IMI is a Beverage marketing and consulting agency out of Atlanta and Chicago. They have been partnering with, and serving, chain hospitality operators since 1990, and are the largest client-customized beverage-program-management organization in the hospitality sector.
IMI’s fee structure has clients paying a set fee for account management, accounting, and consulting services, but the company also offers additional services not covered by the fee. "We needed a way to track and bill clients for things like design, photography and video production services," says Tonya Rains, IMI Creative Services Manager, "But we wanted those items to be kept separate from our regular fee."
"We used to keep a log of hours spent per project, send it to our accounting office, and they would send an invoice to the client on our behalf," says Rains, "We realized that this was a slow and inefficient way to operate and began looking at our options." Thorough research into numerous potential platforms included FunctionFox, which soon floated to the top of their shortlist.
"There were several factors that convinced us that FunctionFox was right for us," says Rains, "It lets me create individual client accounts so I can track project time and outside costs such as stock photography and font purchase. This makes it simple and quick to create an invoice when a project is complete. I can also set up individual accounts for each of our team members and assign tasks for everyone." In addition, IMI appreciated being able to create milestones for project timelines, and produce a status report specifically for each client. "I can share that report with each account manager for a 'big view' of creative projects that are in progress, completed, cancelled or on hold," says Rains. "This helps account managers to have productive meetings with clients on a regular basis with up-to-the-minute information. What better way to show our clients, we’re on top of their account?"
IMI has been using FunctionFox for 9 years, now, and Rains says, "It’s a long time ago, but I’m pretty sure it took way less than a month to set up and customize every function we needed in order for our department to operate effectively and efficiently." They continued to make minor tweaks over the next few months as they fine-tuned and narrowed down exactly what they wanted FunctionFox to do for their department.
"FunctionFox requires virtually no maintenance because we live in it every working day," says Rains, "Staying on top of projects is super easy, because everything is updated immediately as the project progresses through its lifespan. Our team communicates through the FunctionFox project blog on project-related matters, even though we’re within a few feet of each other. The blog also provides a detailed record of all client requests, and our delivery of that request, with the date, time and person from our team that submitted it. It’s a huge bonus to have this historical data in case we ever need to go back and refresh the account manager or client’s memory."
Rains believes that FunctionFox has made a tremendously positive difference for IMI. "We are able to provide detailed reports on hours spent, project costs and final billing reports almost instantly. This allows us to demonstrate how productive we are, and provides solid basis for any request we may have for additional staff or equipment. We pride ourselves on the amount of "non-fee" income we generate for our company."
One thing that has surprised Rains was the sheer number of focused reports she can generate. "I can break it down by client or project, by type of project or by personnel, by date range or by year, by account manager or by status, and so many more. If I need help in figuring out which report is most appropriate for my purpose, a FunctionFox rep is always available — and happy — to help."
The best thing about FunctionFox according to IMI is its invoicing capability. "You wouldn’t believe how many platforms out there don’t have this function," says Rains, "Tracking hours is a must, and many other platforms offer this feature, but the billing capability is the real feather in the FunctionFox cap."