Wood Partners, based in Atlanta, Georgia, is one of the nation's largest multifamily real estate developers, with offices across the United States. Since the company’s inception in 1998, they have developed more than 79,000 homes with a combined value of more than $14.1 billion.
For the past seven of those 24 years, they’ve relied on Oracle Textura Payment Management, a construction payment management application, to support the growth of their construction business.
As an owner-developer that also self-performs most of their construction work, they constantly challenge themselves to find better ways to bring in all their many projects on budget, on time, and with high quality and low risk. They are currently on track to start more projects in 2022 than they’ve ever started in a single calendar year.
From a construction payments perspective, that can mean dealing with several hundred subcontractor invoices each month, as well as all the related contracts, compliance documents, compliance requirements, lien waiver collection, and payments.
The accounting group truly had a daunting task before Oracle Textura: how to efficiently and accurately handle all the invoices (without math errors) while ensuring compliance requirements were met, lien waivers collected, and financial reporting completed. One way would be to hire more people. The other way was to automate the manual process, and that’s what Wood Partners did by selecting and implementing Oracle Textura Payment Management.
As Wood Partners Vice President Sarah Murray says, “The only way we could manage this kind of volume of business is with the Oracle Textura automation in place. What tells me we made the right decision is that while our business has grown substantially in the past seven years, the size of our accounts payable department has stayed the same.”
First, Wood Partners wanted to move away from paper checks and leverage the efficiency and security of paying their subcontractors via electronic payment. It wasn’t just a question of eliminating the hassle of dealing with a large volume of paper checks each month.
“With Textura, we appreciate the fact that we could pay subcontractors electronically without our company being responsible for maintaining their banking information,” Murray says. “Subcontractors are responsible for their own banking information, and that avoids a potential security issue for us.”
The second key Oracle Textura capability was around managing compliance requirements and the ability to collect lien waivers on a secure platform. In a manual world, Word documents would get emailed. Someone then needed to make sure they used the right form, input the correct information, and that no one had modified it inappropriately—for instance changing compliance status without proper approvals, or altering a lien waiver. Oracle Textura’s secure change control structure prevents this sort of problem.
“Getting correct and valid lien waivers was a big administrative task for our teams. And being able to do that with proper controls in the software was another big plus that brought us to the table,” says Murray.
Finally, the ability for Oracle Textura to integrate with Wood Partners’ accounting systems, which have changed over time, has proven valuable. The two-way integration from accounting system to Oracle Textura and back eliminates inefficient double data entry, avoids potential human error, improves accuracy, and speeds up the process, as demonstrated by the rapid growth in business while keeping the accounts payable team at the same size.
In fact, Oracle Textura was able to help support Wood Partners’ migration from their previous accounting system to Yardi Voyager, their financial reporting and accounting platform used for property management, as well as development and construction. Oracle Textura fully supports integration to Yardi.
As Murray says, “Having the Oracle Textura platform allowed us to prioritize the migration of our non-construction business financial reporting because we knew we could continue our construction business and know that subcontractors would get paid regardless of where we were in the migration.”
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Lucie is an experienced technology marketing professional with a current focus on payment and cost-related products in Oracle's construction and engineering global business unit. At Oracle, her work in product marketing is centered on customer engagement and creating the right content to support our customers.
She has over 20 years experience in engineering, product management, marketing, project management, and sales. She holds a BS in Electrical Engineering and an MBA, from McGill University, Montreal, Canada, and can be found most nights at the dance studio, prepping for her next ballroom competition.