After the Christchurch earthquake cost him his job, Clive Weston wasn’t sure what he was going to do next. But then a friend of his wife mentioned she knew an architect – Cymon Allfrey – who needed someone to manage the business side of his firm. Cymon told Clive, “I can do all this business stuff, but I’m far better off talking to my customers and drawing lines.” He hired Clive to whip the practice into shape.
The first problem Clive tackled was time-sheeting. “There are so many jobs to manage; lots of costs coming in, lots of invoices getting paid. And I was using old excel worksheets for this. And I kept thinking to myself, ‘There must be a better way to do this.’”
Since Clive insisted on trialling WorkflowMax, time-sheeting is no longer a problem. Finance whiz Angela can focus her time on analysing and reporting on data, rather than simply collecting it. She uses WorkflowMax primarily at the end of the month when dealing with the contractor time-sheets, and she also checks up on timesheets on a weekly basis to ensure staff are filling them out.
The process of setting up the software was quick and painless. “We were looking at another product at the time I accidentally stumbled onto WorkflowMax,’ said Clive. “I thought, ‘hang on a minute – here’s a product that does everything we need, and we can do the implementation ourselves – rather than getting an external IT company to do it for us, which was quite expensive.”
Director Cymon Allfrey is pleased with the results. “What I love most about WorkflowMax is that now we have a seamless transition from a bum-on-a-seat to an invoice. That for me has been the major factor.”
Cymon is even happier with his bottom line. Since implementing WorkflowMax, he was able to drop a staff member whose job was replaced by the software. Being able to access all the information about a particular client/job in one place, via the Client Manager, frees up staff time and resources for income-generating work.
As the practice manager, Clive uses WorkflowMax for reporting. “Most of the reports we do are time reports. For example, every month I do a report for the contractors. We’ve got 5 contractors (drafters), and we need to know how much time they are spending on each job. So we ask them to do their time tracking every day. We can keep a close check on what the job is costing us and if they’re going over-budget. We can send the report on to them and say, 'Is this what you clocked on – do you agree with that?'
“And if a customer queries a bill ... for example, some of the earthquake work is insurance related, some of that clients pay for (called betterment), and some the insurer pays for. We get a lot of queries about this. So we separate that out as different tasks – so you can easily show the client that $20K is for the insurer, $5K is for betterment to the client – You can show it all because it's all tracked in there.”
Clive loves the simplicity of WorkflowMax. “It’s very intuitive to setup and follow, and it offers us complete transparency on each project. If I get a phone call from a client saying, ‘what’s this bill for?’ I can go into WorkflowMax and get the information, so I can tell him exactly what that bill is for. I can send an email with the WorkflowMax screenshot attached.
“Plus, the fact that WorkflowMax integrates with Xero – it’s just a bonus for making those high-level financial decisions. You know that the data you have against your accounts is live and real. Historically, you’d have to wait till the end of the year to see if you’ve made a profit or a loss. You’d cross your fingers and hope for profit! Xero and WorkflowMax have completely taken the guesswork out of it."
As the company director, Cymon enjoys the flexibility WorkflowMax offers. “In 2012, I did my invoicing from the Hong Kong airport. It was the first working day of the month – which is always booked out in my diary to do invoicing. I just sat there and completed the entire invoicing for the month from the airport. It was productivity at its best. I was even able to send them all to Xero where they were saved as a draft. That was amazing – the power of the cloud. That was fantastic really!”