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.

WorkflowMax: Job Management System Review

WorkflowMax is a cloud-based project management system that enables a team to perform all necessary jobs on one platform. It offers a wide variety of features and functionalities from customer acquisition to invoicing and reporting. While all cloud software has limitations, WorkflowMax tries to make everything possible by offering integrations with over 30 world-class third-party apps, aiming to help every company achieve their goals one efficient platform at a time.

FEATURES AND FUNCTIONS

WorkflowMax has covered the essential needs of a company to function well enough, generate leads, and gain conversions through an effective project management system.

Job Management 
Job Manager
Job management enables job monitoring in just one glance.

Job management allows the company to monitor all jobs from start to finish. The manager can schedule jobs for each staff member and at the same time monitor everyone’s daily or hourly progress. Aside from that, this feature also helps track the number of hours dedicated to a task compared to the projected hours.

Time Sheets

Time Sheet

Timesheet
Let your staff be responsible for their own timesheet.

You can let your staff manage their own time with the help of WorkflowMax’s time sheet. All registered users can enter the number of hours they dedicated to a job. Timesheet recording is available in weekly and daily view. A built-in timer is situated at the upper right of the dashboard which can be used in for time-tracking while you’re working on a particular task. Timesheet can be submitted to HR through email within the system.

Quoting
Quote generator
Quoting template helps the user to generate and send quotes within a few clicks

Just because you need to be quick doesn’t mean you can compromise accuracy. WorkflowMax’s online quoting system suggests you create a template for every offer. Once a request comes in, these templates can be easily edited and can be sent to a client as soon as possible. Templates can be customised for a specific industry in which you can insert your logo for branding and consistency.

You have the control of generating the final price through the customisable markup percentage. The status of each quote is recorded and will advise the user to send a follow up whenever necessary.

In case you encounter indecisive clients, the quotes can be revised in just one click.

Lead Management
Lead management
An overview of lead reports can be filtered per category, staff, or month.
Client Manager
Client Manager
The client manager section lets the user access all client information in one place.

Having too many clients can be baffling. WorkflowMax comes handy with its client management option. This feature helps the company accumulate all client information in one tidy place. A navigation bar exists for easy access to the most crucial details. Moreover, custom fields are provided for other vital details you want to take note of that are not included in the default fields.

Mobile
Mobile
You can access your data wherever you are.

With remote working being practised in various industries today, WorkflowMax lets you carry all your jobs wherever you are. The mobile app, available for IOS and Android devices, directly connects to WorkflowMax and Xero for existing users. This feature applies when you need to update lead status or input a job cost immediately.

Job Costing 
Job Costing
Job costing is made available to help you evaluate your business’s profitability.

Job costing provides an overview of all your expenses with the actual breakdown per task. It evaluates your business’s profitability and will determine if it’s about to increase your service rates. Being Xero integrated, you can purchase needed supplies by placing purchase orders in Xero.

Purchase Orders
Purchase order
Issuing a purchase order is possible through easy, simple steps.

Creating different purchase orders can be time-consuming if placed side by side with other ongoing projects. WorkflowMax makes it easier to handle a bulk of purchase orders by separating out job items against multiple jobs.  No need to worry about double entries as the same invoice number automatically reflects to Xero. In case an additional item needs to be included in the PO, adding extra fields is as easy as one click. Receipts can be sent straight to Xero and it will automatically record the complete job costing.

Document Management

WorkflowMax is packed with 25 GB free storage for documents. These documents can be pushed to other third-party cloud storage tools like Dropbox and Google Drive for easy access. This integration helps all team members to access real-time data whenever and wherever. Not to mention, you can also take a photo of a document from your phone and upload it immediately to appropriate folders via cloud storage.

 Invoicing
Invoicing-Include it all
Customising your invoice from design to content is possible.

WorkflowMax provides an online invoice creator which allows you to customise everything you want to input such as rates, staff, and even your own branding. You can also add extra notes or generate multiple invoices for clients who want to have an all-inclusive information.

Xero Integration 
Xero integration-automatic update on both ends
WorkflowMax is owned by and seamlessly integrates with Xero.

Since WorkflowMax is Xero-owned, it is the closest integration among the many add-on apps available. Xero is one of the most preferred accounting software in the world that offers multiple features for fast and convenient accounting solutions. WorkflowMax and Xero are in sync with each other which means that once you enter a data into one system, it automatically reflects the other. Once an invoice is marked paid in Xero, it automatically updates in WorfklowMax and vice versa.

Reports
reporting
It takes a few clicks to get all the data report you need.

Reporting plays a big part in a business. This helps distinguish if your business is prospering or losing money. It also serves data that can foresee profitability through invoicing reports.  Timesheet reports, on the other hand, can evaluate your team’s performance. What’s more, it allows you to build your own report based on your business’s needs with WorkflowMax’s custom reporting.

Custom Fields
Custom field
Put all essential data in one place with custom fields.

Not all businesses are made the same. Some businesses might find WorkflowMax’s pre-set fields lacking with important sections they want to modify for business use. The good thing is WorkflowMax allows the user to add extra fields such as link field, date field, dropdown list, and text field among others to maximise the usability of the system.

Collaboration Manager

Collaboration Manager promotes productivity and transparency within the company. The authorized admin can assign and limit the access to their staff. Contractors and clients can also be given access to check on the progress of the jobs regardless of their location. This feature captures and records all email conversations as a note against the jobs to keep everything in one tidy place.

Add-ons

While WorkflowMax admits that this software may not be appropriate for all industries, they extend the functionality of the system by offering seamless integrations with over 30 world-class software for payroll, staff management, time-tracking, accounting systems, customer support, and financial reporting.

STRENGTHS

  • WorkflowMax integrates well with a wide variety of third-party software which helps maximise its usability
  • Compared to other cloud apps, they offer a free trial without the need for credit card
  • It provides an efficient job management system from customer acquisition to invoicing and reporting
  • This software allows a team to work remotely
  • It promotes transparency by allowing clients to access the job progress
  • 24/7 email support
  • They offer free online webinars and video tutorials for setting up the system
  • It allows you to review the staff member’s productivity at a glance

WEAKNESSES

  • The dashboard’s interface can be improved
  • It would be better and more efficient if the job database can be ranked according to priority
  • Job number customisation is not enabled
  • An inventory management platform would be helpful for construction businesses and other service-based companies

PRICING

Pricing
Photo © WorkflowMax

*User pertains to the number of people signing up to WorkflowMax 

*Australian rate starts at AUD25/user

WHO IS IT FOR

WorkflowMax admits that this software might not be applicable to everyone. WorkflowMax functions best for several industries such as creative agencies, construction firms, business consultants, architects, engineers and surveyors, service companies, and IT providers.

Setting up Workflowmax for the first time can be puzzling. However, WorkflowMax has hundreds of partner advisors and implementers around the world that can help you start your WorkflowMax experience. Cloud Staff Member, an Australian-owned recruitment company in the Philippines, is a Certified WorkflowMax Advisor and can help you start your 14-day trial in few simple steps.

Call us or visit our website for more info.