Integrating QuickBooks With Other Systems

hand-over-keyboard-1377963-mIn business, you need to have certain systems in place for smooth functioning of the day to day activities and QuickBooks can be a very powerful tool for your business. In this episode of the Mission Business Podcast, Bernard Roesch shares insights on how you can integrate different third party tools and systems into QuickBooks to make it even more powerful.

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Full Transcript of Audio Below

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QuickBooks can be a really powerful tool for your business. What we want to talk about today with Bernard, is how you can make it an even more powerful tool by integrating it with some of your other systems. For example; if you already have some systems in place for different pieces of your business but you want to get that data into QuickBooks, you’re going to learn today from Bernard how you can integrate different third-party systems into QuickBooks to make it even more powerful.

Need To Integrate QuickBooks With Third Party Systems

Interviewer: So Bernard, before we get into some specifics, why don’t you explain to the listener why it’s helpful and why it would be a benefit to them to invest the time and potentially financial resources into integrating other systems into their QuickBooks data.

Bernard: As a business owner, you want to have your business process as efficient as you can.

  • Typically, if you have two systems, you have potential for duplication or
  • You have data in one system and then you have to re-enter it in another system, which creates additional labor costs.
  • Also, it’s not only the cost of the labor and re-entry, there’s also potential for errors, things could be forgotten or entered in the wrong way or a different format.

When you’re having two systems, either because you need a third-party system or because you already have a third-party system, you want to think very hard in terms of what is the best process to transfer information from system one to system two.

It would be easiest if you would have like;

  • A form or template to organize the data so that you can actually capture the right data in the right format so that it’s really easy to re-enter into QuickBooks or your accounting system.
  • You could also have more of a programming aspect, where there is a file export and import.
  • Or you could have a direct programmatic connection from your third-party system into QuickBooks.

Choosing The Right CRM Software To Work With QuickBooks

Interviewer: Let’s start with a couple specific examples of how the listener might want to integrate some sort of third-party system into QuickBooks and why don’t we start with the CRM system.

How could the listener that already uses a third-party CRM system get some of the data from QuickBooks into the actual CRM system?  For example, open invoices that are on the customer’s record within QuickBooks. How could some of that type of data be shown within the CRM system?

Bernard: Well, the CRM system is usually going to be a third-party application or commercial application and most CRM systems will support QuickBooks in some way.

  • It’s really a matter of picking the right CRM software,
  • Making sure it supports QuickBooks and
  • Working with your vendor to automate the pieces that will go into QuickBooks.

If there is no automation or integration provided by the vendor, which I don’t recommend, then you cannot change your CRM. If your CRM is some system that is a Legacy system and you don’t have control over it, then you want to set up some method to capture the data in an efficient way; either a report or maybe an exported file and find the best way to enter that into QuickBooks, either manually from a form or by importing a file.

CRM Systems That Integrate Really Easily Into QuickBooks

Interviewer: Are there any specific CRM systems that you know integrate really easily into QuickBooks that, if someone was choosing a CRM system right now and this was important to them, which is the one that you think would integrate the best with QuickBooks?

Bernard: There’s two candidates.

  • One is very well known, Sales Force. It’s widely used by many companies and therefore, from a CRM standpoint, it’s a big seller.  That company offers a plug-in module that will transfer the data over to QuickBooks in some automated way.  That would be one choice.
  • There’s also a product in CRM Method that’s even better integrated with QuickBooks.  It also enables itself to customize some of the CRM screens and title integration with QuickBooks.

Interviewer: Great, I think that will be really helpful and for the listeners, we’ll be integrating some of these notes and links into the show notes at missionbusinesspodcast.com.

Using QuickBooks For A Manufacturing Company

Interviewer: Barnard, I want to ask you another example of something like an inventory tracking system for a manufacturing company that holds inventory and has been in business for years. They may be on some sort of other inventory system and now they want to get some of that data into QuickBooks.

What are some of the options that the listener in that situation would have if they do not want to use QuickBooks specifically for the inventory tracking, but they want to get some of that data into QuickBooks or at least make it work with each other?  What are some of the options for a listener in that situation?

Bernard: If you’re going to keep track of inventory, you have to make a decision as to whether you’re going to have the inventory in QuickBooks or in a third-party application, third-party software.

