In a workflow software comparison — should you start with the tasks, where the content is published, or the accounting? The amount of work you need to track should fit into an easy workflow management system.
Let’s look at how three different types of management tools work:
- KissFlow – online forms using a workflow process to manage data
- CoSchedule – a tool built for agencies, their content writers, and content managers
- WorkFlow Max – an account management tool that connects to Xero bookkeeping
KissFlow is an online form builder tied to a workflow function. KissFlow provides templates — or you can create a form from scratch. The workflows are easy to learn by looking at the templates. I was able to customize the workflow after looking at one of the templates.
Once I have customized my template, I can duplicate it for each new account. KissFlow allows me to keep my own data in a separate form. I can track the pay rates, deposits, and invoices in the same record as the writer. The writer accesses the brief, deadlines, and deliverables. But, the writer cannot see the financial fields (unless I change the permissions).
A workflow function can guide a person through multiple forms in a sequence. The workflow allows me to enforce the writer completes a step before progressing. KissFlow ensures privacy between writers. The writers cannot see each other’s assignments without permission.
From the manager’s side of a workflow software comparison, the workflow flags writers who have deliverables coming up. The manager approves the deliverables. Fields can be used to track the delivery of the files to the agency or when the agency pays the invoice. The KissFlow data can be connected to Xero bookkeeping software as the volume of work grows.
One final note, the KissFlow data can be connected to Xero bookkeeping software as the volume of work grows.
Right up front, CoSchedule exceeded the scope of my needs. This is an incredible tool – for agencies. CoSchedule allows the creative managers to hook into their clients’:
This is a content management tool publishes content on a calendar schedule. CoSchedule is also excellent for assigning writers to tasks with deadlines. The workflow originates with marketing campaigns. But, it is not a tool for tracking the bookkeeping. It does not track banking, either.
CoShedule did not match my Scope Of Work. My SOW is to write text content for the agency to load and post. CoSchedule had too many automatic publishing features that I could not use.
3. Workflow Max
Workflow Max is a financial workflow tool. The structure is ideal for tracking complex accounts. Many people from account reps to writers log their billable time or their overhead activity. The activity is tied to a client, a project, and a task.
Agency managers can compare hours or costs on projects, or time spent by staff member. The managers can compare profitable tasks and losses by project or client. The hitch is the agency needs to create enough data to use the reporting functions.
WorkFlow Max is financial project management tool more than a workflow system. To use the system a significant amount of time needs to go into setting up the data fields. Garbage in = garbage out. WorkFlow Max is only useful when it is connected to well-developed Ledger of Accounts in Xero.
WorkFlow Max allows a busy agency to break down the times and costs. The Account Codes are associated with tasks. The tasks can be grouped. Optionally, groups or tasks can be added to job templates. The agency staff can log time to the template, to the group, or one task at a time in a timesheet.
Finance drives the workflow. A purchase order can be required to open a job or log an expense. In big agencies, salespeople access different parts of the system from the creatives.
WorkFlow Max is best used with advice from an experienced accountant or bookkeeper. It is an exceptionally powerful for agencies with many clients.
WorkFlow Max is too sophisticated for the level of financial and creative work I am doing.
The Outcomes of the Workflow Software Comparison
My limited type of work drives my workflow software needs. Each writer in my content team needs to perform several similar short assignments each week. The writers and I only need to track the start to finish of text documents. We do not publish the content.
The financial workflow is repetitive with slight variations. The writers are paid a flat-rate per piece. The agency pays a flat-rate per piece with my management fee as part of the rates the agency pays.
The monthly subscription fees for the workflow software were not discussed in this article. After reviewing the software I realized I negotiated the bulk-pricing with the agency down too low. It was based on my current costs before having workflow software.
KissFlow is the workflow software that fits our future needs.
I am working with the writers and the agency to forecast the points at which we can afford to upgrade. The risk is that I will need the upgrade at a point that the income doesn’t cover that additional expense. I’ll share what I learn about forecasting costs. Let’s see what the actual financials in the future