6 time-saving ideas for using Karbon Automators

  • 14 July 2020
  • 9 replies
6 time-saving ideas for using Karbon Automators
Userlevel 4
Badge +4

I like to think of Karbon’s Automators as ‘if this, then that’ rules. You let you set task and work statuses, assignees or more to automatically updated based on a certain activity happening (such as the preceding tasks being completed). They are one of the most powerful ways you can use Karbon to take care of all that boring admin work, and save your team a ton of time in the process.

Here are 6 of our favorite ways that we’re seeing Automators being used. If we’ve missed any of the go-to ways you use Automators, we’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below!


Let your colleague know their tasks are ready to start. 


A lot of tasks in your workflow are dependent on others being completed first. If you’re preparing a tax return, the work papers can’t be started until the financial statements have been signed off. Or if you’re performing payroll, there is a lot that needs to happen before pay run can be scheduled.

This might be OK if you’re the one completing each step in the process, but when multiple people are involved, it can be hard for everyone to stay up-to-date. How does the next person know when their tasks are ready to begin? 

Luckily, it is very easy to set this up in Karbon.

Step 1. Put all the tasks in a new section that are dependent on the tasks before them to be completed first. 

Step 2. Add an Automator to this section with the following rules:





Update task statuses when the work start date hits


When you have planned work scheduled, you want to keep any tasks within that work items with the same Planned status too. But when the start date of the work item is reached, you want that work status to update automatically—along with the first set of tasks within that work item.

This is quick to set up using a combination of a company-wide Automators and tasklist Automators.


Step 1. Make sure you have activated the Global Automator: “When Planned work reaches its start date, update its status to…” For this example, we have chosen to update the status to Ready To Start, but you can choose any status that works for you.




Step 2. Add an Automator to the first section of your work item with the following rules:




You want to see everything that is ready for you to work on


If you’re a ‘doer’—one of those critical members of your organization who is responsible for getting the work done, you probably spend a lot of your time in Karbon working from your To-do list. This is where you can see every single task—big and small—that has been assigned to you. 

At any given time, you might see hundreds of items, which can be overwhelming. But if you combine the effective use of Workflow Statuses with To-do filters, you will be shown exactly what is ready for you to begin now.

Step 1. Ensure your team is updating the status of work items, tasks and other items accurately. Automators will help with this, like the examples in the first two recipes.

Step 2. Add a filter to your To-do list so that you only show items with the status, Ready to Start. This will hide any tasks that are in another status, making it much easier to prioritize what needs to get done.




Tasks need to be sent to a client


In Karbon you can schedule requests to send to your contacts automatically using Client Tasks. But if you have internal tasks that need to be checked off first, you won’t want to specify a date too far in advance for your client tasks to send. That’s when this quick recipe will come in handy.

Step 1. Create a new custom workflow status called Send Client Tasks. If you’re making use of Work Types, you’ll need to make sure this new status is applied to the work type you are using for this recipe.

Step 2. In your work item, add an Automator to the task section immediately above your Client Tasks.



Step 3. Whether you are in the work item itself, or simply viewing things from a high level on your Kanban board, you will see when the work item has been updated to Send Client Tasks. You can then go back into the work item and choose to send the tasks to your contact.



When you’re waiting on your clients before going any further


If you have sent tasks to your client, often everything is out of your hands until they respond to your request. In this case, you want to note this in the work item’s status so that you can see where things stand without even needing to go into the work item.

Step 1. In the work item, add a tasklist Automator to your client task section that contains the following rules:


Step 2. Across all of your work items, you can now see which ones are waiting on clients before your team can progress any further.

Step 3. To change the status of the work item back to In Progress, you can add another Automator in the next task section.



When tasks need to be reviewed


Often, processes your team carries out rely on someone else to review everything before things can be signed-off, submitted and completed. Statuses can update automatically to reflect the state the work is in if you put the review tasks in a section of their own.

