

The upshot is that effective and efficient management will maintain good data both for the cooperative and the member, which is imperative for internal and external audits. In addition, cooperatives have boards like many companies, and as such a well-kept system supports a cooperative in meeting its compliance and governance requirements.

Does my cooperative need member management? 

Many cooperatives start out by managing their member registry on excel, which will suffice for a small number of members, with limited data and for a short period. Over time however, problems often arise, which is usually in the form of the amount of time taken to report and communicate to members, information either failing to be captured or becoming out of date, manual errors being made in paying rebates and key man risk in the head office. At that point, a cooperative will benefit from software that will offer more sophistication, automation and digitisation, and finally data security. A coop scaling up will look for opportunities to preserve resources, automate processes, customise workflows and present professionally to members and auditors. Manual, legacy systems leave a coop open to errors that could cause financial and reputational damage. All these considerations force the hand to seek solutions. The answer is member and registry management software.

Efficient and systematic control of the creation, receipt, maintenance, use and disposition of records is seldom managed on excel. The efficiencies are found in software that becomes a trusted store of data that can be easily mined. It also quickly serves as the single source of truth, a complete history of members, their past rebate payments, business statements and performance, and eliminates double-handling. Data layout should be intuitive allowing internal teams to extract and analyse information as needed, reducing the risk of one key worker managing multiple spreadsheets. 

“Formerly administrative tasks were handled by 1 person working 20 hours per week, now it takes 1 person 2 hours per month", Paul Burns, Craigmore.

Examples of problems solved on the Syndex platform are:

  • The sending and filtering of group communications to current members, past members and or members in different geographies. No data is lost, just filtered so appropriate information can be sent to the correct people. The filtering principle applies to regions, suppliers or any other field you select.
  • An easy way to update the unit registry, issue new units, onboard new members and/or differentiate between different unit classes following a capital raise through issuing CCU’s.
  • Simplifying the transfer process of units to trusts, family members etc. Workflow processes that can save time and errors.
  • Eliminating key man risk, with a team member retiring and entire processes and procedures at risk of being lost. With Syndex the team were given multiple logins and training for the one platform, which also enables more efficient and seamless job sharing.
  • Eliminating manual errors that were made by a cooperative when it came time to calculate and pay rebates.
  • Seamlessly building in point of sale data systems so members who were rewarded by shopping with their co-op could see their rewards automatically updated in the amount of units they hold.
  • Reducing the amount of time co-op teams handle calls and emails from members requesting past unit statements, rebate statements, reports, updates on voting and events, and more via a member portal login. 
  • Waning member engagement was boosted for several co-ops, which can now offer their members a user-friendly member portal, which shows their total units, current valuations, current and past statements, current and past reports and allows them to update their personal information, including new addresses, bank accounts and more.

How do you maintain a share registry?

Any data is only as good as the data inputted therefore being systematic and ensuring the registry is clean and up-to-date is important. Being able to look up information easily, combine documents and accounts, attribute transactions to investors, apportion appropriate dividends and rebates etc can quickly amass into a tangled web. In addition, Syndex has found few co-ops actually capture the entity type that the member is holding the units under, for example this could be in a family trust, a company, a sole proprietor or a self-managed-super-fund (SMSF). With Syndex, all of this is captured. For a system to be fully trusted it needs to be comprehensive, handled methodically and regularly maintained. 

Should I use software (Saas) or a third-party provider?

We are supporters of using software for member/registry management, as opposed to using a third-party provider. Syndex offers an intuitive system for easy office use giving you instant control of your markets. A third-party provider curtails your ability to be agile and responsive. 

What can software do for managing the rebate process?

The time-consuming, stressful and messy manual rebate process can be taken online and simplified. Unique to Syndex is rebate technology that imports your sales/supplier data, computes to corresponding rebate percentages, and allocates rebates accordingly, all with appropriate communications to members. This is a flexible, cost-effective and professional processing system that eliminates risk areas such as human error and key worker knowledge. Fully digitised, this is an area that can go paper-free, should you wish.

“Syndex uses a unique algorithm to offer a flexible, cost-effective and professional rebate processing system.”

The Syndex registry management system

Our member/registry management system encompasses a CRM, centralised documentation management, analytics, reporting, rebate technology and more. Communications you choose to send out can be fully branded, sent in bulk and calendarised. From uploading data to paying dividends/rebates, so much is automated and effortless. Secure, and your source of truth, Syndex becomes a mainstay of your business.

“The Syndex member registry system is gold!” Mark Kebbell, CEO Dairy Farmer’s Mutual Co-operative.

Our member/registry management system is one part of our private markets eco-system. Users not only benefit from the registry component but from the aggregation of secondary markets, capital raising capability and investor relations and communications. These integrations offer a seamless, one-stop-shop for your co-operative throughout its life-cycle; Syndex aids your first capital raise, supports the ensuing register in a branded environment, offers liquidity to your members, automates the payment of dividends and rebates, members self-manage their portfolio in the portal, aids your subsequent capital raise, integrates new members into the register, runs reports for easy auditing, sophisticated and professional outputs for maturity or IPO. We journey with you, giving you peace of mind, while you grow and scale your business.

“With Syndex it’s easy to recover costs $ for $ through efficiencies, but for us, it’s more about the professionalism we can now offer to our members.” Anthony Nehme, Company Secretary, Yenda.

Is Syndex for you? Getting the benefits from joining the Syndex platform isn’t dependent on member numbers - we have coops on board with member counts that vary from 150 to 2500. The real benefits are afforded to a cooperative that needs to modernise and digitise, but also one that wants to grow, has complexities that need to be simplified and has frequently changing data. Talk to us about how Syndex could revolutionise your member registry.

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