We sat down with Daniel Richardson, Managing Director of FGS Advisory – a Xero and WorkflowMax implementation partner – to talk about his love of efficiency, his desire to achieve productivity for his clients, and why WorkflowMax is the perfect tool to accomplish this.
“I fell in love with WorkflowMax and Xero at the same time” says Daniel.
It was back in 2010. “I was working in an accounting firm. There was quite a lot of excitement around Xero and its new acquisition – WorkflowMax. I saw a huge opportunity for our Australian practice, because we didn’t really have a system to manage our jobs and workflow.
From an accounting business perspective, job management was always a huge frustration. No one knew where workflow was at or who was working on what, particularly across our three offices. There was no way to easily tell which jobs were profitable and which weren’t.
So, that was the main attraction for us. Then, as we started to work with some of our clients in terms of quotes and invoicing, we found WorkflowMax to be a suitable end-to-end solution for a lot of other service businesses.”
The journey from accountant to Implementation Partner
“Personally, I enjoyed the implementation process a lot more than I enjoyed the accounting process,” says Daniel.
And that’s where it all began…
FGS became an implementation business. They work with a lot of accounting firms to implement Xero Practice Manager (the accounting version of WorkflowMax) and have branched out and taken WorkflowMax into other professional services such as creatives and engineering who have similar pain points and needs.
“We love looking at the way a business operates and finding efficiencies. We also look at what isn’t adding value and how software like WorkflowMax can make work processes quicker and easier.”
Adding value to clients
“WorkflowMax is a real foundational piece for a business because it covers four core components: quoting, job management, invoicing and reporting.”
“There are other softwares that handle job management well, or invoicing (like Xero), but not many that cover all four. And we’ve come across a lot of businesses that want ONE piece of software that cuts out double entry and does all four. WorkflowMax is our answer for them.”
In Daniel’s extensive experience, for engineers, “a big appeal in a system like WorkflowMax is being able to get better control over invoicing and cutting down admin time so that staff can be redeployed to other areas such as marketing to help grow the business.”
Similarly with agencies, as they grow quickly and look to add more people, “they want a system that allows them to scale without having to add too much cost, which is where we can provide a robust recommendation.”
Key factors for a successful implementation
“Over the last eight years we’ve built a solid process,” says Daniel. “One thing that really adds to success, is to make sure there’s at least one project champion for every seven or eight staff in a business. As the team start to use the software, they need people who can lead the charge and champion the cause through the business.”
“Conducting a system review is also integral to successful implementation” adds Daniel. “It should be pretty comprehensive depending on the size of the business. It’s about really understanding how things get done in the business, how a solution like WorkflowMax will add to value, and where we might need an additional add-on to complement as well.”
However, software implementations can sometimes be a painful experience for companies.
Tips on minimising the pain
“Firstly, make sure you take the time to do it right. Secondly, always manage the change. By following a structured process for implementation – the pain points can be considerably reduced, making it a lot more successful implementation from the first day it goes live.”
What success looks like…
“One of our clients is Asset Management Engineers in Western Australia” says Daniel. “They provide asset management, inspection and assurance services to Australian and International ‘resources, energy, rail and industrial sectors’. The company has around 30 staff. We implemented WorkflowMax for them a few years ago on a recommendation from their accountant.
It was a 4-5 month project and Workflowmax has completely revolutionised their business.
Trevor Hughes, Managing Director, Asset Management Engineers says “There are not enough superlatives that describe how good WorkflowMax is. Our invoicing process now takes days rather weeks resulting in huge efficiency gains and improved cash flow in the business. Staff can enter time directly from any device, anywhere in the world, eliminating over 19 weekly spreadsheets.”
A complete end-to-end solution
“WorkflowMax is a fully integrated system in its own right. The modules of quoting, jobs and invoicing flow through really nicely. It’s just such a good job management or workflow tool – it gives you a dashboard of who’s working on a job, where it’s up to and when its due – 3 great things that a lot of professional services don’t track particularly well!” says Daniel.
There’s also some fantastic integrations with at least 30 other add-ons – so it really is Xero’s heavy-hitter, great for businesses with more advanced needs, offering plenty of customisation, powerful financial analysis, and end-to-end control of your projects and your team.
Daniel’s experience implementing WorkflowMax, Xero Practice Manager and Xero spans 8 years. It’s safe to say FGS has become one of the foremost cloud integrators in the AU region. If you are considering WorkflowMax in your business, using an authorised partner, like FGS Advisory is well worth it – even Trevor says so!