Utility Advantages

By on Oct 30, 2018 in Energy, News

Along with learning more about property and investment management solutions, clients used the most recent Yardi Advanced Solutions Conference (YASC) to share experiences and best practices.

Representatives from Streetlane Homes, Holland Partner Group and Legacy Partners discussed in a panel session the benefits they have gained from Yardi Utility Expense Management, which receives account information and utility data directly from utility companies serving properties and generates payments to those providers.

Streetlane Homes: Got their weekends back

Streetlane Homes, a Roofstock company, is a leading provider of property and asset management services for single family rental home portfolios and saved more than $100,000 in overhead costs and reduced late fees by 90% within eight months of implementing Yardi Utility Expense Management in November 2017. “The solution relieved our corporate office of processing 17,000 utility invoices per month. With our previous utility service system, we had to audit every bill. That’s a lot of paperwork and manual labor that Yardi has taken off our hands,” said Teresa Taylor, vice president, finance for Streetlane Homes. “Having Yardi Voyager internal systems already in place made for a seamless transition to Yardi Utility Expense Management.”

She added, “We had nine people working Saturdays and Sundays working on utility invoices. Nobody does that now. I was signing 400 checks a day. Now I have all that time back for more important tasks, and only two people are dedicated to accounts payable.”

The Yardi Utility Expense Management support team also tracks and resolves service disconnections, keeping Streetlane Homes residents happy. “If there’s a late fee, Yardi calls the provider and gets it reversed,” Taylor said.

Holland Partner Group: Proactive customer service

Joanne Bush of Vancouver, Wash.-based property owner and manager Holland Partner Group faced workflow and invoice management issues that were similar to Taylor’s. Bush, the company’s vice president of residential accounting and community services, noted how the Yardi Energy team’s “proactive customer service” relieved her staff of checking workflows, troubleshooting problems and sending payments to utility providers.

“With any integration, you miss things,” Bush said, a problem eliminated by building Yardi Utility Expense Management into Yardi Voyager. “Yardi processes and posts the invoices; we just review them and then perform our normal check processing.”

Bush’s team no longer has to send two ACH transmissions for 65 properties twice a week. The system also catches water system leaks and other malfunctions. “Working with the Yardi Energy team is a nice partnership that we didn’t have before,” she said.

Legacy Partners: Vacant recoveries captured

The biggest challenge of managing utility expenses in-house was the loss of quality control, according to Lisa Dixon, help desk director for Legacy Partners, which develops and manages multifamily properties. “When our dozens of properties did utility management on their own, something always got lost in the mail with invoices going through so many hands. Reconciliation was a nightmare, there were multiple interfaces and nobody was minding the shop,” she said. Standardizing processes with Yardi Utility Expense Management eliminated these problems.

Yardi also keeps abreast of rate changes on Legacy Partners’ behalf and red-flags spikes in bills caused by equipment malfunctions or other problems. Tracking local and state energy regulations in the 13 states where the Foster City, Calif.-based company operates is also Yardi’s responsibility. “A property two blocks away could be in another county with different regulations. We don’t have the time or personnel to track that,” Dixon said.

Also, Dixon said, “The Yardi Energy team can monitor move-ins and move-outs, and they verify the service-from date in Voyager against the invoice. Any overlap is flagged, and we’re gaining vacant cost recoveries. That’s something else nobody was minding before,” she said. “With vacant cost recoveries, utility rates and regulation monitoring, we’re gaining benefits we didn’t even know we had been losing.”

Read a white paper on utility expense management best practices. Learn how other Yardi clients have benefited from a single connected solution for property management.