Up One Level Letters to TEDitor IF IT BLEEDS... SPAM!

Letters to TEDitor






Xxxxx  Xxxxx wrote:

To introduce ourselves, Xxxxxxxxxx Xxxxxxxxxx Inc ( is a 9 year old IT company in Xxxxxxx, XX offering IT services.
We have experience in Yardi software on an offshore basis.  That is, we offer Yardi users an Offshore centre in India managing their financials and other transactions.  Hence to the user client in US it is cost effective and by outsourcing they can concentrate on their core business competence.
We would like to discuss with your company whether we can jointly offer this service to your clients.
We can send our presentation and further details to have a meaningful discussion.
Thanks and looking forward to your response.

Xxxxx Xxxxx

To which, The YARDI Guy didn't reply!!!

On the PT Cruiser Lovers message board, "Sigvarius" wrote:

Finally got to see Chevy's answer to the PT... just from the outside.  Boxier, looks like more room inside.  The front grill to me looks dated, and I don't think I could deal with all those jeweled chrome gauges (even the needles are chrome)
Yeah, the HHR may get better mpg, but but it can't touch the PT on looks.  Any other thoughts?

To which, The YARDI Guy replied:

Sorry, but you asked.  I was the fourth person in Madison, Wisconsin to take delivery of a 2001 Limited in April, 2000.  Last spring, I bought two new PT convertibles, the first one a victim of bad dealer prep.  Last September, I traded-in both my PT ragtop and my Hyundai Santa Fe (the successor to the '01 Limited) on an HHR 2LT.  So I'm not just blowing smoke when I say...despite my initial luke-warm feelings for the HHR (a loose piece of plastic floorboard needed replacing right off the bat), I've really grown to like it very much.  In fact, thanks in great measure to a comfortable, quiet ride - and a very good factory sound system - it's far and away superior to my 2001.  As to the crack about chrome gauges, the PT doesn't have a digital information system, as does the HHR and I think the new "brushed aluminum" plastic in the PT is cheesy...speaking as a Cheesehead, myself.  A final note:  the HHR is NOT a copycat of the PT (you wish).  It is a Heritage High Roof redux of the 1949 Chevrolet Suburban.  The PT, if anything, is a rip-off of Chevy panel trucks of the 40's!

Xxxx  Xxxxxx wrote:

Hello Ted, 'bout this question...Is the Yardi Genesis a little "cleaner" than my current other words. did they work out the "bugs"...?  I just seem to run into snags and it's getting a bit frustrating.....?

Xxxx Xxxxxx

To which, The YARDI Guy replied:


I’m not open today, but rather than let this sit until Monday, I thought I’d answer.  (I normally wouldn’t, because I don’t want clients to expect Friday office support.) 

Yardi Genesis is basically the same program.  In fact, if you are on a cash basis in Professional, you would find Genesis to be much more restrictive because it does simultaneous cash and accrual, so it enforces accounting integrity on the accrual method.  Also, the simultaneous cash and accrual is more complex for non-degreed accountants who don’t understand the nuances and contrasts of cash and accrual bases of accounting.  (I don’t know your accounting background, but most of my clients don’t know a debit from a credit or cash from accrual – they don’t have to if the program is set up properly and they don’t second-guess the automatic things it does.) 

Genesis does have some additional features, functionality and customization tools, but most Professional users have mastered less than half of what it can do, anyway. 

I’m not sure what bugs you refer to.  If you are getting error messages like “I/O Error File Get Equal TRAN.DAT” or something similar, you may have corruption to a data file – in this case the “Mother of All Files,” tran.dat. 

But if you are getting messages that tell you that you cannot reverse a receipt in a deposit that’s already reconciled, that’s a safeguard that a program like QuickBooks doesn’t have.  If the money went in the bank and the bank cleared it, you have to have a real good reason to reverse the receipt and Yardi makes you jump through some hoops to do it.  It’s not a bug; it’s how the program is designed. 

The problem I see more and more is that no one wants to read manuals or get training.  When I first started my Yardi consulting in 1997, I used to haul my laptop and projector as far away as Ft. Walton Beach, Florida and Dallas, Texas and clients would spend two or three days and a couple thousand dollars to really learn how to use the program.  I think what has happened since is that people have computers in their family rooms at home and they know how to use the Internet…so, of course that means they know how to use ALL computer programs. 

