Workflows can make or break your level of efficiency within Yardi systems. When your workflow is running like a well-oiled machine, you can streamline invoices, payables, work orders, leasing, vendor setup, and so much more. But when your workflow experiences regular delays and complications, things can quickly go off-track and leave your office less efficient than it was before.
Saxony Partners’ Senior Yardi Consultant Meagan Stuesser helps her clients improve their Yardi workflows every day with strategic recommendations and best practices. Here are her thoughts and top Yardi workflow tips to help you improve efficiency within your organization.
Understanding Yardi Workflows
For long-time Yardi users, workflows are just part of daily life. But Yardi newcomers might feel unsure about how to automate these internal processes. By definition, Yardi workflows are simply settings surrounding accountability for various user roles.
“Workflows are designed to streamline and simplify the approval process,” Stuesser said. “The most common workflows are around Purchase Orders, Invoices, and Payables. You can also build workflows around items like work orders, vendor set up, leasing, and the list goes on.”
One of the reasons workflows are so convenient is because they can be automated to help users complete critical businesses tasks more quickly.
“Workflows can be automated when tied to an expense type,” Stuesser said. “So anytime a P.O., I.R., or Payable is created with that expense type, it will automatically attach the associated workflow and show up in the workflow dashboard for the first user in that workflow process.”
Yardi Workflow Tips
Don’t Rely on Email for Your Workflow
To better understand what an effective, highly-functional Yardi workflow looks like, it helps to understand what makes a poor Yardi workflow. One of the most important Yardi workflow tips Stuesser recommends: keep your workflow inside the Yardi system and out of your email inbox.
“Workflows can be created in a short amount of time,” Stuesser said. “The most time-consuming part is determining which user roles and approval amounts need to be involved in the process and testing. Most companies have these guidelines set up already, but the process is outside of Yardi. For example, they might be using emails for approvals. There is high risk involved with relying on email. You could misplace or delete an email which could result in delay or items falling off the radar completely.”
Don’t Overcomplicate Your Workflow
Another thing to avoid when setting up your workflows: too many unnecessary steps. Keep things simple and straightforward.
“Having too many steps in the workflows complicates the process,” Stuesser said. “The order in which the approval steps occur is crucial, so making sure that the correct user roles are set up in the most efficient order is key to a successful workflow process.”
Choose Roles Wisely
Workflows are meant to hold users accountable for their part in internal processes, so it is important to make sure you have assigned the appropriate users to each workflow.
“Not having the correct user roles set up for the correct workflows would be another example of a poor workflow,” Stuesser said. “You want to make sure that the users included in the approval process have an understanding of that process. For example, you wouldn’t set up your Maintenance Tech as an approver in a workflow designed for Leasing and you likely wouldn’t include your Senior Property Accountant in a workflow designed for work orders.”
Update Roles Accordingly
When staffing changes take place with your organization, the role settings within Yardi workflows can easily slip through the cracks. Make sure you have a plan to update user roles periodically as needed.
“Not consistently updating your user role set up when turnover occurs or when a user’s job responsibilities change can lead to inefficiencies down the road,” Stuesser said. “This could lead to workflows that get “stuck” sitting with a user for approval who no longer works for the company or with someone who’s duties have changed and they are no longer involved in that process. Best practice would be to make sure there is someone in place to take over any workflows in process for the user that is leaving the company prior to their departure. An overall audit should be done monthly to ensure all the correct users are in place.”
Check Your Dashboard Daily
Even if you have your workflow roles assigned perfectly, tasks can still bottleneck if steps in the process are ignored by key users.
“Best practice would be that users check their dashboards first thing in the morning, at least once during the day (before or after lunch), and prior to logging off to prevent any delays in approvals,” Stuesser said.
Benefits of Yardi Workflow Improvements
Wondering whether or not you should bother with these Yardi workflow tips? As Stuesser explains, the benefits of an effective Yardi workflow are numerous, and the alternative can hurt your business.
“Delays in payments and repairs are just a couple examples of how poorly designed workflows can impact your business,” Stuesser said. “If there is a delay in payment, you will have upset vendors on your hands that might refuse to complete work on other projects until payment is received. Along the same lines, delays in repairs that need to be done can result in upset residents.”
“Having your workflows through Yardi gives you visibility of every step in the process and all users can see where in the approval process items are – which will then hold users accountable for any delays in the process. This is also a benefit from an audit perspective as you can see the process from start to finish.”
“Improvements in the process will then lead to quicker turnaround times for payments, repairs, leasing, and more.”
These Yardi workflow tips are only the beginning. If you think your workflows could use some improvements, Saxony Partners is equipped with an experienced team of independent Yardi consultants who can help.
“Saxony can review your current workflow designs and determine whether they should be streamlined, simplified, or completely overhauled to make your process more efficient,” Stuesser said. “We will make recommendations on which roles should be involved in which workflow to ensure a smooth process.”