10 QuickBooks Add-ons to Save Time and Money
QuickBooks is a powerful small-business accounting package, but it doesn't always do everything a business needs--or do it well. To the rescue: Third-party developers--a whole slew of them--have created Web services that integrate with QuickBooks to address specific problems. The 10 add-ons here can help small businesses with everything from fine-tuning strategy and automating aspects of inventory management to setting up a store in Facebook, lowering shipping costs, and more. All are either free or reasonably priced; you can get them and many more add-ons through the Intuit App Center. Many are Flash-based. These tools work with either the QuickBooks desktop software or the online version or, in some cases, both.
Fine-Tune Your Business Strategy
The Corelytics Financial Dashboard, a subscription-based Web service from CoreConnex, provides insight into your business by analyzing the data it draws from your QuickBooks for Windows and presenting the results in easy-to-understand charts and graphs. In addition to tracking performance across multiple business lines, Corelytics shows you how your business stacks up against others in your industry, and it generates forecasts. This add-on won first prize from a panel of venture capitalists who judged an Intuit competition earlier in August.
Run a Postcard Marketing Campaign
Email marketing doesn't always cut it; sometimes snail mail is better at drumming up business. Postcard Services caters to small businesses that want to reach customers by mail without spending a fortune on agencies or graphics pros. For as little as $23 for 100 postcards, it helps you create a card using one of dozens of industry-specific templates, then takes care of printing and mailing your creation to addresses imported from your QuickBooks file. The service also provides tools to help you assess how successful your campaign has been, using downloaded QuickBooks data.
Ship Anything, for Less
Businesses have lots of shipping options, but sifting through them can be time-consuming. BeneShip's AgileShip does the work for you. Drawing order data from QuickBooks, AgileShip can compare rates for U.S. mail, parcel, and freight services (including insurance), and then set up the shipment--validating address information and generating necessary documents--and record the costs back into QuickBooks. AgileShip pays the shipping services for you, and presents you with one consolidated bill. Because it pays up front and processes so many shipments, the service gets volume discounts from shippers, which it says it passes along to customers so that even after AgileShip takes its small cut, you stand to save money.
Check for Fraud and Errors
Small businesses lose millions of dollars to fraud each year, some of which is accomplished by bookkeepers. The AuditMyBooks Analyzer looks through your QuickBooks (Windows or online) data for suspicious or anomalous entries, helping to keep your staff (or coworkers) honest--or finding honest errors. This Web service delivers its results in handsome, easy-to-understand reports. You can try out the service for free; upgrading to a subscription for periodic scans runs as little as $8 a month.
Help with Inventory Management
QuickBooks Online puts lots of business information and processes at your fingertips from a browser, but inventory features are not its forte. Saddle River Software's SOS Inventory integrates with QuickBooks Online to provide businesses with inventory management, sales order processing, and manufacturing support tools, all accessible from desktop or smartphone browsers. Advanced features include support for inventory in multiple locations and the ability to track items by serial number and cost history for specific items. After a 30-day free trial, subscriptions start at $20 per month for three users.
Set Up a Facebook Storefront
Turning Facebook into a sales channel doesn't get much easier than with Propelware's OneWay Commerce. In a matter of minutes, this service can work with your QuickBooks desktop or online data to set up a storefront on your Facebook fan page. You can try it out with a free version that supports up to nine products and sends 1.5 percent of receipts to Propelware, or move to a $19-a-month version (plus 1.5 percent of receipts) that supports up to 100 products.
Go Paper-Free With Your Bill-Pay Process
Manually recording your bills and payments into QuickBooks Online can be time-consuming. Bill.com for QuickBooks Online lets you receive e-bills (or store scanned paper bills) and pay vendors electronically from PCs and mobile devices, with transactions automatically entered into QuickBooks Online. The cost is a modest $10 a month plus 99 cents per payment (by either electronic check or PayPal); a new accounts receivable service costs another $5 a month. The company also offers a service for both sending and receiving payments that integrates with the desktop version of QuickBooks.
Get Help With QuickBooks Online Data Import
If you've ever tried to import an Excel or CSV data file into QuickBooks Online, chances are you've encountered all sorts of problems and maybe even given up. Baystate Consulting's Transaction Pro Importer is a Web service that addresses this headache for businesses that routinely have to get data from other applications into QuickBooks Online. It offers a nice field-mapping utility, and it lets you edit and validate data before importing, so you can deal with problems before they mess up your QuickBooks file. Subscription costs start at $20 a month for one user.
Manage Remote Workers
If your business involves sending employees off-site, Atduty Field Service can help with bookkeeping and management issues. Features of this Web service range from creating schedules and work orders, generating invoices and accepting payments in the field, and tracking employees (via a time card) and resources. You can share data using Google Docs, or sync as much or as little of it as you wish with your QuickBooks for Windows file (via the Intuit App Center) to avoid duplicate data entry. Atduty also has an Android app. Pricing starts at $39 a month for one user, with Web and mobile access.
Create a Customer Portal
You can't always provide instant customer support, but the OfficeAnt Customer Portal might offload some of that work. Using data downloaded from QuickBooks for Windows, OfficeAnt generates a secure portal where customers can review and track orders, pay bills (via credit cards or PayPal), submit password-protected support requests, and maybe even find solutions in a knowledge base, forum, FAQ, or live chat. You can pick and choose features, and design the portal yourself or use one of OfficeAnt's templates. A free version supports up to five users; paid versions start at $10 a month to support up to 50 customers.