It’s that time of year yet again. We got the usual packet of paper forms from Guilford Public Schools with a bunch of stuff to fill out. Emergency Contact, Permission forms etc. etc. I have to write my kid’s name, parent name, date, signature again and again. The Emergency Contact form even has a box that says “check if there are changes” but even if there aren’t any, you have to write it all out again. One of our friends has 4 kids in the school system. It’s silly and aggravating and a waste of time.
One of the most incongruous is the Permission form for Google Apps for Education. Here we are promoting these cool, digital apps for our kids to use yet we have to resort to paper for the permission signature, trust that the kids will hand them in, and store them somewhere. So, I decided to see how quickly I could make the whole thing electronic.
Here’s the form itself or click the image. It took about 30 min to create – mostly in copying/pasting and formatting the text. (I used a different one from the web rather than our Guilford schools form since ours is physical paper and I couldn’t even copy/paste.)
You can open it on your computer, tablet or smart phone.
There are links to the appropriate Federal laws in case you want to read more.
Sign electronically and Submit.
As a parent, it’s nice to get a copy by email for my records.
Why file paper? After all you’re using Google Apps. When you submit, the PDF will be uploaded to Google Drive, where it’s safely stored, backed up, and accessible anytime.
It was trivial to do with frevvo and the whole thing is incredibly affordable – definitely costs far less than the price of paper, ink, filing and mailing. You don’t have to worry about kids not bringing the forms in or storing it somewhere. With frevvo, you can also combine multiple permission forms into a sequence so duplicate information (student name, parent name etc.) only has to be filled in once. More on that another time.
Google Forms is a great free option for the simplest forms. But, business forms very quickly go beyond the basics and frevvo is a powerful and affordable option. So, why should you pay for forms? Here are a few real-world reasons. Click this link if you prefer to watch a 5m video.
Confirmation email: You’ve put up an event registration form and you’re collecting responses in a Google Spreadsheet. Obviously, you want to send a confirmation email. With Google forms, get ready to write code. With frevvo, it’s a few clicks in a wizard.
Signatures: It’s one of the most common things you might do. From Emergency Contact forms for students to Purchase Requisitions to Employee On-boarding to Patient Information, everyone needs to collect a signature. With frevvo, sign using your finger on a touchscreen device or a mouse on the desktop. No need for wasteful printing and scanning. Try an example now.
PDF Generation: Sometimes you just have to generate a specific PDF. Maybe a Government W-4 or I-9 for HR or a Permission form that needs to be filed away. Another thing that frevvo just does without a fuss. Try an example now.
Workflow: Forms rarely live by themselves. Most business forms have an associated workflow where person 1 fills out the forms and others comment, review, and sign them. frevvo comes with built-in routing, notifications, task lists, audit trails and more. Watch this 3m video to learn more.
Responsive, mobile forms: Need to support smart phones and tablets? Of course, you do. With frevvo, there’s nothing to do. Our forms and workflows just work automatically and naturally on all devices. Watch this 4 min video, check out these blog articles or try any of the examples in this article.
Attachments: Expense reports, purchase orders, student applications you name it – users need to attach supporting documents all the time. Just drag in an Upload control and it just works with frevvo. On a mobile device, users can just take a photo with the camera and attach it. Another thing you simply can’t do with Google Forms. Try an example now.
Save documents to Google Drive: Ok, your form or workflow is now generating some documents – a PDF or two, some attachments. What to do with them? Email, print and file them away? frevvo integrates with Google Drive so you can simply save your documents online so they’re easy to find, backed up and secure. Try an example here.
Dynamic pick lists from a Google Spreadsheet: Do you have dynamic forms? For example, the user picks a value from a pick list and the form needs to do something – maybe populate a few other fields from some back end. With frevvo, you can pull this dynamic information from a Google Spreadsheet no less. Try an example here. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. frevvo forms are incredibly dynamic and sophisticated – database, REST services, XML/XSD it’s all built-in.
Multiple languages: Unprecedented demographic shifts in the U.S. are creating a communications gap between organizations and their customers. frevvo can help you combat these language barriers. Provide access in multiple languages (frevvo works in all languages worldwide) so they can provide important information easily and accurately. When complete, the system can generate PDF confirmations in multiple languages. Try an example here: Spanish version and English version.
Calculations: frevvo forms can perform sophisticated calculations including using cloud services. Try this example that does automatic mileage calculations using the Google Distance Matrix API. Subtotals and totals, tax calculations etc. – it’s a normal requirement for business forms and trivial to do with frevvo.
Bonus Reason – LOOKS: Let’s face it. Good looks matter. The nicer your forms look and the better the user experience, the more likely it is that users will complete your forms and do so accurately. frevvo looks fantastic everywhere, strives for a people-first user experience, is easy to brand and customize and provides a world-class user experience.
There’s a lot more like an intuitive drag & drop Form Builder, Conditional Sections, Spaces (built-in portals), Geo-Location, sophisticated XML/XSD-based integration, powerful API for embedding, Database connectivity, LDAP support and on and on and on …
Like everyone else parents are busy people with too many things to think about. Filling out student forms by hand and signing them is just another thing to worry about.
Often a school will have a PDF form on its website – see the General Permission forms on this school’s website – that can be filled out online (fillable PDF). But, notice that the signature typically can’t be completed online and the PDF has to be printed, signed and sent back with the student or scanned and e-mailed to the school. Tedious, frustrating and wasteful.
Make life easier for these busy parents with frevvo. Try the General Permission form by clicking the images or here for the English version or here for the Spanish version. It can be integrated with your back end system or with Google Apps for Education to automatically pre-populate student information (less work for the parent, fewer mistakes). Sign electronically. The form automatically works on smart phones and tablets. It cannot be submitted with invalid or incomplete content.
After signing, click the View PDF links (English and Spanish) to see the exact original PDF generated from the form. See that the form can be filled in Spanish and still generate an English PDF and vice versa.
Enter your email address (we won’t store it or use it for any other purpose) and check your email. Does your organization use Google Apps? The documents can be automatically uploaded to a folder in Google Apps.
Simplify routine form filling for parents, save time and money for your school and get rid of one more annoying little detail. What’s not to like? Contact frevvo to learn more.
A workflow for mileage reimbursement is a routine business approval workflow used in many organizations. Unfortunately, it’s usually a PDF form (for example, see here and here). The person filling it out must calculate the miles by doing things like subtracting odometer readings, adding them up for the total mileage and figuring out the reimbursement amount.
What a complete waste of time!! With frevvo, everything is automated. Enter your origin and destination and the workflow will use the cloud-based Google Distance Matrix API to calculate the travel distance and enter it into the form. Of course, it’ll automatically do all the totaling, and use the latest mileage reimbursement rate to calculate the reimbursement amount.
Try it yourself by clicking the image or this link.
Are your teachers and staff burdened with unnecessary paperwork for even the most routine approvals like taking a day off or purchasing supplies? E-mailing PDF documents around for approvals is surprisingly time-consuming and, ultimately, expensive.
Click the image to try out this ROI Calculator to see how much just one of these paper-based approvals is costing you and how quickly you can start saving money each and every month.
Teachers want to just teach. They are hard-working, dedicated individuals capable of inspiring the kids they teach. Yet, they’re often burdened with unnecessary paperwork even for the most routine tasks like getting approval for taking a personal day off or purchasing supplies. It’s often a PDF form with complicated instructions (here and here for more examples) and the process is time-consuming, frustrating and expensive.
Automate these approvals with frevvo and you’ll save time and money, end up with happier teachers and staff and do all that at an amazingly affordable price. Watch the short (2.5 min) video below to see how.