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Get in the know the Head of Bookkeeping at Xero

Melanie Morris HOB Xero

We sat down with Xero’s Head of Bookkeeping Melanie Morris to chat about her journey with WorkflowMax, her background as a trainer and Xero Gold Champion Partner, and her advice for new customers on getting the most out of WorkflowMax.

Welcome, Mel!

So tell us about your job as a trainer?

My job as a trainer is to make sure customers have as much information as possible at their fingertips to make the right decisions and maximise the use of cloud software in their business.

I’m the Principal Business Consultant at Training & Beyond. We work with clients in 15 different industries, and with 8 different Xero-integrated apps including WorkflowMax.

It's a famous saying – “You don't know what you don't know”. I often see the light go on with clients and sometimes feel surprised that it can be the simplest things that they don’t know. Part of my role is to make sure I surface these things for them!

What’s your background with WorkflowMax?

Melanie Morris HOB XeroThe fabulous Melanie Morris!

I onboarded as a certified WorkflowMax trainer in 2009, a few years after the product was launched. I remember visiting the co-founders Gavin and Chris in their little office in Ponsonby.

Back then we did not have a training course to onboard new customers, so became the primary WorkflowMax training provider.

It was a hectic time, with many hours spent online, delivering group sessions and one on one training with global partners, but we loved every minute of it!

What’s it been like seeing WorkflowMax develop and grow since its inception?

A lot has happened in the WorkflowMax world over the past 10 years, and there are more exciting things planned.

From a training and implementation perspective WorkflowMax has developed into a full featured generously sophisticated product that integrates seamlessly with Xero and over 30 other add-ons.

“Despite all the enhancements we still have the same approach to training and implementation as we did when we started - put the end result for our customers first.”

What’s the first step in getting clients started on WorkflowMax?

We have to figure out if WorkflowMax is right for them. Here are a few questions we ask in scoping meetings:

  • What is the end result you are looking for?
  • What reporting are you after?
  • What are you currently missing in your job costing and project management?
  • Who will be using the software day in and day out in your business?
  • When would you like to get started?

“WorkflowMax has so much potential but I’m sad to say that sometimes we find that it’s being used as a glorified timesheeting system!”

That’s why, if we determine the customer is right for WorkflowMax, we also need to assess their staff resources and capability on hand to understand the product.

Who do you typically recommend WorkflowMax to?

Creative agencies, building and construction, professional services are our sweet spot. We love working with Accountants and Bookkeepers as well, using Xero Practice Manager.

2W7A7779-webAnna Cuthbert, Interior Designer, loves WorkflowMax

Can businesses get started by themselves?

Yes of course. They can start a free trial and see the power of the product – or jump in on a free live webinar for a live demo. Our recommendation is to start with the basics and grow into the product, but in our opinion have dedicated support makes a huge difference.

When should a business reach out for help?

Business mentorship
Getting the help of an expert can make a huge difference!

In our experience it is a great idea to have a health check either before, during or soon after implementation.  Even though WorkflowMax is ready to use it is a very large, sophisticated product that can be a little daunting to start with.

“By engaging an expert you are gaining their deep experience and insights into the product which will save you learning on the job”

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel!

What are some common first-timer mistakes?

We often find people overdoing the set up by trying to bring in all jobs straight away. First, we’d recommend defining your tasks and costs, then deciding if you are charging out by task rate or staff rate, and then build about two or three job templates based on your current jobs.

Before rolling it out to all work in progress, make sure you’ve not only tested the invoicing and reporting, but made any necessary tweaks.

Why do you love implementing and training WorkflowMax?

Firstly, it gives us the opportunity to look at the business as a whole, from the administration process and systems to internal controls, reporting and financials. Knowing your numbers so you can judge your own business performance is critical to financial success. We love seeing clients learn about their business!

By having budgets in place and detailed job/back costing, customers can really take control of their future. It’s so simple to update time and costs once the data is in, and to import data using WorkflowMax CSV templates. It’s wonderful to see the power both of knowledge and detail put into practise.

Finally, we love that by implementing and using WorkflowMax our clients are creating consistent processes and internal controls that will give them huge insight into their business as well as provide an excellent system for the business succession plan.


Thinking of implementing WorkflowMax and want to chat to an expert? Find a partner near you here.

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Mallika Goel
Mallika Goel is the communications manager at WorkflowMax, fresh from the agency world. She brings with her four years of experience working with some of New Zealand’s largest brands as well as more boutique ones. She thinks life’s too short to do one thing, so she keeps herself busy pursuing her many interests: an obsessive love of writing/blogging, fitness, travelling and design.

Mallika Goel