Xero Projects: Project Management System Review

Accountants and small businesses recognise Xero as the backbone of their daily jobs. Xero, a cloud-based software made for accountants to manage their clients efficiently recently launched a new integration–Xero Projects. Projects aims to drive “profitability by easily tracking time and costs on every job”.  

While Xero has already introduced WorkflowMax, Projects is made for entrepreneurs and businesses that a simpler job costing system. This allows the user to create and manage projects while integrating with Xero’s other features. Learn more to see if Xero Projects is for you.

FEATURES AND FUNCTIONS

Xero offers a free month of free trial for interested users. One active user, mainly the manager, can have 100% access to all Projects’s features for 30 days. Given that is enough to reckon if Xero Projects is suitable to their business’s needs, the user will be prompted to choose a plan based on the number of active users.

Project setup

The main user can set up projects, manage project subscriptions, and restore access to Projects any time they want. Project subscription is priced based on active users. So who are the active users? You are considered as an active user if you are consistently using any Projects features such as adding time, invoicing, and opening and closing projects. A user can also be considered active if someone adds time for them. If someone only views a project within a month, the user will not be billed until he shows another sign of activity as mentioned above.

Moreover, you can kickstart using Projects for your organisation and then invite your staff to have access to Projects. Note that Projects only work with actual organisations. Right after giving access to your staff, managers can input hourly rates for each one of them. The staff cost rate will be shown in the Project Detail report which is used to calculate the overall project cost and profitability.

Note that several industries have a different approach in formulating staff rates. If you’re not sure how to calculate the profitability of a project, talk to your accountant and/or a bookkeeper to help you with your costing.

Create and  Manage Projects

First thing in creating and managing a project is assigning a specific contact to it. Make sure you add all your contacts first before creating a project. Adding a project is as easy as clicking the All Projects button and then Add New Project. It will prompt you to fill in the project details with Contact, Project Name, Deadline (optional), Estimate (optional) and then click Create.

Existing projects are editable including the ability to add expenses that relate to the project on an ongoing basis. Additional functions include applying deposits, viewing time entries, creating inventory, closing, and re-opening projects, and more!

Projects Invoicing

Projects allows you to add a deposit per project. This deposit can be applied as a credit in future invoices. You can base the deposited amount to project estimate or add a custom rate. The amount can be edited even after creating the project. The option to create a deposit is only visible when a deposit hasn’t been made to a project to avoid double entry.

Billing a client is easy. Just go to All Projects and then click the name of the project for invoice. Select invoice and move to Tasks and Expenses. Pick the desired time for invoicing and then proceed to Tasks, Expenses, and Credit deposit. Go to draft invoice, click Save and then Approve. Remember: once a task is invoiced, tasks and expenses cannot be deleted anymore. However, adding more time to a task is possible.

Projects Reporting

Reports determine the profitability of your projects aside from giving an overview of your projects’ activities and progress. User roles determine the access of each user to generated Reports.

The manager who will run the Project Details reports can view all the activities on the selected date. Make sure that any form of activity has been performed to a project before generating the reports. Reports can be customised based on the filter options available in the system.

Projects mobile

Projects is available on Android and iOS devices. The account’s main subscriber can download the app on Google Play and App Store and start managing projects in just several taps.

So how is it different from WorkflowMax?

Projects focuses on the financial side of the businesses by analysing where your money goes, determining its profitability, and performing the most essential tasks for a business in the simplest way possible.

WorkflowMax, on the other hand, is the more flexible counterpart of Projects. It is more customisable and allows end-to-end transactions between users and clients.

If you’re confused between the two, contact a Xero advisor to ask which application is fit for your business’s needs.

STRENGTHS

  • Easy-to-navigate interface saves time and effort for users
  • Automatically accessible to Xero subscribers and partners
  • Accessible via iOS and Android mobiles
  • Promises more developments essential to running a business including Quotes, Payroll, timesheets, project templates, and more
  • It gives the users the freedom to manage their subscription anytime and anywhere

WEAKNESSES

  • It can be confusing for existing WorkflowMax users who want to try Projects
  • Service is limited to small businesses and sole traders that require very simple costing management system
  • Timer app is not present which can lead to time theft
  • Integration with third-party apps is not (yet) available

PRICING

xero project_cloudtechjournal_pricing

Photo from Xero Projects

WHO IS IT FOR

Xero Projects is best suited for small businesses that need an excellent and easy-to-use job costing and time tracking system. Whilst lacking in technology to be at par with other existing job costing programs, its primary features make up for it by focusing on the most important transactions needed for businesses to thrive—Job Costing, Time Tracking, and Invoicing.

Do you think Projects is for you? A Xero Advisor can help you figure out your needs before you start signing up. Account Tech, an Australian-owned accounting and bookkeeping firm is a Xero Silver Partner, can help you start with the nitty-gritty to the most complicated part of your Xero journey. Call them up for queries.

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