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The Unconventional Guide to Work

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The Benefits of Online Software for a Creative Agency

B-FreelancerHaving lived in the UK for four years, I admit I started assuming that everyone lived in London …

However, after working with a range of creative agencies who employ subcontractors and staff spread geographically across the country (even the world), I’ve been forced to amend my views.

Think about the benefits of running your business like this;

  • Everything is online on a package like Xero and WorkflowMax. You can have access anywhere, anytime, with anyone:
  • Run your business from home, cut the overheads and office politics.
  • Employ the best staff for your team, no matter where they reside.
  • Have multiple "satelite" offices, expanding your agency's reach.

So you've got your "dream team" in place, but now how do you manage them? Here are a few tips of how to make Xero and WorkflowMax work where you have a geographically spread business.

Tips for Using WFM and Xero When your Agency is Geographically Spread

  • Being a cloud product this means all your staff can access the product anywhere at any time.  You can narrow the access staff/subcontractors have via permissions so they will only see the parts of the system that you wish them to see. This helps to keep client details private and secure.

  • Many agencies use subcontractors. When you are building up an Estimate or Quote for a client you can build in the anticipated costs of a supplier. This is ideal as it means that you get a view of the real profitability or Gross Margin of the job before you start. Remember, once the job has started it is often too late to make major revisions to your Estimates or Quotes.

For example in the Estimate below we have included the cost of the Subcontractor who is going to charge us for three hours of work at £20 per hour. The cost of the £60 is recorded in the estimate and the charge to the client of their work is included under the Tasks area. Note how the Subcontractor is included in this case at a zero cost rate (under tasks), so that we do not double up on his costs in the Estimate and the Gross Margin is recorded correctly.

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  • Purchase Orders can then be sent to the suppliers or subcontractors. If you want to get really clever, you may want to get Suppliers to email their invoices directly to your Xero Inbox (Files), so that you have a picture of your invoice within your accounting system.

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  • Splitting the roles within the Agency. There is an inbuilt approval process within WorkflowMax. It may be that you want your Account Managers within the agency to produce the estimate and save it as draft. A Director of the business can then come and review the draft invoice prior to it being sent to the client.

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  • Having BOTH Xero and WorkflowMax as online products has added features. I have one client based in beautiful Bath and their accountant in the Isle of Wight. It is a win win for both parties. The Agency gets to use an accountant they trust and knows their business well. And both the owner of the agency and the accountant get to live in a beautiful part of the country. Because both systems are online there is no real need to be in the same location.

Does your agency employ staff or subcontractors in different areas of the country? Follow these tips to manage workflow, payment and accounts on a simple, easy-to-manage cloud platform.

Want to know more or see how Workflowmax can work for your agency? Sign up for a FREE TRIAL today.