What began as a primarily implementation and training business has evolved into on-site visits to fix errors and lots of three-minute “how do I reverse a receipt” phone calls for which I find it hard to bill $22.50.  That’s why my résumé is on; it’s hard to pay a mortgage on no-charge phone calls while I’m also paying for the toll-free connection.  But, that’s my problem…until some property management firm in Charlotte, North Carolina sees my résumé and gives me that once-in-a-lifetime “opportunity knocks” telephone call. 

Anyway, if you wish to e-mail a list of “bugs” and “snags” and attach a backup of your database, I’ll be glad to explain what you’ve encountered.  If the backup is too large to send as an e-mail attachment, you may use my FilesDIRECT secure file delivery system.  Call me if you need help using it. 

Thanks and have a great weekend! 


Xxxxxxxxx wrote:


I'm interested in teaching myself Yardi Software- is it possible to learn it on line??? If not what do you recommend??? I'm interested in applying for a position with Yardi's Helpdesk and want to bone up first.

Please help me Yardi Man


To which, The YARDI Guy replied:


That's a tough one; actually, those are a tough two.

First, that's a tough question.

Second, although I suppose a person may self-teach the YARDI programs (I should know; I did it myself), unless one has prior experience in property management accounting and then actually USES the software on a day-to-day basis, there's a big difference between "learning" and "knowing" YARDI.

Personally, I was a PM Controller for eight years PRIOR to buying YARDI and then used it for a couple years before starting my own CPA firm...and YARDI support was merely an "if someone ever needs a little assistance, I GUESS I could do it." It wasn't until the second year that YARDI support became a significant part of my business and not until the third that it eclipsed the rest, at which time I quit supporting QuickBooks and doing folks' accounting and taxes.

After six years with over 100 clients and probably 100,000 miles on the road, I still don't know EVERYTHING because there are features that aren't used by ANYONE. But I've supported such a variety of users that when a new client asks me if they can do this or that, I usually have a answer. And, what I don't know, I usually spend my own time testing and bill no one for it.

As for me, if all I could do was phone support, I'd be out of this gig next week. It's hard enough to "play God" with people's data in person. More and more, if I don't have a copy of the client's data on my own machine while I'm talking to them on the phone, I'd rather not blindly walk them through fixes; the truth, what they tell me and what I hear may be three completely different things, not to mention what I tell them to do, what they hear and which buttons they push!

In summary, to support YARDI...and I mean REALLY support YARDI...I recommend an accounting education, property management experience WITH AND WITHOUT YARDI and a decent understanding of hardware and the Windows operating system. Perhaps you have all three already and perhaps YARDI Systems, Inc. requires none of them, prior to their own internal training.

Best wishes,

Ted Zeck, CPA

PS. Between my two Controllerships, I worked for the top CPA firm in Madison, Wisconsin, as a software support specialist. What a joke! Client calls me - quarter-hour at $76/hour. I call Peachtree to get the answer - quarter-hour at $76 per hour PLUS cost of support. I call back client - quarter-hour at $76. One simple question - about $300, compared to $21.25 today for a YARDI question. The $300 was paid in the knowledge that I was wearing a three-piece suit, wingtips and a tie, but the $21.25 is billed in sweat pants and no socks.

Xxxxxx wrote:

First, I have to say your site is pretty bad.

BUT, you appear to have the consultant attitude, which means you've
paid your dues and know your stuff.
We have a client with a commercial Yardi implementation managing
about 2000 unites across a dozen properties.  They are wanting to
take the data in the Yardi DB and integrate it with other online systems
to provide specialized reports, and possibly even push some information
into Yardi.
Would this be something that is possible to do?  If so, is this something
you are capable of working with us on?  We have worked with this client
for quite a while, and understand the nuances of doing business with them.
However we do not have Yardi expertise in house.
We would likely have PC Anywhere access to the machine so working
remotely would be an option.
Finally, they are looking to migrate their existing implementation over to
Voyager to satisfy some of the requirements.  Do you have any comments
about integrating with the web based system to pull data out?  Just
screen scrapes?

To which, The YARDI Guy replied:


Xxx Xxxxxx wrote:

We can't wait to see Vincent.  I guess he's the cause of the rate hike, so we better at least get to take our picture with him or hey maybe we can take him for a spin when he comes to visit.

Anyway I really did email you for a reason :)

We are trying to delete some properties in preparation for our restart and we keep getting an error and get kicked out of Yardi.

The error reads:

error: I/O Error, OP:Get Greater-or-Equal, File: TRAN.DAT [2:9:5]

Do you have a solution for us?

Thank you!!

