Case Studies. Struggling with paper-based reports? Learn how a cloud-based system can turn this engineering company around
25Jun '14

Struggling with paper-based reports? Learn how a cloud-based system can turn this engineering company around

This engineering company in Australia was facing a problem all too familiar to others in the construction business: tracking project costs through paper-based daily reports is far too inefficient. Learn how WORK[etc]'s project management tools and app integration features can help keep track of day-to-day progress, whether you're in the office or on-site.


This Australian engineering company focuses on ensuring the safety of associated mining infrastructure and equipment. Simply put, it’s risk mitigation with an edge.

The Problem:

The company has been in operation for over a decade. Their current system, however, is not organized enough to their liking. They’ve found it to be inefficient — there’s too much paper and there’s a considerable delay in calculating daily costs and turnover. Their monthly reports are fine, but the company is finding it hard to get an idea of how well they’re doing on a daily or even a weekly basis.

There are a lot of factors that come into play in the company’s particular risk mitigation niche, not least of which is the people they have on-site. They use a login sheet to keep track of whoever is out on-site everyday but they’ve found that this paper-based solution is inherently limiting when it comes to tracking expenses, especially when they factor in equipment, resources, and materials.

Their ideal system is one that lets them capture a snapshot of how much the day-to-day operations is costing them.

The WORK[etc] Solution:


Dependencies & TriggersTracking day-to-day project expenses can easily be done within WORK[etc] through the projects dashboard and the budget tab. The project dashboard contains an overview of all the projects you have so far. The budget tab, on the other hand, shows a breakdown of all financial aspects of your project. It pulls data from all timesheets, expenses (including worker wages), and other items you’ve created under the project and takes into account everything from the budget you set to billing rates and project progress.

Anybody who has access to the project within WORK[etc] can add new expense items and timesheets. If one of your site supervisors needs a drill rig, for example, you just create a new expense item and enter the equipment’s daily cost as well as how many days it’ll be used. If you end up using it for fewer or more days than you originally anticipated, just edit the expense and change the number of days. WORK[etc] automatically calculates the total expense and adds it to the aggregate table on the budget tab.

You can also get a quick overview of all of the expenses incurred during a project through WORK[etc]’s search and filter functions. Just head into a project’s activity stream, which is a sort of timeline that shows every single activity within the project. Filter for expenses, and you have a list of all the expenses associated with a project. These custom search filters can then be saved, making the information always just one click away. You can also see company-wide expenses through the finance module’s expenses tab. These can then be filtered and sorted according to what information is important to you.


Each of the company’s construction projects revolve around four to a dozen people: the staff at the main office, their client, and the site supervisor. The people involved are always spread out in at least three different places at once. Since WORK[etc] is cloud-based, all they need is an internet connection t get all the latest updates.

WORK[etc]’s iOS and Android mobile apps make logging in and adding timesheets, expenses, notes, images, or updates to a project even easier. During the initial survey phase of a project, for example, whoever visits the site can just snap photos using their phone or tablet then upload and attach them to the project. Those off-site immediately get an idea of the project’s scope as well as the resources and materials it would require.

The same goes for expenses and timesheets. If the on-site supervisor suddenly needs to make a materials purchase for whatever reason, he or she can just enter the expense data into the system through the mobile app. What’s more, they can take a picture of the receipt and attach it to the expense item for further accountability and tracking.


G Suite WORK[etc] CRMOne of the most important aspects of the company’s day-to-day on-site operations is the daily work summary sent in by their workers and contractors. These daily reports double as progress and expense trackers as well as a running record of the materials and infrastructure they’ve installed for their clients. If the company says that they installed scaffolding for an area totalling 500 feet in length, they have to be able to prove it. These reports, which are collected and presented to the client once the job is done, serve as proof.

Since mining engineering is a very specialized industry, these reports can also be very extensive and specific. Their current system is again paper-based, with scans of the forms emailed back to the main office acting as backups. The problem with this system, however, is that some of their paper forms get lost in the cracks. The system has too many moving parts — there are too many stages where people can mess up.

WORK[etc] has a built-in web form creator that can be used to capture information entered by customers. The company’s most important forms, however, are more like spreadsheets due to their complexity. This isn’t a particularly big hurdle, though, as even complicated forms and reports can be brought into WORK[etc] quickly and easily by leveraging the system’s G Suite integration.

All the company has to do is create a new document or form in Google Drive, which is one of the many apps that WORK[etc] seamlessly integrates with. Everybody can then fill out all of the project pertinent reports through Google Drive and once they’re finished, the forms and reports can then be readily attached to their respective WORK[etc] projects.

Since the two systems — WORK[etc] and Google Drive — work in parallel, all of these forms and reports can easily be accessed through either one. As long as you have an internet connection, you can even make additional entries while on-site using a laptop, an iPad, or most other mobile devices.

This not only removes the paper-based forms from the equation, it also streamlines the process and makes it easier to input and find relevant data. As long as everybody makes sure to fill out their reports on time, there’s no chance for any of the reports to get lost somewhere in the mix. Everybody who needs access to the information can easily access it without having to rifle through 500 pages’ worth of individual reports. The reports can then be printed out for submission to clients.

Google Drive isn’t the only app that integrates seamlessly with WORK[etc]. Here are just some of the things you can do with third-party apps:

  • Create leads, assign support, and update projects without leaving your Gmail or Outlook inbox.
  • Turn Evernote notes into new contacts, sales leads, tasks, projects, and support tickets. Capture ideas and attach them to projects and customer contact entries.
  • Export WORK[etc] invoices, transactions, and expenses directly as well as to QuickBooks and Xero Accounting.
  • Access and attach files and documents in from within WORK[etc].


The company can gain an extensive project budget and expenses tracker by utilizing the financial tracking tools built into WORK[etc]’s project management module. The company doesn’t have to wait for their monthly reports to come in just so they can check project costs. WORK[etc] lets them see real-time values as well as extensive item-by-item reports.

WORK[etc]’s deep integration with Google’s suite of business tools will help mitigate the chances of important reports and forms getting lost in the shuffle. The company can ensure that they always have a copy of these reports by using WORK[etc] and Google Drive in parallel, automatically creating redundancies and soft copy backups easily accessible through either app.

Through the system’s iOS and Android mobile apps, those on-site and off can quickly make new expense items or edit existing ones as needed. Project updates, timesheets, and Google Drive reports can also be created, modified, and attached even on-site.



To find a project management system that allows for daily budget and expense tracking as well as provide an alternative to the current, inefficient paper-based reporting and tracking system.


Take full advantage of the budget and expense tools in WORK[etc]’s project dashboard. Transfer paper-based form to a cloud-based format in Google Drive and leverage WORK[etc]’s deep integration with G Suite to allow easy attachment and access to important reports and forms.


Increased company efficiency through customizable expense tracking and cloud-based report submission system.

What this means for your Engineering Firm

WORK[etc] is not just your run-of-the-mill CRM. It’s an all-in-one solution that combines project management, financial, and reporting tools to give you a clear overview of your projects whenever you want. The system’s cloud-based nature also makes it easily accessible, whether you’re in the main office or on-site. You can experience WORK[etc]’s suite of cloud-based tools by signing up for our free 14-day trial.