In WorkflowMax, tasks:
- are the
labourcomponents of a job – the activities that staff perform as they work to complete the job.
- allow a job's
labourcosts to be recorded separately from other costs such as materials used, disbursements or mileage. Staff time worked can be recorded against specific tasks, and those tasks will display as line items on the invoice.
- also provide the basic structure and workflow of the job.
Before you can add a task to a job, job template or quote/estimate, the task must have been created in the Business > Settings > Tasks area.
A task can be:
- used in as many jobs, job templates or quotes/estimates as required
- imported from external sources or set up from scratch.
Before you start working with tasks, please read the text in the drop-downs below to learn more about the features of tasks in WorkflowMax.
Tasks to suit your workflow
You can use the sequence, scope and number of tasks to match (or define) the key stages in your job workflow.
For example, if a typical job includes stages such as Planning, Consent, Build and Sign-off, these can each be set up as a task. Each task can have its own billing rate, if you're using task billingTask billing is a client billing method based on billable rates associated with specific tasks. This method is useful if you usually have standard rates for a specific task, regardless of which staff members are working on it. Compare Staff billing..
Scope of a task
Setting up tasks of suitable scope allows you to monitor time and cost expended as work progresses. For example, a website development job could have a single overall task called Develop website and you could write all your time to that task.
At the end of the job you would certainly know how much it had cost you overall, but you would have no idea exactly where you spent the most time, or which stages of the work ran over or under the estimated time.
But if you had set up tasks called Information gathering, Planning, Design, Development, Testing & Delivery, you could easily track the work on each and see how closely your estimates matched reality, and perhaps where time overruns ate into your profitability.
How many tasks do I need?
A job must include at least one task, if time is to be recorded against that job – and for small businesses doing simple jobs, this may be sufficient.
For your own business, you will need to set up enough tasks to allow WorkflowMax to produce the reporting and invoicing detail you need. But don't set up so many that it becomes difficult to write and manage time sheets. Generally, up to a dozen tasks is plenty for one job.
Once you have set up as many tasks as you need for a typical job, you can create more tasks when required, possibly to cover work activities that you don't perform very often.
Sub-tasks – using to-do items
You can create to-do itemsTo-do items are checklist items within a job task. They provide useful reminders of specific action items within the task, such as "confirm delivery" or "contact client". Staff can tick off completed to-do items as they work their way through the task. within any task in a job or job template. The list of to-do items then forms a check-list that lets you work through the activities required to complete the task – ticking off each item as it's completed. Using to-do items in this way helps to ensure that all necessary activities in a task are completed – in a specific order, if you wish.
Completing all the to-do items in a task does not mark the task as completed.
Task names will usually describe aspects of the work you do, and may also reflect stages in your job process. For example:
- Concept Design
- Project Management
- Art Direction
- Admin (non-billable)
It's possible to create duplicate task names, so take care.
Labels let you re-use the same tasks for different purposes
WorkflowMax lets you use labelsIn WorkflowMax tasks, a label allows you to use the same task multiple times. The label is automatically appended to the task name. For example, in a specific job, designs are required for a brochure, flyer and a handbook. So, a label can be used to identify the Design task for each item: "Design - Brochure", "Design - Flyer" and "Design - Handbook". to create different versions of a specific task in a particular job, such as Design - Brochure and Design - Flyer. This is useful where the work is similar and you want to distinguish between the tasks for billing or reporting purposes. By appending a suitable label to a task's name, you can easily re-use that task for a different (but similar) purpose, rather than creating a new task for each purpose.
Each task has a base rate and a billable rate, which are both used by WorkflowMax for important financial calculations. Watch the following video for more information about how base rates and billing rates work.
Task Base Rate
The Task Base Rate is ONLY ever used at the QUOTE stage (NEVER at the job stage), and only if you do NOT specifically assign staff to tasks at the quote stage. If you have numerous staff, and you do not know EXACTLY which members of staff will write time sheets to a particular task if the quote is won, then the Task Base Rate is used as the best estimate of what the actual labour cost to you is likely to be, should you win the quote.
If only one person ever writes time sheets to a particular task, then the Task Base Rate for that task will be equal to that person's Staff Base Rate, as obviously this is the best estimate (at the quote stage) of what the eventual actual cost will be (at the job stage). However, if several members of staff may end up writing time sheets to a task, but exactly who is not known at the quote stage, then the best estimate for the Task Base Rate will be the weighted average of the Staff Base Rates of those staff members most likely to eventually perform the task.
Task Billable Rate
The Task Billable Rate answers the question 'How much would you charge a customer for one of your staff to perform one hour's work on a particular task (say 'Design'), regardless of which staff member did the work?'
The way that the Task Billable Rate is used is controlled by the Task Invoice Rate Organisation Setting. If it's set to:
- Task Billable, then the value you use for the Task Billable Rate is critical, as it will be used to calculate all quotable and billable values.
- Staff Billable, then (surprisingly) the Task Billable Rate for all tasks still needs to have suitable values (it must not be set to 0.00). This is because the Task Billable Rate is always used at the quote stage to calculate estimated/quoted values (unless you specifically allocate staff to tasks at the quote stage).
You can use your WorkflowMax tasks to:
- track the estimated, and actual cost to you of time worked
- track the estimated, and actual billable value of time worked.
Tasks can also provide flexible options for costing (base rates) and billing (billable rates). Each task:
- has a task base rate and task billable rate, which are used as the default values (unless overridden by custom rates)
- can have custom billable rates for specific clients
- can have custom base and billable rates for specific staff.
For details of how base and billable rates are used in reporting, see the Job financial summary report.
Each task can be scheduled with its own start date and due date. You can also allocate specific staff to each task, if you wish, and allocate estimated hours to those staff for completing the task.
If your WorkflowMax account is connected to your Xero account, each task can be linked to a specific General Ledger income account in Xero. You can also link each task to Xero tracking categories and options. This means that you can directly track and report in Xero on income from each task in your WorkflowMax account.
Working with tasks
Creating a task Once you have created the task, you can then add it to as many jobs, job templates, quotes/estimates as you like