To which, The YARDI Guy replied:


When you delete a property, YARDI goes through all the transactions.  Because you haven't had any recent tran.dat corruption (to my knowledge), you likely have some "way back when."  I hope you're deleting props from a copy of your database, so you retain history in your current database (it will be your former database than you may look into from time to time once you start fresh).  If it is as I hope, then I'd say to Restart the database COPY as of 01/03 (in Utilities, Toolbox>Restart Database) before deleting the old properties.  If you are doing the deletions from your current database, you'll need to copy it, Restart it and do the deletions.

Ted Zeck, CPA

PS. Vincent isn't the reason...the reason is that every rate "increase" I've made since I started my business has merely been to roll "extras" into the rate.  Back in '98, I charged only $60 per hour, but also lodging, per diem, and $30 per hour travel time.  Also, back then, mileage included all the daily commutes from the motel, not just the straight shots from/to home, to/from client offices.  By the time it got to $90, the travel time was included and by the time it got to $100, lodging and per diem were included.  I calculated typical Chicago and Minneapolis comparisons of one and two day trips and my current bills were either a fair amount less NOW THAN THREE YEARS AGO or a teeny-weeny bit more.  During that time, I've purchased a few projectors, a couple laptops and a few desktop computers (plus TYG binders, toll-free phone and fax, a lot more minutes in my mobile phone plan, etc., etc.) out of my own pocket.  While my credit card balances rose and my personal time disappeared, I was billing about the same, on average, without any real increase.  Next "adjustment" may leave the rates as is, but reinstate lodging and per diem...I'd hate to add travel time, but that's a possibility, too.  Do a web search on YARDI and you'll really get an eye-opener as to the rates of my competitors (peers) and most of them have no true accounting/PM experience.

When I was a Controller, I was NETTING over $60K a year (six years ago) and I had health insurance, 401(k) match, expense reimbursements, free continuing education, CPA license paid by employer, a beautiful office, EVENINGS AND WEEKENDS OFF, yada, yada, yada and I could answer my phone after five and just hang up on people.  The highest net in this gig has been $34K and I even had an $18K year AND I WORK SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.  If this was about bucks, I'd have submitted my resume to Meridian and/or Fleming PM companies (both in Madison...I could get off the road) as they both were running ads recently...I'd have been a shoe-in at either place.  I'm not getting rich, but I'll be darned if I'm going to spend half my life in motels for free.  See my web site for more info on the rate increase.

Right now, you're saying, "Jeeeesh...I was just KIDDING!"  (or not)

PPS. Thanks for the great material for my TEDitorial page, Letters to TEDitor.  Don't worry; I won't use your name or company name!

Xxxxx Xxxx wrote:


I am looking for a Yardi consultant to create a report for one of my clients.  The report needed is similar to the "Aging Summary" report that Yardi produces, except that it needs to span several companies across several directories.  Does this make sense?  If it does, can you accomplish this and what is your recommendation for the next step in the process.

Xxxxx Xxxx, Consultant
Client Location: Xxxxxxxxxxx, XX

To which, The YARDI Guy replied:

Mr. Xxxx:

It is possible to customize reports in Advantage, but not in Professional.  But, I don't think even Advantage can pull information from different directories.

My question, if you don't mind, is, "Why are properties in different directories in the first place?"  Unless there are compelling reasons to create multiple databases (different charts of accounts, one cash and the other accrual, one condo, one residential and the other commercial, etc.), ALL properties peacefully coexist within one database.  If different directories are used (for the reasons stated), I would think that you'd be combining "apples and oranges" anyway to no useful purpose.  If different directories are used because of an unfounded rationale, you may wish to create one database and your problem is moot.  The time spent now consolidating properties into one database would be more than offset by the time saved for years to come by consolidating invoice entry, receipt input and check runs, running financial statements, backing up the data, etc.

Perhaps I misinterpreted your question, but I have visited a user in Minneapolis that had 47 databases for 50 properties.  Their accountant was concerned about commingling the cash of different owners, which is not possible in YARDI if the banks are properly set up.  Now when they split an invoice between several properties, they have to enter it in several databases.

If your client has split up properties into separate databases, I'd recommend addressing that faux pas first.

Best wishes,

Ted Zeck, CPA

The following is an email dialogue with Xxxxx Xxx of Xxxxxxx Xxxxxxxx Xxxxxxxxx, who apparently is dead-set on converting a YARDI Professional Property Management user (client) to QuickBooks.  Obviously, she is not trained in, or experienced with, YARDI and rather than lose the work, she wants to take the client from a great property management package to a "jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none" accounting program (I know this because she indicates this in a "chat room" for accounting software that I ran across last weekend).  I warn you folks:  these people are DANGEROUS to your real estate livelihood!

