Ignition blog  /  Technology  /  Setting up Ignition the Easy Way (for XPM Users)
Linking Ignition and WorkflowMax together will revolutionize the way you do business.
TECHNOLOGY 4 mins 13 May 2015 by Guy Pearson
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So, you’ve been using Xero Practice Manager/WorkflowMax* for a while and you’ve recently worked out how amazing Ignition is because it will now manage the entire engagement, job deployment, invoice and payment aspect of collaborating with your client. Linking these systems together will revolutionize the way you do business, even more so than when you first moved away from your desktop software to begin with. Here’s a few tips on how best to integrate the two systems together.

Changes Ahead

There’s a bit of a mentality shift that needs to occur with how you view your practice management software when it comes to using Ignition in the mix of your software platforms. If you’ve been using Xero Practice Manager (XPM) in all aspects, with Leads, Quotes, Jobs and Invoices, then you need to now think of XPM as just your job and workflow management system. All you really need XPM to do when it’s integrated with PI, is manage the flow of the work with what state the actual job is in (as in: Approved, In Progress, On Hold, In Review, With the Client, Completed, etc).

It’s about making sure the work is completed on time for your client. Sure, there are tasks and to-do items on a per job basis and these are great to use as a guide to ensuring all the steps in the overall job are completed from a high level approach, just remember though, they are a guide.

Keeping Time

The other thing you still need XPM to do is manage time and time sheets if you bill your clients by time. Remember though, if you have moved to billing your clients with a fixed fee, completing time sheets is only really needed to track the profitability of the job, rather than “micro management” of what the accountant is actually doing.

When the two systems are integrated, the detail of the proposal and what needs to be completed for the client is in PI where it was created. When a job is launched in XPM after the client accepts the proposal, there is a link back to this proposal in every job for your team to reference on the specific requirements. A bit of training for your staff to click that link for further information instead of relying on the job description is needed here, otherwise it’s business as usual for your team when they complete work.

Setting It All Up

Typically speaking you will likely have a number of different Job templates set up in XPM, with a detailed Job description, tasks, to-do items associated with those tasks and be heavily embedded in using these Job templates to manage the workflow in your office. If this is the case, the easiest way to set up your PI after you’ve turned on the integration to be linked through to your XPM, is copy and replicate the name of your Job template and make this a Service.

The Job template description will become your Service description, and the workflow template will have that same XPM job template selected. Then all you have to do is work out the total standardised cost for this job/service and divide this into the monthly amount for a recurring price if you’re creating annual engagements or the total price if it will be billed upfront or on completion.

When you create a proposal in PI now for either a current client or a new client, by selecting the relevant Service for that client, you can use the template text or customize the detail accordingly for each service. Once the client accepts the proposal, if it’s a new client then their details will now be pushed across to XPM (instead of having “prospects” in the mix of your workflow system confusing things until they are actually signed up with you) and they will be an official client.

The jobs will also launch accordingly based on the job settings you selected when the proposal was created, into your XPM account because the Job templates were connected to the service you selected. Finally the invoice will automatically deploy to Xero for you to forward to your client and a copy of this will also flow back to XPM.

As a side note, in order for your invoices to flow back through to your job in XPM, you will need to have your settings correctly aligned in XPM. Under Business, Settings and then Xero, in the Invoice area, ensure the “Automatically import payments applied to invoices in Xero?” box is ticked.

You’ve now completely streamlined what once was a set of very manual tasks engaging with your clients into a few clicks, a lot of automation and created a heap more time to spend growing your firm!

Want to Know More?

For further information and options on how to get your jobs to deploy with your tasks, especially for recurring jobs in XPM, here’s a great presentation that clearly explains it.

*For those that don’t know, Xero (accounting Software) owns both XPM and WFM. When Xero acquired WFM they essentially made a slightly different version with different/additional functionality to assist the Accounting and Bookkeeping industry, this is now the Xero Practice Manager version. WorkflowMax is still available and can be used for these industries (in a slightly different way) and for the remaining service based industries that it is targeting. Essentially though they are a very similar product. To note, only the XPM version will allow you to sync your invoices from Xero back to the jobs ins Xero Practice Manager.

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Guy Pearson

Co-Founder & CEO  Ignition

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Published 13 May 2015 Last updated 28 Oct 2022