Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
Terra Holdings is the parent company of Brown Harris Stevens Residential Management and Halstead Management.
Dan Cardella, Vice President, and Greg Zammit, Executive Vice President, remember what happened one year ago in New York City – and it didn’t pan out the way they expected.
Dan and Greg with Terra Holdings, one of America’s largest privately held real estate services companies, knew that many of the city’s businesses were temporarily closing, or shutting down permanently, because of the pandemic. For many businesses, cash flow dried up.
They figured their business, providing property management services for several of the city’s higher-end residential buildings, would be processing fewer invoices than the 10,000 they typically process monthly for their real estate clients to whom they make payments.
But — to their surprise — the opposite happened. In March, April and May, the number of invoices they had to process rose to 11,000-to-12,000 a month. Why?
To deal with the health crisis, residential managers made many additional purchases. Items included plexiglass, cleaning supplies for their buildings and personal protective equipment including masks and rubber gloves.
Leveraged AvidPay and AvidInvoice to pay bills on time
To help keep up with the influx, Terra Holdings leveraged AvidPay and AvidInvoice, both of which it started using in 2017.
These software solutions allowed them to process and pay the additional invoices seamlessly and on time without having to hire additional resources.
“Quite frankly without AvidXchange I don’t see how we would have managed accounts payable during the Covid-19 pandemic, as our 18-person team was working remotely,” said Cardella. “The AvidXchange software has been a tremendous asset for us. Working with AvidXchange is going better than I expected.”
The software sets up workflows that automatically notify the approvers, which can be between two and eight approvers, based upon the complexity of the invoice. This eliminates the need for people to spend valuable time chasing down people to approve invoices.
“We were able to do our job but do it better because we could process more invoices effectively,” he said.
Zammit echoed these sentiments:
“There’s no doubt in my mind we could not have pulled that off without AvidXchange. It would have been impossible to get the approvals done with approvers working from home. We exceeded expectations.”
During March, April, and May, he says he kept saying “thank God we did this conversion to AvidXchange years ago in 2017. I really don’t know what would have happened as far as business continuity. It would definitely have been disrupted significantly.”
He says AvidXchange sped up the time it took to process his company’s invoices by about 33 percent.
Timely payments improved relationships with vendors
Because Terra Holdings made on-time payments during these challenging times, relationships between the company’s real estate clients and the clients’ vendors improved.
When clients needed cleaning supplies for their buildings from vendors, for instance, they got them because Terra Holdings paid the vendors on time.
Most important problem solved: “transparency”
For his part, Zammit says the most important problem the AvidXchange software solves is the need for total transparency throughout the invoice and payment process.
“I can see what the status of the invoice is at any point in time. That solves a major issue for me.”
Software simplifies the auditing process
Cardella points out how valuable the software has been this year for over 30 certified public accounting firms that audit the company’s financial records. He’s been able to easily set up the auditors with access to the records seamlessly so they can pull down the invoices they need while working from their home offices.