Finance-Owned Solution Reduces Report Compilation Time by 75%

Stoltz Management leveraged Spreadsheet Server with Yardi ERP to create new and unique reports in house

Is Casestudy Stoltz Management

The Challenge

With sixty-five different properties to manage, Stoltz Management relied on their Yardi ERP to capture all necessary data. And while the solution was great for gathering the data the organization needed, getting it back out again in a usable form for reporting was a different story. Standard report options didn’t give the accounting team everything they needed, and designing custom reports was becoming both too time-consuming and too expensive.

“We ended up stuck with the default reporting,” recalled Erin Smurkowski, assistant controller for Stoltz Management. “If we wanted to change anything, we had to pay, and it could take weeks to get the report back. Even simple tasks like adding a column could take up to two weeks.”

As the company expanded in 2017, they knew they had to change something in their process, and they chose Spreadsheet Server by insightsoftware to do it. Said Smurkowski, “Spreadsheet Server could do everything we wanted and more.”

Building to Success with Spreadsheet Server

From the start, Smurkowski could use Spreadsheet Server to make the reports the team couldn’t build before, as well as replicate larger standard reporting packages. “We run asset management reports for 65 properties each month. Each property had fifteen reports which had to be manually run and exported before being copied and pasted into Excel. It would take four accountants at least five hours each to manually run all these reports,” Smurkowski said. “So, the first thing I did was rebuild all those packages in Spreadsheet Server. Now I just go in and click a button and I can go do something else while those compile in the background.”

Spreadsheet Server also proved beneficial in developing an annual budget process. “We used to spend a lot of time exporting the prior year’s data so managers could reference it to make the next year’s budget,” Smurkowski said. “I was able to create budget packages for each property in Spreadsheet Server, then send them out using Spreadsheet Server’s Distribution Manager tool.”

The solution’s flexibility has come into play several times for the Stoltz Management accounting team. “We’ve been able to create reports we never had before,” Smurkowski said. “Other departments needed reports in different formats, yet there was nothing that I couldn’t create in Spreadsheet Server. The Query Designer wizard tool was intuitive and easy to work with; I was able to get everything built fairly quickly.”

The team has also found creative ways to use Spreadsheet Server reporting on Yardi data beyond just financials and budget. “Now we have specialized residential reports! We can run a report on our resident’s vehicles in case we need to tow a car that doesn’t belong at our residential properties. Now we can search license plates to see if a vehicle belongs to a resident or not. Before we couldn’t even search for vehicles,” Smurkowski said. “We also report on birthdays during the coming month so we can be sure to send residents birthday wishes. We can search any demographic we need. I may not even build a full report; sometimes all it takes is a quick query that I can send to a property manager.”

In another instance, Spreadsheet Server’s Query Designer was able to pull specific and necessary information that the team didn’t even need to report on but could not surface otherwise from within Yardi. “We noticed a lease changed in our ERP, but didn’t know who made the change when or why,” said Smurkowski. “We didn’t know if the change was correct and if not, how long it had been an issue. But I could easily pull that information using Spreadsheet Server without creating a big report.”

Navigating Success

Spreadsheet Server has changed Stoltz Management’s month-end process for the better. “I have a daily process that addresses any transactions from the previous days to make sure there’s backup attached where necessary,” said Smurkowski. “With Spreadsheet Server, I can automatically publish a report that identifies what’s missing on a daily basis. This keeps everyone on track with where they should be.”

Other notable returns have included:

  • Reducing asset management report compilation for 65 properties from 20 hours to 5 hours
  • Ability to create custom invoices using accurate data
  • Removing need for manual work and freeing senior accountants up for more productive tasks

“Spreadsheet Server has been incredibly useful to make all the reports we could never build on our own before,” Smurkowski concluded. “It’s been far and away the best choice.”

"We’ve been able to create reports we never had before. Other departments needed reports in different formats, yet there was nothing that I couldn’t create in Spreadsheet Server. The Query Designer wizard tool was intuitive and easy to work with; I was able to get everything built fairly quickly."

Erin Smurkowski
Assistant Controller