Step 1. Make sure you have created a custom status called In review (or similar).

Step 2. Add an Automator to your section with the following rule:

Step 3. Any people on your team responsible for reviewing will know that they can begin. They can filter their Work list to show items that are In Review, to get a quick look at what is ready for them to look at.

When the statuses of your work items and tasks are all up-to-date and accurate, it is far simpler to use your To-do section or work Kanban board to hone in and see whatever it is that makes sense to you at any time. You can get a true representation of what you need to work on, or the status of work across your entire team.


These are just some of an array of ways your team can use Karbon Automators to achieve this without you needing to do a thing. What are some ways you and your team are using Automators to save time? 


9 replies

Userlevel 2

Nice @Erin Jamison .

If anyone is interested in a free template review after adding tasklist automators, simply send an email to us:

  • Email support@karbonhq.com 
  • Subject line = Requesting a free work template review
  • Email body - Dear Karbon Support, we would like to have a free work template review for the following work template:
Userlevel 7
Badge +10

This is such a powerful feature.  It offers such clarity when a work items move between team members, ownership and status of the work can change and the work does not get lost.  

I would like each person who worked on that file to get credit for completing their part on time - I will be adding that to the feature request!

Userlevel 5
Badge +9

Automators and statuses are so incredibly helpful to see work moving in the firm. A team or individual can see just how their work is progressing, capacity issues etc. 

I wish there was a way to lock statuses in settings so team members can’t add/change them without going through proper internal channels. Process development and standardization is key for clear reporting.

I was also asked this week an interesting question. “How do you know by looking at the status of work on Kanban/list view, where the hold up is if you have multiple people on one work item.” There really isn’t a way with out looking directly at the work item unless an automator is driving that info and people are checking off tasks as they should. 

I realized, particularly in a firm our size, education and standardization in what the statuses really mean are clear to all. For example, we have an in progress status called “bookkeeping”. This was created before my tour with the firm so my interpretation of what it stands for is different than other team members. Should be clear and on the surface it is, but not everyone’s perspective is the same.

Userlevel 2
Badge +2

Hi all

Currently setting up Karbon to go live in the next few weeks!

Could someone please explain to me, as the ‘tasks’ change hands, do I want the work asignee to change hands? What is best practice here?



Userlevel 3
Badge +2

Hi all

Currently setting up Karbon to go live in the next few weeks!

Could someone please explain to me, as the ‘tasks’ change hands, do I want the work asignee to change hands? What is best practice here?



New to Karbon and I have the same question as Emily. What are the pros/cons of re-assigning the work item...vs just assigning the tasks?

Userlevel 5
Badge +6

Emily and Smitty,

You can go either way, and it depends on your preference. 

If you perform the work much like a relay race, best to have an automator that assigns the work to the appropriate person.  The advantage of this is that it will notify the new Work assignee in their Triage. 

Otherwise, if you prefer to have the work owned by a particular person (project management style), you can have an automator that just flips the status of the tasks to a status like “Ready to Start.”  If your team is used to reviewing Work by Status in their Work/Kanban view, and knows it’s their turn once a Work has changed status, then this could work as well. Using an @ mention is also a great tip in flagging the person that needs to get their tasks done.


Userlevel 4
Badge +5

Erin any chance of a Google Drive DMS beta? I really need this functionality.

Userlevel 2

Any Chance of having a “Completed” work automator trigger a different work task to begin?  There are separate work items (like sales tax) that are the work/job of a tax manager that requires bookkeeping to have completed reconciliations.  It would be nice if month end task being “completed” would trigger the “Sales Tax” work item to be Ready to Start for the tax manager & not to have to add an additional section to the month end work when this task is not repeated monthly.

Userlevel 7
Badge +12

Hi @Kiley Danker - there’s an existing feature request for this!

If you haven’t already, add your vote, but it would also be helpful to add your comments there so Karbon have examples of use cases from clients.