If you have not had success with YARDI, "DON'T THROW THE BABY OUT WITH THE BATH WATER!"  Instead, call The YARDI Guy toll-free at (866) TED ZECK before you make a very big career (or career-ending) mistake!!!

Xxxxx Xxx of Xxxxxxx Xxxxxxxx Xxxxxxxxx wrote:


Ever use QuickBooks?

What can Yardi do that QB can't?

Xxxxx Xxx
Xxxxxxx Xxxxxxxx Xxxxxxxxx

To which, The YARDI Guy replied:


Yes, in fact, I use QuickBooks for my own accounting (except for time and billing) and I am a QB Professional Advisor (big deal...there's one on every street corner).

I guess there's not enough time in a day to fully explain the advantages (no pun on YARDI Advantage edition) of YARDI Professional (the base version) over QB, but here's what comes to mind immediately: move-ins and move-outs, CAM calculations (commercial add-on), different banks for different properties using same G/L account number, MICR check encoding on totally blank check stock, prepayment accounting, every menu item subject to password restrictions, monthly posting of rents instead of clumsy memorized transactions, security deposit (tenant funds) accounting, management commission (fee) calculation, owner draw calculations, work orders (with maintenance module) that post payables and charges into shared database, multiple properties in the same database (people that use QuickBooks may have 50-100 databases - talk about inefficiency!), property lists to spread expenses or consolidate financial statements, 100 times better audit trail, etc., etc., etc...mostly, it's dedicated to property management properties/tenants, not customers/jobs.

To compare the two is like comparing automatic to manual transmissions...they'll both get you there, but one does the shifting for you. I've had several clients leave QuickBooks for Yardi, but I've never even heard of anyone going the other direction.

Sure, YARDI's $2,000 vs. QuickBooks' $100-180 is a big difference, but the real cost of business is labor.

By the way, I suggest you use BOTH. QB is great for the management company and payroll, but it's a square peg in a round hole for property management.

Ted Zeck, CPA

To which, Xxxxx replied:

Thank you for your reply.

I had trouble seeing the difference online and am still somewhat skeptical.

I do a lot of QB work and am unfamiliar with Yardi, but I agree with your sentiment, just not sure where to apply those funds.

Do you think it makes a difference how many properties you manage?

Xxxxx Xxx
Xxxxxxx Xxxxxxxx Xxxxxxxxx

To which, The YARDI Guy replied:


If they're under 50 rental units (apartments, office suites, condos), definitely go with Tenant Pro for $695 including free phone support for life, whose life I'm not sure of.

I do have YARDI clients with just a few properties, but most have at least 10 properties and/or 300 units.

YARDI is NOT something a consultant can successfully learn from the book or a class (although there are pretenders out there that I clean up after all the time), unless they have several years in property management and then work with the product for a good deal of time. Good intentions aside, a consultant will not intuitively (no pun on QB's developer) grasp the concepts and how/why YARDI does what it does. One current client has engaged me to list the problems/shortcomings in the book-learned database set up for them by a "jack-of-all-computer-hardware-software-peripheral" company. Several months and $6,000 in fees (not to mention rental staff time) netted them a horrific data debacle (which I replaced from scratch), so they're suing the "Sure, we can set up any software" geeks. I hate to get involved in the fight, but this is a little property management firm that lost many clients (and thousands of dollars incoming and outgoing) thanks to the well-intentioned "help" provided by someone that used to think accounting software is all the same. I hope they don't make that mistake again.

Re: unfamiliar with is the # 1 property management package in the world - over 20,000 installations and 80,000 users - by most recent data I've seen and heard.

Best wishes with whatever your client decides,


To which, Xxxxx replied:

Again, I agree with your theory and I wasn't even thinking of setting up Yardi, although I'd like to have a look at it and would certainly help where I could, I don't charge for non-useful help and I don't charge for my learning curve unless I refuse a client and they insist on paying me to learn.

I am looking from the other side. Whether I can set up QB to do what Yardi does for the most part.

ie. How are the reporting functions on Yardi? I see that you will have online banking, but not now, eh? How windows friendly is it? Crash often? Runs on one machine?

Thanks again for your input.

Xxxxx Xxx
Xxxxxxx Xxxxxxxx Xxxxxxxxx

To which, The YARDI Guy replied:


As I don't represent (nor sell) YARDI, please let me refer you to Mr. Michael Clapinski, a sales representative at Yardi Systems, Inc. His number is 800-866-1144, ext 141. He can provide you with much more information than I can.

Best wishes,