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Tip of the Week: Create a powerful app ecosystem with WorkflowMax

Kirsten Barrie is the director of Verte Consulting and is a certified WorkflowMax Advisor. Kirsten helps her clients find the best cloud-based systems to streamline their business processes. In this week's tip of the week, she shares some of her favourite WorkflowMax add-ons - you can find more options in our add-on directory.

My company, Verte Consulting, sets up and provides accounting for professional services clients on Xero and WorkflowMax, two great apps that integrate together with API (simply put: a language that lets two applications “talk” to each other).  

The reality is that there will never be one software solution that takes care of everything you need to run your business, so to support a company’s full back office in the cloud, I utilize some other great cloud-based tools as well. Each one of these apps (also known as “add-ons”) are certified and integrate with Xero too. These integrations allow you to combine multiple tools to create one system that perfectly meets the needs of your business.

Here are 4 add-ons that I regularly recommend to my clients:

What do I do with my receipts?

All businesses have receipts.  All businesses need to track them so that you can say, "Hey Government, yes I wrote that off because it is a business expense and here's proof I actually bought it."  Anything that supports that statement should have a receipt that you will keep.  I have my clients use Expensify to track these receipts. 

Mostly dependent on having a smartphone and using its phone app - that's what you use to take the photo of the receipt - Expensify will match up the receipt to transactions coming thought a bank feed.  You can also email receipts into your account. Then magical elves look at your receipt and match it up to the bank's transaction. Ok - just kidding - they actually have high-tech scanning software - elves not included.

Quite useful as Expensify allows you to turn your receipts into costs against your jobs in WorkflowMax. Additionally, you and/or your subs can create expense reports to document purchases and then get reimbursed quickly. 


What do I do with my bills?

This was an interesting question when I switched my practice to being virtual and cloud-based. I discovered a great app called Bill.com. Just like the name says, it is an app to organize your bills.

What's really clever about it is that you can email, "drag and drop", or choose a saved file of a bill and upload it into the app. You also get your own email address that you can give vendors to email into the app directly. Once in there, you can manage the bill in many ways: pay it via Bill.com, mark it as paid (if you paid it electronically), and also have a digital record of each vendor account complete with bill images.


Does payroll have to be complicated?

Breathe a sigh of relief - the answer is no. Another great app that integrates well with Xero is Zen Payroll.  Not only does Zen have a simple step-by-step on-boarding interface, their team will also transfer your payroll information over from an existing service.  

I have all my clients use it, even for 1099 contractors - who love the quick direct deposit into their account. My clients love how easy it is to run payroll, complete with email reminders when it’s time.

Compliments WorkflowMax allowing you to convert your time sheets quickly into payroll.


What is your 'unfair advantage'?

"A real unfair advantage is one that cannot easily be copied or bought."- Jason Cohen.  If you don't know what this is yet, getting a business plan together is a great start. Organization and goal-setting can be your initial unfair advantage. I put clients on LivePlan to get their planning juices flowing.  New business or old -  this app is perfect for those and everything in between.

If your business is the size requiring a project management solution, you should also be utilizing the information WorkflowMax syncs to Xero for metrics and planning to keep it healthy.



The main thing to remember is that your business is actually a stable structure that your services or product flow through. It's important to set up each column of this structure (aka a department or section of the company) with a stable - and hopefully cloud-based and integrateable - app.  Each one of these apps helps you get your product or service out to your customers.


Also, these apps are great for any type of business. I'm assuming if you're reading this you're already taking advantage of WorkflowMax and possibly Xero, but might have other areas you need to bring onto the cloud.  I've only touched upon the tip of the iceberg with each one of these descriptions - each one has a much wider scope to assist in these areas of your business.  For example Bill.com also handles receivables, and Expensify creates expense reports that don't suck (seriously, that's their tagline).

In summary, getting your entire back office cloud-based and finding the best of breed apps can create efficiencies that will allow you to spend more time on other aspects of your business - like those 10 new customers! I hope you try these apps out, and if you do, let me know how you get on! 


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Kirsten Barrie
Kirsten Barrie is CEO of Verte Consulting - a certified, Gold level Xero financial advisory company specializing in Xero + WorkflowMax clients. She is always searching for the best lifehacks on the cloud and ways to help SMBs thrive.

Kirsten Barrie