Last month I shared with you the tools that make us more productive and ultimately save our sanity (how we, as a society, once survived on strictly MS Word is truly a mystery to me, and a story for another time). Now, not only are there a zillion tools to choose from, there are even more integrations that further cushion certain pain points. Want to free up even more brain space? Let these integrations do the thinking and doing for you.
Slack + Email Bot
If you are like most companies, you have a general “hello@” or “info@” email account that catches all the random inquiries and general stuff. Furthermore, if you are the Ops person inside a small team (like me!), it generally falls on you to sift through the inbox and dispatch help where needed. Sometimes however, you don’t fully understand what someone is asking or it is really meant for another person on your team, or you are new to said Ops person role and no one remembers the password to the account. Thankfully, Slack has an excellent integration that makes this account to visible to whomever needs to see it and easily accessible for when you need to call on your fellow teammates. This bot is simply called Email Bot and will post emails that come from whatever addresses you want. For us, it catches a couple different general email accounts like the address we use to sign into shared tools, and old retired email addresses that are still floating around in cyberspace. It is integrated into a channel we so creatively call “inbox”. Here’s how to get your very own email bot explained straight from the experts themselves.
Trello + Gmail
Speaking of emails, let’s talk about invoices. As in, accounts payable and all the emails that comes with people getting paid. Again, this is probably a task that falls on one person, but occasionally needs the help of a few others if there’s a problem or a question. For us, invoices has it’s own email address (you guessed it, invoices@), but managing this inbox was especially hard because there are two of us that watch it like a hawk. With multiple eyes on it, we ran into a few questions: Do you keep all of them unread until pay day? How do you know which ones are due when? Do you archive them when paid or subject yourself to the pandora’s box that is inbox tags? For these puzzling questions, we turned to Trello and it’s email integration for an A+ solution. Every time an invoice gets sent to our invoices@, it automatically forwards to our Accounts Payable Trello board. There, we simply change the title to the amount + payee and add the due date in the card. We can then move that card through the different stages like Waiting to be Paid, Paid, Questions, etc. This fix is a two step process. First, find the unique email address that is associated with the board you want to use. Specific directions can be found here. Then, pop over to the settings in your email client (we use gmail), and set up automatic forwarding to that unique email address. While we use this for invoices, this trick can be used for anything else that needs more organization than just an inbox.
Harvest + Xero
One of the best assets a company can have is a killer accounting team. They keep us straight and make sure that we being smart with our money. That being said, there is so much more to be done with accounting than just watching our monthly subscriptions debit out of our bank account. Estimates, invoices, paychecks; all eventually find their way to our accountant and then she has the daunting task of reconciling it all. To make matters more confusing for her, we do all of our estimating, invoicing, and time tracking via Harvest. Lucky for us, our cloud accounting platform, Xero integrates perfectly with Harvest. When we invoice, a copy is created in Xero. When that invoice is paid, it is reflected in Xero. This simple, yet powerful integration has helped us keep up with our accounts receivables in real time, and saved us from countless “what was this for?” emails.
Asana + Harvest
This is an oldie but a goodie. If you haven’t already noticed, Harvest is a big part of how we run our business. Another, equally big part is Asana. No matter what industry you are in, time and task tracking are two huge project management necessities that require a lot of attention. Instead of having to toggle back and forth between your tasks in Asana, and your timesheet in Harvest, you can just simply hit a button on the actual task and start the timer. This is a double bonus because the task name becomes the entry name saving you the headache of trying to figure out how to explain what you were doing for 32 minutes. What I like most is when I am doing a task that only takes me a couple of minutes. In the past, I would probably think twice about creating a whole new entry in Harvest because, what’s 5 minutes? But with this integration, since it is literally inside the task, I just click the clock. Easy peasy.