[Blog Series] How we use Jetpack Workflow: Part 2 – features we use in our practice
In part 2 of our blog series about Jetpack Workflow we will look at the platform’s features. Now, we could of course just copy and paste all of the information they provide on their website about the features, but what would be the point in that because you could easily just pop on over to their website and read about them there yourself. We suggest that you do take a look at their list but for the purposes of this blog, we are going to tell you about the features we actually use in our practice. Basically, we have found that there are loads of features, but we don’t use all of them so we can only speak to the ones we use and understand. Here is a list we have put together for your interest.
The first thing we see when we log into Jetpack Workflow (JW) is the dashboard. We love it because it gives us a quick overview of what is happening in our practice. It shows us which jobs are overdue, which ones are due today, due this week and then due next week. We can also see the same view for each of our staff which allows us to quickly see how staff are tracking. There is also a section highlighting “labels” which are described below. The labels show us what our clients still need to do in order for jobs to be completed and are a visual trigger that tells us which clients may need to be reminded etc. In the graphic below we have circled the team name – this is where you can search for other team members in order to view their dashboards.
As mentioned above, we use labels in JW. Labels are like post it notes on jobs that alert us to certain things that may or may not be happening in those jobs. These are our labels currently and as you can see we have a spare one which we haven’t yet populated. The labels are colour-coded with “urgent” being red and then moving to less vibrant colours as the item becomes less important. The labels are important because they tell the team what is happening in each job and whether or not a client or accountant should be followed up or reminded. Our favourite one is “ready to lodge” because it means the job is finished! Labels can be added to each job easily and removed once the label is no longer relevant or needed.
After we have logged into JW and reviewed the dashboard, we automatically move to the “jobs tab”. There is also a task tab but we don’t use that – we don’t find that view to be overally useful. The jobs view shows us by default which jobs are due today but we can easily move to jobs which are overdue or due later by using the drop-down list highlighted in the graphic below. We can add jobs on the fly by choosing “quick add’ or “add job” and we can create new templates for jobs via “add template” – more about templates below. All sections are sortable by clicking on the headings and specific jobs or clients are easily found by using the “find” function. The whole jobs view is interactive and easy to use. Again, it is easy to see which jobs the team are doing by selecting each of their names in the “assigned to” drop-down list. We spend most of our time in this section of JW.
Creating a new job in JW is easy. We’ve shared the one we created for our Quick-e Newsletters below. There are lots of features within this feature so we’ll list them here:
- Client details are listed to the top right of each job. This is great if you quickly want to call or email the client and if you have a brain fade and can’t remember his/her name (yes, it happens!).
- Add labels to jobs (see above) – we have added a label to our graphic below just as an example.
- In the middle section where it currently says “Write Quick-e Newsletter”, you can add notes about the job that you want to appear each time the job is repeated. You can also add clickable links there too which we do regularly for our team – things like bookkeeping notes, spreadsheets in use, links related to the client work etc. These links come through to each repeated job so it’s really a case of “set and forget”.
- You can easily add documents needed for the job. We upload things like bank statements, loan schedules, how-to notes, or any other document related to a particular job.
- Where is says “add note” is where you can talk to team members about the job. We’ve added an example in our graphic. These notes stay with the job even when it’s archived for reference later if required – useful if you ever get into a “he said, she said” argument with staff or clients.
- Timing. We use this function for both billable and non-billable jobs. The billable time is pushed automatically to QuickBooks Online for invoicing purposes. The non-billable time is recorded for use in business budget reporting. We look at timers in more depth below.
Repeating Jobs & Templates
Repeating or recurring jobs is a major feature we use in our practice. Most of the jobs we do are on repeat, things like BAS, payroll, reporting, bank reconciliation etc. We love that we can set up a job once for a client, set up the repeating schedule and then just get on with doing the work. This gives us peace of mind that the process is in place and that nothing will fall through the cracks – we might forget that a job is coming but JW won’t! We also love that if a job we create applies to more than one client (and most of them do), we can create a template from that one job and copy it across to other clients – such a great time saver! Making a job repeat is simple – add the date you are starting then choose the recurrence schedule you desire e.g. weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, yearly etc. You can drill down here also and choose particular days of the week the job must be done.
Tasks & Sub-Tasks
From our example above, you can see that it’s easy to add tasks to each job. You can add as many as you like. Again, if this is a repeating job, those tasks will move with each job. You can also add sub-tasks to each task and documents for that sub-task if needed. We would use this for tasks that require specific steps like a year-end checklist for example. See below:
One whole job can be timed either by clicking on the start icon or you can manually add time as well. Sub-tasks can be timed individually as can be see above. As mentioned previously, you can mark the time as billable or non-billable and all billable time is pushed to our QuickBooks Online file for client invoicing. This is a feature we absolutely love and is the main reason we moved to JW as explained in part 1 of this blog series. Another thing we do with timers is have more than one timer running at the same time. So for instance if we are lodging more than one form to the ATO for multiple clients, we start timers for each of those clients, process the lodgements and record time against each client’s job simultaneously.
Assign to Team or Client
Something we love as part of task set up is the ability to assign whole jobs or individual tasks within jobs, to team members and to clients as well. Yes that’s right, to clients. Often our jobs involve more than one staff member so for instance, someone will do the bank reconciliation, someone will check the file for errors and then someone else will prepare the BAS. We easily assign all of these tasks to the relevant member as can be seen below.
Sometimes it is also necessary to involve the client in the job. For example if we need the client to provide specific documents to complete the job, we create a task within the job requesting those documents and we assign this to the client as below. When we do this, the client is sent an email via JW which outlines the request. When the clients responds, their task automatically clears and those documents are attached to their task ready for us to use – bloody awesome! Here’s a video about how this works:
Create Tasks from Emails
We use this feature all the time and we were very happy when JW introduced it. Basically what happens here is when a client sends an email asking us to do something, we forward the email via a special email address to our JW account. JW will then set up a draft job housing the details of the email. At this point we add all required details including assigning the task to a team member. We like setting up one off jobs in this way because one, it means we don’t forget the job and two, the exact wording of the email comes across to the job making it simple to set up specific tasks for the job – nothing is forgotten. 👍👍
There are several reports on offer in JW but the one we use the most is the basic timesheet. Firstly our staff send us their timesheet for payroll purposes simply by filtering the report via time period and staff member. We also use it to crosscheck the data that is pushed to QuickBooks Online by filtering the report by client. Lastly, we use this report to track our profitability in terms of actual time taken to complete work versus quoted costs.
So there are just a few features we use daily in our practice from JW. There are heaps more but we haven’t yet explored those. Again if you want to see what else JW can do, check out their “how it works” page. We have tended to concentrate on the features that we need and find most useful which I’m sure is what most practices would do with any software. Having said that, we are keen to further learn about the platform and try other functions – who knows we could really be missing out on something great! If we discover other features in JW as we go along, we’ll be sure to add them here to this blog post, so check back from time to time to see if anything has changed. Also, for those following along, part 3 in this series will cover off software integrations with JW that we use in our practice.