From XU Magazine, 
Issue 27

Boost your advisory power with technology and help clients change their businesses for the better

From the moment I was on the call with Michelle, I could see her professionalism and entrepreneurial spirit shining through the screen, along with her passion for helping her clients use both WorkflowMax and Xero.
This article originated from the Xero blog. The XU Hub is an independent news and media platform - for Xero users, by Xero users. Any content, imagery and associated links below are directly from Xero and not produced by the XU Hub.
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Let me introduce Michelle Janse van Rensburg. She’s an accountant by trade and always knew she was destined to start her own company from a young age. Today she’s the managing director of Nimacc Business Lounge – a dynamic, digitally savvy consulting firm based in South Africa. Michelle and her team cover most aspects of modern business such as business analysis, system development, implementation, and training, alternative finance solutions, brand development and digital marketing. One aspect of their work is implementing systems like Xero, WorkflowMax and Xero Practice Manager to help their clients succeed.

An entrepreneur from the get-go, Michelle laughs at the memory of selling her school projects for pocket money. Jump ahead to adulthood and that entrepreneurial drive was still there when she left her accounting job at PricewaterhouseCoopers to start Nimacc Business Lounge just five years ago.

“I saw a gap between the gut instinct that a business owner has about their numbers and the facts that software can empower them with,” says Michelle. “I wanted to be the person that could align the two.” 

Now with a powerful team of 20, Nimacc isn’t in the business of plugging holes. Instead, they provide cloud-based, long-term solutions and tell clients to dream big.

By doing a strategic discovery process followed by software implementation and training, Nimacc’s clients know what their numbers mean on a day-to-day basis, not just when they hand everything over to their accountant at year end. “To see the pure joy when they realise they’ve actually got the numbers at their fingertips and it starts to make sense – that’s what I love about my job,” says Michelle.

WorkflowMax plus Xero equals the right match for Nimacc’s professional services clients

Michelle started using Xero seven years ago and likes it because it speaks in a language that the entrepreneur can understand. So simple and yet so powerful at the same time. Then when she discovered WorkflowMax, she knew it would also be a good fit for Nimacc and her clients who manage jobs and projects.

“We started using WorkflowMax at Nimacc and saw that it’s just easy,” says Michelle. “It’s simple to use. I love that we can log on from our phones and find clients or jobs, and track time from wherever we are. And it’s got really intuitive reporting.”

Michelle says that in the beginning they worked with a couple of WorkflowMax team members to get set up. “We liked what we saw and signed up to become a WorkflowMax advisor – which was also an easy process. We got the right guidance from the start and now we provide that guidance to our clients.”

Nimacc’s clients include business consultants, engineering firms and research firms, manufacturing companies and other professional service businesses. If there’s project management involved in their work and they have to manage tasks and milestones, Michelle believes WorkflowMax will be a very good fit. 

“There are many apps from the Xero app marketplace that we could recommend but we really only implement a handful of them. We truly believe in the value that WorkflowMax offers our clients. From its value for money to its ease of use and functionality,” says Michelle.

Combined with Xero, WorkflowMax offers business owners one source of financial truth that’s visible anytime, anywhere. And it shines a light on profitability. 

“Many business owners are really good at sales and running their business, but they don’t always know how much profit they’re making per job. WorkflowMax reports give them that clarity. Whenever we implement WorkflowMax, we set up custom reports for our clients so they get the exact data they need. Being able to track milestones and set up recurring jobs are also huge benefits,” says Michelle.

Time-saving features and automation really do change how a business can operate

Michelle offers a few more examples of how technology like WorkflowMax can empower businesses. She explains that if you’ve got a team of consultants and you’re taking an hour or two every day or second day to hold project status meetings, that’s a lot of non-billable time over a week. 

“If you implement software like WorkflowMax, you can do the same meeting in 15 minutes. That’s because you can use WorkflowMax to track time and tasks, show the last communication with clients, check the status of quotes and so much more. So if your ten consultants get back 90 minutes every couple of days, and you’re billing each consultant at X, it’s easy to see how these numbers affect your bottom line.”

She also has clients who have been able to automate at least one role in their business and move that team member to another area like sales or account management. “WorkflowMax helps companies automate previously manual tasks so there’s more time to spend on client-facing roles which can help grow the business and build stronger relationships,” says Michelle.

Now’s the right time to expand your app advisory offering

Michelle believes (and I do too!) that if you have clients that operate in consulting or project management industries, it helps both of you if you’re on board with the different apps that integrate with Xero and how they can help your clients. She says, “Knowledge of Xero, WorkflowMax and other software will help you deliver better business advice and support. The information that these systems give you can help you advise clients on where they can increase their margins and profitability.”

She also feels that now is the right time to convince more clients to fully digitise their processes. “As we’ve all seen, if you can’t get to your office or see your staff every day, you need one version of truth and you need to be able to access your data easily. Cloud-based technology gives you this information plus added value that an old legacy system simply doesn’t offer,” says Michelle.

One of the best parts of my conversation with Michelle was about uncovering where she’s leading the Nimacc business into the future...and Michelle has big goals! She says, “When we started out, our clients were your smaller sized businesses. With the systems available in the Xero app marketplace today – like WorkflowMax – we’re now servicing larger international clients as well.”

“Cloud-based technology is helping expand our footprint and inspire global change in terms of the way business owners operate and in terms of the way they understand their numbers. I’m very proud of the work we do and how we’re helping businesses become more efficient, automated and effectively improve their bottom line,” she concludes.

Why leave it there?

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