  • The worst thing you can do is to try to have two applications, both of them doing inventory, and try to keep the two inventory systems in sync.

I would say normally you would try as much as possible to do your inventory management in QuickBooks, but;

  • If you find you’re a manufacturing firm and you have a complicated working process or jobs, bills, like a machine shop, and
  • QuickBooks cannot do the work that you want it to do,
  • Then you want to ideally find manufacturing software that will do what you need it to do or maybe you already have it and you have some sort of a Legacy system and you want to have the output inventory values and costs flow into your QuickBooks
  • So that you would not actually keep track of the inventory on-hand quantities in QuickBooks,
  • But you will just keep track of the total dollar amount in QuickBooks.

It depends on what system you have.

  • If you are getting a commercial application that is a recent, you will most likely be set up to be integrated with QuickBooks and you will work with your vendor.
  • If you have a homegrown application, then you have to work with QuickBooks consultants or other individuals who know QuickBooks very well to figure out how you can flow the data efficiently from your Legacy system into QuickBooks.

QuickBooks Allows Integration From ALL Third Party Systems

Interviewer: On the topic of Legacy systems, I want to ask a question that maybe a couple listeners are thinking.  That question is, if they have been on some sort of system that’s extremely old, but they’re not able to move away from it, do you still feel that in most situations, there’s always a solution to be able to somehow get that data to interact with QuickBooks?

  • Is it possible to basically integrate any sort of system into QuickBooks, depending on the level of integration you wanted to do?
  • Have you ever found a situation where it’s impossible to integrate some other system with QuickBooks in some way to get the data in?

Bernard: It is whatever it is, and I think people will have to make things work.  Generally speaking, you can always make things in a better way.  In other words, whenever we go and we look at what clients’ are doing, some Legacy systems lend themselves to even exporting the data for instance, or that kind of stuff.  It’s tough.  You can’t export it.  How could you import it into QuickBooks?  But, you can, generally speaking,

  • Work with the owners of that Legacy system and figure out how can you either print the data or produce custom forms or something so that it would be easy or more easily re-entered or imported into QuickBooks?

Excel is a great common denominator for many Legacy systems.

  • Most Legacy systems will let you export the data in some Excel form i.e. Microsoft Excel.
  • From that, you can work with a consultant so that that Excel format, Excel data, could be reformatted in a way that can be re-imported into QuickBooks.

So yes, there is a way and usually it’s a way to do things better.  Sometimes it’s just not pretty, because you don’t have control, necessarily, over the Legacy system that was developed.

Interviewer: Well, that’s definitely good to hear that there’s always some way to work it out, even if it’s going to be a little bit complicated to do.

Summary And Next Actions

Interviewer: I think to summarize for the listeners, the first thing that you want to make sure of, is to understand that;

  • Some tools integrate easier with QuickBooks than other tools. If you’re in the process of choosing a system, such as a new CRM system, that may be something to explore; how well does this integrate with QuickBooks so that that can be a factor in your decision.
  • The second thing to consider that Bernard brought up, is when you’re choosing which system is going to do inventory, for example, you want to make sure that you have one system be responsible for the inventory and not try to make both systems have the inventory responsibility.  You want to make sure that one tool is really responsible for that.
  • The third thing to understand, which is the breath of fresh air, is that there’s always a way to make any sort of system actually work, even if that means getting data out of the other system, putting it into Excel, massaging a lot of that data, and then bringing it back into QuickBooks.

If you do have a complicated system or you’re interested in learning how you can integrate some of your systems with QuickBooks, feel free to reach out to Bernard at missionbusinesspodcast.com.  There’s a lot of resources there, in addition to what we’ve talked about today, and Barnard would be happy to discuss how to integrate some third party systems within your QuickBooks system.

Thank you for your time today, Bernard.

Bernard: Thank you Jon.

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Bernard Roesch About Bernard Roesch

Bernard Roesch is co-founder and Managing Partner of Mission Consulting. Bernard’s background in the early years of his career was spent in the manufacturing sector, making his QuickBooks perspective a unique one – he understands the intricacies of a complex environment and then applies his strategic skills accordingly.