Walton Communities is a privately held company based in Marietta, Georgia. It develops, owns and manages apartment communities throughout metro-Atlanta and Augusta. With a heartfelt mission to serve its residents, Walton Communities is committed to providing exceptional residential, affordable and active adult housing at a great value in a friendly neighborhood environment.
For its growing portfolio, Walton needed a better solution for budgeting than the manual spreadsheets it had been using. When Walton’s longtime finance director retired, the company sought an easy-to-use software solution that would replace spreadsheets to expedite the budgeting process and work seamlessly with the company’s Yardi platform.
Yardi Forecast IQ
Reduce budget cycle times, improve accuracy and simplify forecasting with Forecast IQ, part of Yardi Elevate for multifamily. This easy-to-use tool uses real-time expense and revenue data from Yardi Voyager. It gives you a complete picture of each asset’s budget status across your portfolio, along with predictions for future rental income.
With Forecast IQ, Walton has a system that works within its single Yardi database, pulling in real-time expenses and revenue from Voyager to create accurate budgets. According to Jennifer Price, Walton’s director of systems, “It’s simple to use and lets us control user access, which is huge.” Price commented on the reliability of Forecast IQ, “The system is so accurate — it’s easy to verify the numbers to confirm that it’s doing exactly what it promises to do.”
Walton has many allocations across its GL and needed a flexible solution to accommodate them. Price also values the control Walton gets with Forecast IQ — they can lock down budgets and give staff access to certain GL codes or access points within the budget. “We can be as general or as granular as we want to be. We can ask ourselves where our calculations must be spot on with an increase or decrease for next year, and we can pull over actuals from Voyager for specific accounts,” Price said.
Price added that the company also uses custom calculations with Forecast IQ. “We really like the ability to forecast and reforecast on the fly. We could never do that with manual spreadsheets. We also love the live-time interface with Yardi financials.”
“When COVID-19 hit and everything stopped in March through April 2020, we were able to go into Forecast IQ and easily reforecast. I used the system to make some revenue adjustments,” Price said. “Luckily, we didn’t get hit as hard as we expected, but we had the tool in place to reforecast, and that was a big benefit. Otherwise, without Forecast IQ, it would’ve been extremely time-consuming to make changes to our forecast for the year.”
Price commented that this year’s (2021) budget process went a lot smoother than last year’s, mainly due to improvements that Yardi’s highly responsive development team continue to make to the system which facilitated company-wide adoption for Walton. “We worked with our fabulous Yardi contacts and were able to make this year’s budget process more efficient for all our managers and regionals.”
Price added that Walton’s regional managers enjoy using Forecast IQ. “Our regionals are wonderful leaders and giving them an easy-to-use tool that empowers them to make changes to revenue and tweak expenses has been great.”