You know that Practice Ignition (PI) manages all aspects of client engagement, job deployment, invoicing and payments within its intuitive dashboard, making life easier for you and your clients.

You also know that Xero Practice Manager* (XPM) manages the internal job and workflow process, ensuring that your practice is efficient in its work. Linking those two systems together will revolutionise the way you do business.

But where do you start? Which system comes first and how do you integrate them? Here are three tips on how best to get both systems implemented and streamline your business.

Where do you start?

Practice Ignition streamlines the way you create proposals for your clients, because it allows you to standardise what services you provide. To do that, you first need to work out your offering of services.

But don’t just list them out: get granular by listing all their variations. Add up your costs and price accordingly. For help on how that’s done, have a read of this article. By creating a standardised service library, you can create a proposal in minutes simply by selecting the relevant service and customizing it for the client on a per-proposal basis. Investing time initially to build this list will save you a heap of time moving forward.

What system comes first?

After you’ve worked out all your services and have put a price on each, turn to Practice Ignition, because every interaction with your clients moving forward will link back to the proposal to which they agreed and which was created in PI.

PI is the first system you will use to collaborate with your clients from an internal workflow perspective, so it makes sense to get this system up and running first.

Next, you’ll move on to XPM. Think of XPM as your job and workflow management system. All you really need XPM to do when integrated with PI, is manage the workflow and keeping the job status up-to-date (ie, Approved, In Progress, On Hold, In Review, With the Client, Completed etc). It’s really about making sure the work is completed on time for your client.

The other thing XPM does is manage time and timesheets. Remember though, if you are getting your staff to complete timesheets, they only need to be completed to track the profitability of the job and look for efficiencies (or inefficiencies), rather than act as “micro management” of what the accountant is actually doing.

Two “Ps’ in a Pod

When PI and XPM are integrated, proposal details and the specifics on tasks to be completed are found in PI. When a job is launched in XPM, after the client accepts the proposal, a link back to this proposal in every job lets your team reference specifics, in real time. Just remember, always start with PI since it’s the first system in the process of engaging with your clients, XPM then comes next.

How do you integrate them?

To integrate PI and XPM, you need to create a PI account, and then create your service library and your engagement letter template.

Then you’ll want to set up your XPM account. When you do this for the first time, it will automatically create trial data (including job templates and tasks for your industry). I suggest you read all the help articles and where required contact an advisor for additional support in setting this up, however, it’s relatively easy if you remember to KEEP IT SIMPLE.

The Job templates that are created in XPM with the trial data are all you need. Keep these really simple and high level, because the details are in the proposal from PI! XPM job templates will link back to your services in PI. To connect and link your Services in PI to your Job Templates in XPM after you have turned on the integration between the two systems (take a look at this article to see how).

After the two apps are integrated, you can create a proposal in PI simply by selecting the relevant Service for that client, and you can then use the templated text or customise the details for each service. After the client accepts the proposal, the jobs will show up in your XPM account because the Job Templates are connected to the service you selected.

It is a good idea to add a “dummy client” and create a number of “test” proposals to ensure you are happy with what your clients will be seeing, then you can make any tweaks that are needed before you go live!

*For those that don’t know, Xero (accounting software) owns both XPM and WorkflowMax (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 very similar products.

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