Tasks are where you’ll track the day to day operations of your practice. It is important to note that tasks are the most basic way of managing your practice operations. Processes on the are a tool for your team members to efficiently manage multiple tasks. To better understand the importance of tasks and processes in PractiFI, check out our deep dive.
Here, we explain how to start a new task. Ready?
How can I start a new task?
Starting tasks can be accomplished in three primary ways: As a standalone task on the client view, as a new task within a process or simply as a personal task for a team member. These options enhance flexibility for your practice by allowing for one-off client tasks, project task management and personal task management, respectively.
- The first two methods of starting a task are accomplished from the client view, so first head to the household where you’d like to add a task. To launch a standalone task from the Processes & Tasks tab, select either Open Tasks or Completed Tasks, then select the green Add New icon. For example, if you wanted to call the client in 8 days to ask how their family vacation went, you could create a task to remind yourself to make that call. This is useful in situations where there is an important action to take for the client, but the action does not relate to a larger process or service operation.
- The second method of starting a task is within a process. Select the Processes & Tasks view, ensure you have the Processes tab selected, select the edit button next to a process and finally select the green plus sign located on the Tasks tab. This method is quite useful if new action is required on an existing process. It’s quite easy to assign a new task on the fly during your daily client operations. (If you’re a visual learner, see the below picture.) For more information on using Processes to improve your organization and efficiency, check out our How To: Start and Manage a Process tutorial.
- The third method for creating a task is accomplished from the team member view. First, navigate to a team member in the top nav search bar. Team members will have a small person icon to differentiate them from client accounts, etc. From this team member view, select the Processes & Tasks tab, select the Open Tasks subtab and then select the plus sign to add a new task. This area is useful for adding tasks that may be personal or for your practice rather than a specific client. Paying your utility bills, calling a vendor and the yearly spring cleaning operation are all examples of team member tasks.
- After utilizing one of the above three methods to start your task, you will first see the Task Detail screen which allows you to modify the following details:
- Subject: Write a name for the task. Try to use a concise phrase to sum up the task in just a few words, e.g. “Mail client welcome package”
- Related To: If desired, relate this task to another item in the current household. For example, another process, service or client within the same household. Services, clients, and processes in other households or families cannot be linked.
- Priority: Choose whether this task is of Low, Normal or High importance. Tasks marked High will gain a red font on the priority column, which is sure to grab attention!
- Stage: Indicate whether this task is Not Started, In Progress or Completed.
- Due Date: Pick the date this task is scheduled or required to be completed by the assigned team member. If overdue, this field will also turn red.
- Assigned To: Assign a team member responsibility for completing this individual task.
- Description: If necessary, add notes about the task in this large text area.
- Estimated Effort: Enter the projected amount of time expected to complete this task.
- Actual Effort: Enter the final time spent by the team member to complete this task.
- Variance: This field is an automatically calculated set of fields which contrast the actual and estimated effort times for the current task.
- The feed tab allows you to write individual notes, upload documents, and send chatter messages to team members. This can be useful for sharing client documents, meeting notes and/or audio files. For more information about the PractiFI feed tool, read our feeds tutorial (coming soon!)
- When finished entering all the details for your new task, select the Save button to start your new task!
How do I manage tasks?
As you’ve seen, starting a task is quite easy and PractiFI delivers some nice options to process a variety of situations. Managing your tasks just as simple, and it’s important to understand the strategies for managing these different types of tasks. Just like starting a task, managing them is broken down into three areas: standalone tasks, process tasks and team member tasks. Remember, if you haven’t created your task yet, you’ll need to refer to the section above first.
- The first two methods of managing a task are still accomplished from the client view, so head to the household where you’d like to add a task. To manage a standalone task, select the Processes & Tasks tab(1) and then select either Open Tasks(2) or Completed Tasks. From here, choose the task you’d like to manage by selecting the edit icon(3). Managing a standalone task can be useful in situations such as rescheduling a phone call, changing a due date, or re-assigning the task to a new team member.
- Managing a task within a process is also accomplished from the client view. Managing tasks from the process view is most useful when needing to edit multiple tasks related to a process. For example, let’s imagine a client meeting is coming up next week and Dan, a lead adviser, needs to take an emergency leave of absence. Not to worry, PractiFI makes it simple to see the list of tasks within the process for this meeting, and make corresponding edits. First, navigate to the Processes & Tasks tab (1), then select the Processes list(2). Select the edit icon(3) next to the Process which will be affected Dan’s absence. Choose the Tasks list(4) and select the edit icon(5) next to each task which needs editing. In the example below, we see a financial advice process where Dan is scheduled to remind the client of their meeting, conduct the meeting and write followup notes. Since Dan is out, we can quickly reassign these tasks to another adviser, edit due dates and add any additional tasks as necessary.
- Managing a team member is accomplished from the team member view. This is the area your practice will utilize when a team member task (i.e. Paying your utility bills, calling a vendor or the yearly spring cleaning operation) changes, and quick edits are necessary. First, navigate to a team member in the top nav search bar. Team members will have a small person icon to differentiate them from client accounts, etc. From this team member view, select the Processes & Tasks tab(1), select the Open Tasks subtab(2) and then select the edit sign(3) to add a new task.
- After selecting one of the three above methods to manage a task, you’ll find you can edit all the same sections created during the start of the task. For example, imagine editing a standalone task for a client who has emailed to reschedule a call. Noting you’ll be in another client meeting this day, you need to need to both reschedule the call and assign to another team member.
- One helpful hint for managing tasks is that from any list of tasks, you can double-select a specific field to edit inline, rather than opening the task’s popup window. This is useful for making simple edits to multiple tasks all in one swoop. An example for editing our task management scenario (#2 in this section) is displayed in the image below. Here, we change the meeting to the following week(1) and assign to another lead adviser(2). Don’t forget to click save(3) after making your inline changes!
Congratulations, by understanding how to start and manage your tasks, you and your practice are well on the way to a streamlined client services operation!