This article is an extract from the book 'Everything you need to know about Xero Practice Manager'
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There are some settings in XPM you need to get right. In this section we’ll be reviewing the essential settings to ensure your practice is set up to succeed.
To get started, go to ‘Business > Settings > Tasks’ in your XPM.
Getting your task list correct at the beginning can save you a lot of heartache when the hard questions come later. This section will allow you to make the right decisions for your practice and avoid some of the common mistakes.
As we touched on in Chapter 3: Revenue Streams, tasks are the services you offer in your practice. Tasks are what your staff see every day when they complete their time sheets. It is what you report on when you ask, ‘How good are we at something? It is also how we break up the different processes, decision points and resource allocation in our practice. Choosing good tasks creates good quotes, processes, invoices and reports. Choosing inappropriate tasks leads to unreliability, confusion and cost.
Like filling a taco, ‘less is more’ with tasks. Research has shown that humans make better decisions with less information, flying in the face of popular belief amongst business owners and managers. It is highly tempting to detail out the tasks in your business down to the lowest level in the name of better reporting or better visibility. Often practices using XPM have a list of 100 or more tasks and sub-tasks. You want your task list to be between 10 and 40 items.
Practices often fall into the trap of creating far too many tasks in the hope they will get better reporting. In reality, however, it often leads to lower reliability of information, and more confusion from staff when entering their time sheets. If you have more than 40 tasks in XPM, you need to have a good long look at what it is you do for your customers and how you make money. It is unlikely that you have the staff or resources to continually be the best in your industry at more than 40 unique activities.
The secret sauce for creating your task list is the ‘Services’ tab from your website. This will typically spell out the services your practice offers at a sufficiently detailed level and is an excellent starting point. More inspiration can be found in the quotes you send your customers. Do you simplify those to make it easier to communicate the value you’re delivering to your customers? Of course you do. Do the same for your team and watch as jobs become easier to deliver, and your reporting on your services improves.
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