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Accurate Time Tracking is an Eye-Opener for Cadence Architectural Design [User Story]

User Stories is a regular column here on the WorkflowMax blog. Here we get a company to walk us through their experience using WorkflowMax. Every company is different, and every firm has different methods and processes for managing their projects. Our hope is that by taking a look at what others do, it may help you gain an understanding of how WorkflowMax could work for you.

Today we talk to Adrian Taylor, director of Wanaka-based architectural design practice, Cadence Architecturural Design.

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Tell us about your practice, Cadence Architectural Design:

I do predominantly residential new build or additions, alterations, and occasional commercial work. I have been self-employed in New Zealand since 2008. Prior to that, I worked for another architectural practice, and before that a builder, when we were based in Kerikeri. I also do contract work for the drafting and architectural practices, as well as working directly for clients.

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What challenges were you facing when it came to your workflow?

The specific challenges were just time management and time recording. I used to keep all my records in a spreadsheet, and invoice from spreadsheets as well. So job tracking and time tracking were really the main drivers behind getting job management software in my business.

How did you come to find out about WorkflowMax?

I’d subscribed to Xero first. I’d reached the point where I realised that I needed to do something better than just having a spreadsheet set up for invoicing. I stumbled across Xero and the whole interface, the way it looked, looked so easy to me. Then, it was via Xero that I found the link to WorkflowMax and it just seemed the logical extension for me. I took a month’s free trial, but it didn’t take me all of that month to decide that it was certainly going to pay for itself in the time that it saves me.

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How has WorkflowMax helped streamline your business processes?

With WorkflowMax I can go back and look at similar projects and the amount of hours I put into it to help me estimate my time. Obviously, my quotes get more and more accurate with the more jobs I put through and track my time.

Generally, managing and keeping track of my time is also much easier now. Previously I was using a pad on my desk and spreadsheets. During the course of the day I’d just scribble down a note, and then have to input that all in to the spreadsheet at the end of the day, and if not, then it was the end of the week. It’s a real eye-opener, when you’re more accurate with recording your time, just how much time you do spend on certain projects. Previously I would sometimes find myself having to guess because I forgot to write it down. When I compare some of those old records against what I’m doing now, it’s more billable hours basically.

Depending on the size of the job, I’ll do progress invoices, which might be time-based or might be percentage based. So I generate my invoices in WorkflowMax and push them to Xero. Doing invoicing is definitely quicker, easier and more accurate.

Have you noticed any financial benefits since using WorkflowMax?

I think my billing now is a lot more accurate, and therefore I bill a lot more hours for the week than I would have done previously. Having the ability to easily produce a timesheet that backs that up gives me a lot of confidence in putting it out there, rather than sitting here thinking ‘how is this going to be received?’. If you’ve got some evidence to back it up, whether I actually send that or at least keep it on record should a client raise a query, certainly makes me more comfortable with my hourly rate than perhaps I might otherwise have been.

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What do you love most about WorkflowMax?

I really enjoy using it; I think it’s an ideal time management tool. I could see that in a larger practice how valuable it would be to keep track of everyone’s time. I think the way it integrates with Xero is fantastic. When I sit down and look at it, the cost is a no-brainer. It only has to save me less than half an hour a month of my time and it’s paid for itself.

Thanks Adrian! If you’re running a company using WorkflowMax and want to talk workflow with us, then drop me an email at monica.shepherd@xero.com and we can interview you for User Stories.