The global reach of the Internet has allowed for a paradigm shift in the way people work. Service contractors thrive in freelance works as they enjoy the perks of flexible hours and freedom from the four corners of an office cubicle. Dubbed digital nomads, they belong to a pool of multi-talented individuals who can easily adapt to the ever-changing technological landscape.
Managers who supervise these service contractors also face novel challenges. Consider Tom, who founded a company for an online marketplace based in New York. He has outsourced a majority of the development work and website management to John, a service contractor based in Thailand. Besides dealing with the physical distance, Tom has to keep track of timely service delivery. More importantly, Toms needs an accurate means of keeping track of the hours John has put in and invoiced each month.
This is where a workflow app such as Form Workflow Plus can help Tom provide a transparent and automated validation process for John’s timesheet approvals. After installing the add-on from the G Suite marketplace, Tom was able to focus his time and efforts on company growth knowing John is properly compensated. Businesswise, Tom cut costs as there’s no longer a need to buy expensive time management tools. With G Suite, everything can be automated.
Using Form Workflow Plus, here are important tips on how Tom was able to achieve success:
1. Prepare a worksheet for contractors to log the number of hours worked
In line with digitizing processes, managers can use online tools such as Google Sheets for this purpose. This promotes a relationship built on transparency and sets the stage for quick resolution should any dispute arise.
Create a worksheet template which contractors can modify. Here’s a sample:
At the very least, the worksheet should have:
- Sheet title set to contractor name
- Use the same template for each month and place in individual sheets
- Daily logs of hours worked broken down into specific projects
- Tally of total hours worked with hourly rate factored in
2. Create a Google Form to collect timesheet approval requests
At the end of each month, John submits this timesheet for approval. Create a validation process to ensure accuracy which can include the team leader, area manager, and finance department as reviewers.
An effective form should capture:
- The contractor name and/or number
- The inclusive month for the timesheet
- Email address
- Link to the digital timesheet
- Quick overview of total hours worked
3. Setup an approval process to check for accuracy and establish an audit trail
Form Workflow Plus can automate the validation process on your behalf. The following features make the product great at managing workflows:
- Easy one-time setup
- Handles multi-step approvals
- Conditional approvals for routing requests based on specific criteria
- Web application for managing workflows, users, and billing
Form Workflow Plus has a 14-day free trial. Sign up here.
The form responses above can be collected on a Google Sheet where, in turn, Form Workflow Plus is activated as an add-on. Here’s a sample sheet collecting the above information:
Setting up a workflow is easy! We prepared a guide for you:
4. Use a document and mail merge app to automate invoice creation for approved requests
WIzy’s G Merge Plus is also a Google Sheets add-on that can create personalized invoices based on a template. On top of this, each created document can be emailed out as part of its mail merge feature. This is useful in case the Finance Team or Accounting Department needs to be notified. Here are some of the reasons G Merge Plus would be a perfect complement to timesheet approvals:
- Works on Google Sheet so it can be activated on the same Form Workflow Plus worksheet
- Can be set with filters to process rows of data marked “Approved”
- Automates the merge process by using an invoice template
- Can be set to send the merged documents as attachments using the mail merge feature
- Has a drag-n-drop email editor for creating content-rich email templates
- Try for free! Sign up here.
Read more about G Merge Plus’s features here:
For questions, Form Workflow Plus and G Merge Plus both come with a dedicated support team at firstname.lastname@example.org. Set a demo via this link: