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How one Architecture firm saved 60 hours of admin a month with Xero Add-ons

Cymon Allfrey Architects were looking for a new business manager and a new methods to manage staff, projects and clients.

Cymon Allfrey found Clive Weston to manage his business and told him "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.

Next was the search for a system that would be a fit for their Architectural firm. We can help you find a system that is your perfect match click here to learn more.
    Three challenges faced by the company before implementing a new systems for workflow and project management system:

  1. Communication – It's a big challenge to track communications between all stakeholders (contractors, council, clients, and designers) as they are spread among many emails.
  2. Financial health – Without real-time reports based on real numbers - tracking the profit/loss of a job was left to the end of project/month
  3. Gain valuable insights – Unable to ensure staff and contractors were filling out timesheets and check off specific task, they were stuck when it came to assessing whether a job was profitable.

Freeing up time spent on admin tasks with improved time-sheeting

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 implementing their new system, time-sheets are no longer a problem. Finance expert Angela can focus her time on the important things; analysing and reporting on data, rather than simply collecting it. She uses WFM primarily at the end of the month when dealing with the contractor time-sheets, and checks up on time-sheets on a weekly basis to ensure staff are filling them out.

Director’s thoughts of the system

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 WFM, he was able to drop a staff member whose job was now done 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 revenue generating activities.

Three things they love about their new system (WFM)

  1. Intuitive user interface – Once set-up the system is instantly ready to be used as an end-to-end system from quoting to recording the final invoice to accounts and everything in between. The user interface is so simple and staff only see the information they need to see.
  2. All-in-one Integrated Solution – These systems integrate with Xero accounting, meaning it is much easier to make high-level financial decisions based on accurate real-time data.
  3. Business insights in the Cloud – Historically, you'd wait until the end of the fiscal year to see if you made a profit. You had no way of knowing. This system take the guesswork away.

Gaining valuable insights into the business

As the practice manager, Clive uses this system (WFM) 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?"

What would you say to other architecture firms considering using a project/workflow system?

Clive loves the simplicity of WFM. "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 WFM and get the information, so I can tell him exactly what that bill is for. I can send an email with the screenshot attached.

"Plus, the fact that WFM 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 WFM have completely taken the guesswork out of it."

What is the next step?

Until very recently, to have a system with this functionality you would have to go to a software development company and pay around £32,000. Now thanks to heavy development in cloud systems these same tools now cost from £5 per user per month and usually have a small set-up fee starting at around £949. This has turned our industry of software development and cloud consultancy on its head.

To speak to an expert about how this new paradigm can benefit your business contact us; 0800 669 6457, enquiries@bluehub.co.uk