Xero Practice Manager or Workflow Max is a job management software which helps practices and small business owners better manage their time and costs. Xero Practice Manager is offered FREE to Xero partners who have more than 25 clients (i.e. Silver Partner and above) in the Xero Ecosystem. Over the past year my colleague and I (both certified practice manager advisors) have been looking at different practices and observed a fundamental flaw in how practices set up their XPM Job Task Breakdown. If you don’t get your task list and job settings right, then you end up with scrambled reports.

What is Job Task Breakdown:

The task list is central to WorkflowMax settings. Time is captured against tasks and forms the foundation for measuring workflow productivity and efficiency, even for fixed price jobs. It is very important that you do not confuse tasks for jobs and vice versa. In very simple terms, a task is the work that you do for your clients on a day to day basis eg: AP, AR, Bank Reconciliation. A job in WorkflowMax is a compilation of tasks, costs and milestones. Therefore a Job gives you a overall view of the complete scope of work you have for your client during a particular period. Examples of Jobs are:
1. Monthly Bookkeeping Job   
2. Budget and Financial Analysis

Five Steps to get the most out of your Job Task Breakdown right now:

Step 1: First things First, Get your task list in order

The first step is to take a close look at the tasks you have at hand. Follow the M.E.C.E rule (Mutually Exclusive Collectively Exhaustive). You should not have more than 40-50 tasks in your system. Once the tasks are in place, the next step will be to update the Staff-Custom Task Billable and Base Rates. 

Step 2: Decide on your job Structure:

We have observed two types of structures which seem to work well for practices – one is based on the period you do the jobs for your clients and second would be based on how you invoice your clients based on your terms of agreement.

Step 3 : Create the Job Templates and set recurring jobs:

Once the jobs and the tasks are set, move on to creating job templates. Job templates are especially useful when you have jobs that are similar and occur on a regular basis. Next create recurring jobs. The recurring job function is useful for practices that provide regular ongoing work to clients, such as contract-based services.

Step 4: Testing out the new Job Task Breakdown:

Once the first three steps are completed you can test the newly set up system with a couple of dummy clients in WorkflowMax. Here you need to take a step back and see your practice as a whole and critique the newly set up system, noting down any changes you would like to see. Also identify the kind of reports that you would like to see on a periodic basis.  

Step 5: After Testing, Transition All Existing Clients:

Once the system works well with the dummy clients and you are satisfied with the reporting system, you may now transition existing clients and orient your staff on the changes. Voila! With these 5 steps, your WorkflowMax system is now ready to generate meaningful reports and provide a dashboard view of the overall health of your practice. And if you are hard pressed on time with other priorities, there is good news for you. Help is at hand!