Asana set up for Bookkeepers

I am looking for input on how bookkeepers or accountants have set up Asana. I currently have each client as a project and each activity (monthly bookkeeping, payroll, etc.) as a template assigned to each as applicable and set up as recurring. I use dependencies for the subtasks to notify my staff members when the file is ready for their next task (1 person enters data, another is notified when that is complete so they can reconcile).

I’m not sure that this is the most efficient way. Early on I did the reverse (activity as project, client as task, steps as subtask) but didn’t think I would get the visual I needed to see where I client’s workload was at.

Either way I end up with an overwhelming calendar compared to the per client Excel spreadsheets I used to use. Made worse by the dependencies showing on the calendar before they are ready and having to click into them to see if the prior work has actually been completed yet.

My apologies if this has been addressed before. My search only came up with a post by @James_Carl who runs a much larger business than I. I only have three employees so no tickets or separate teams. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thank you,
Andrea

@Andrea_L_Curtis Actually Andrea I think you are on the right track and sounds like you have made outstanding progress. Here are some thoughts:

  1. I think you have made the correct decision using projects.
  2. I am not a big fan of sub-tasks yet opting more for Project-Sections- Task-Subtasks although I use them. I think Asana is aware that they will have to improve their subtask function and I think they will. In the meantime here are some of my reasons and a couple of additional thoughts.
    a. They do not inherit the project automatically of their parent so if you use them stay disciplined to add Parent Task project to them.
    b. They have no custom fields.
    c. Reduced visability for executable tasks and status
    d. Some advanced searches it becomes difficult to distinguish a subtask from a task
    c. They are great for saving reports such as periodic financial statements and other attachments.
    d. Decide about your file storage options, ie From Computer-Dropbox-Google Sheets-Box-One Drive so you have a rich history of critical reports and use subtasks for them so historic reports do not clutter your 2nd pane.
  3. Again I would consider opting for Project-Sections-Tasks to keep everything visible. I set up accounting workflow first by time, ie Daily, Weekly, Monthly,Annual then use sections for workflow following the balance sheet Cash, Fixed Assets, Accounts Payable but their are certainly other ways that are just as good.
  4. As far as your “overwhelming” calendar, if you don’t know, Advanced Search has added dependencies. I have not fully tested its combinations but hopefully it can keep you informed on the subject. See search jpg below. Consider setting up the right Advanced Report Favorites to monitor your service business as I am not convinced an overly populated calendar is the way to monitor a service business with many clients.
  5. If you have the premium addition there is a world of custom fields and even without their are tags. I have a church that I set up a tag called JE for journal entry so that the bookkeeper could easily click and know every task that requires a journal entry. Of course their are many uses for this. In addition if you use Sections they don’t show up in searches at least to my understanding. That is where accounting lends itself so much to custom fields and tags.
  6. Is Quickbooks a prominent software of your clients or do you have bigger clients using more sophisticated accounting systems.
  7. Are you actually doing the bookeeping for clients or are you reviewing their work to produce financial statements. If you are reviewing I like clients to use Asana and set up templates or reoccuring tasks workflows under their Asana sign up and treat me as a team member. If you are doing the bookeeping it would of course be different.
  8. In accounting workflow their also as you know can be options of using templates or having every task have a re-occurring due date based on accounting cycles of the work being done.
  9. Accounting is probably one of the best workflow applications to use Asana for as it is largely re-occuring in time and task.

Hope this helps a little.

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@Andrea_L_Curtis and any others, here’s how I do it.

We approach our bookkeeping (for less than 20 small business clients) as a set of weekly reports and monthly reports.

The Asana project we create for each client looks like this, with a monthly section that contains only monthly tasks, and four weekly sections that are identical. The weekly sections have tasks that correspond to the reports we get out to clients each week, and have subtasks that spell out how to generate those reports. In this way we are able to use bookkeepers to do bookkeeping, and lower cost data entry/report clerks to generate the reports.

We copy this template for each client each month and customize as needed.

One thing I found was that moving from Free to Premium was crucial, particularly for helping keep track of our 85 Tax clients.

We use a project for each client, and we keep these projects pretty free flowing – they are basically holding place for all relevant items for any given client. “Respond to letter from state taxing authority,” “help client sort out issue with B&O tax” and “client autopay failed, send invoice” might live on the client project.

For the clients who also use our bookkeeping, we tie all the tasks on their bookkeeping project to their client project as well. It’s nice how tasks can live in two projects, because that way you can consider “how are we taking care of this client” from the client profile, as well as “where is our bookkeeping at this week for this client” on their bookkeeping project. This can be two very different types of thins, as the bookkeepers tend to be more focused on executing a repeatable process while our management team is more focused on taking care of client needs (with some emphasis on priority and client size, etc)

I hope this is a bit helpful.

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Thanks for sharing @John_gilmore

Also an in depth description from another firm linked below. I think they are doing a lot of things we could do better.

One big takeaway though, I think, is assigning “tasks” to multiple projects seems to be an important way of organizing work. that way “projects” begin to function more as “views” on the same work from different angles.

I’ve got a bookkeeping client whose taxes we prepare who is currently retaining us to represent before the IRS. Sent them a Power of Attorney this morning to sign. Does that live on Bookkeeping, Tax, some kind of “representation” project, or their CLIENT profile project? Well, it can live on all four, or whichever are necessary.

I said “assigning ‘tasks’ to multiple projects,” but I think more accurately I should say “putting “tasks” into multiple projects” since they aren’t assigned to the project they are assigned to people.