Awesome QuickBooks Add-ons for 2007
Each year, I survey tens if not hundreds of products from independent developers who add value to the QuickBooks community by solving hard problems faced by QuickBooks users and consultants.
Before awarding the "awesome" label, I dig deep into each product asking all the hard questions I think consultants and business owners will eventually ask. I usually find that the developers of these products know much more about their target customer set than I do, so I try to first satisfy myself that they understand enough about how QuickBooks works and then I move to their solution and see if they've developed an easy-to-use, quality product that I would recommend to my clients and to other consultants who need confidence in the products they recommend.
I survey products in several vertical markets where QuickBooks may not have all the needed features, or where clients want customized solutions. Most of the winners are software, but several are hardware and software combinations.
Fishbowl Inventory - Comprehensive Inventory for Light Manufacturers,
Wholesalers and Distributors
Pricing: $9995 for 10 users
Who it's for: Fishbowl is targeted to companies whose inventory needs are not met by QuickBooks alone, including mid-range distributors, wholesalers and manufacturing firms.
This application is perhaps the most well-developed inventory solution on the market, far surpassing the features of QuickBooks inventory features and providing for the mid-range wholesaler, distributor, or even small manufacturing firm. Fishbowl provides a comprehensive inventory solution that integrates tightly with QuickBooks. It imports all existing customer, vendor, part and quantity information directly from QuickBooks or other database applications (Excel, Access, etc.), eliminating hours of manual entry. Fishbowl Inventory can support multiple locations and integrate those locations into a single QuickBooks company file.
BillQuick - Time and Billing Done Right
Pricing: $395 for 2 users (Basic), $795 for 5 users (Pro)
Who it's for: BillQuick is targeted to companies who track time and reimbursable expenses, and who bill for those costs.
Simply stated, the BillQuick Time and Billing software is the most comprehensive time and billing system on the market today. From appointment scheduling integrated with Outlook, to project management, time tracking, job costing, web based time entry, retainer tracking, electronic and paper-based invoicing, flexible reporting and analysis, and complete, smartly-designed integration with QuickBooks, this product is simply the best choice for professionals.
Acctivate! - Comprehensive Distribution and Wholesale Management Solutions
Pricing: $2995 for 3 users for base system. Add-on modules range from $795 to $895 per module.
Who it's for: Acctivate is targeted to wholesalers, distributors and light-assembly companies with large data sets of customers and inventory.
Acctivate provides comprehensive tools for managing inventory-intensive businesses who are happy with QuickBooks, but need better control of purchasing, selling, inventory control, and customer relationship management. This all-in-one system is great for wholesalers, distributors, and light-assembly companies, who handle large data sets with thousands of items in inventory, thousands of customers, and multiple locations. The product is very mature, owing to the company's 25 year history of working with customers to perfect their system. Based on Microsoft's SQL server, it is very scalable and flexible for the growing company. The product integrates extremely well with QuickBooks and completely takes over the inventory management, purchasing, sales, invoicing and vendor bills. It uses QuickBooks for all of the general ledger, payroll, bill paying, and banking functions. Acctivate provides shopping cart integration, EDI (electronic data interchange between trading partners), CRM, location management, serialized inventory, lot numbering, shipping modules that interface to UPS, Fedex, etc., scheduling, service billing, and credit card integration with the QuickBooks Merchant Account Solutions.
Legrand - CRM for Small Businesses
Pricing: $350 per user, $1650 for 5 users, $3000 for 10 user license
Who it's for: Legrand CRM is targeted to small to mid-sized business that need a better solution for tracking their customer relationships.
No matter what business you're in, most likely you and your office colleagues are constantly in touch with prospects, customers, vendors, and partners. And if you're smart, you keep a database of some type in which you track all of your contacts. The problem is - with most small businesses anyway - it stops right there. Just a database of contacts (address, phone, email, etc.) stored in MS Outlook or something similar. And usually, each employee keeps their own contact list, with no sharing of data between employee's contact manager databases. So a common question any employee might have is "when was the last time anyone in our company dealt with this customer, and what was it about"? Of course, that's hard to answer because each employee has their own notes in their own database.
In addition to these basic contact questions, the sales force needs access to historic sales data and other financial information (balance owed, etc.) which is usually only available in the accounting system. For example, maybe you want to do a mailing to all customers who have not purchased in the last 90 days, or perhaps you want to create a list of names and phone numbers for everyone who is more than 30 days past due on their account.
The technology solution to tracking all this information, centralizing it, and controlling access so that sensitive data is not put at risk, is referred to as a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. With CRMs, you have a complete, corporate-wide solution for tracking customer (and vendor, partner, or whatever) information in a centralized, secure, and controlled way.
For the most part, CRM software companies target their solutions at the fortune 500 companies since the needs in those companies are so well understood. However, even very small businesses can benefit greatly by implementing CRM systems.
Legrand CRM integrates with QuickBooks (QuickBooks Pro, Premier or Enterprise Edition - 2003 or higher) using the Legrand Accounting Link. This link manages a bi-directional transfer of information between the databases, eliminating double-entry, ensuring the consistency of contact information, and providing live access to sales histories. Most importantly, this occurs without providing non-authorized users direct access to sensitive accounting information.
GiftWorks - Non-Profit Donor Management Software
Pricing: $299 per user
Who it's for: Giftworks is target to small to mid-sized not-for-profit organizations who deal with donors, volunteers, and fundraising.
GiftWorks by Mission Research is one of the most well-designed applications I've seen in a long time. This product does a great job of providing for virtually all of the donor-tracking features demanded by non-profit organizations. GiftWorks manages donors, fundraising efforts, and volunteers through a simple, well-planned user interface. GiftWorks provides extensive data management capabilities for small to medium sized nonprofit organizations. The software does a great job of meeting the needs of administrators, board members, donors, and government agencies by providing detailed tracking and reporting of nearly all financial activities of the typical not-for-profit organization. The unique "SmartLists" feature of GiftWorks allows customers to create lists of donors and donations based on sets of data criteria that the user defines. This feature makes it easy to create quick, automatically-updating mailing lists and custom reports. In the current version of GiftWorks, the QuickBooks integration uses journal entries only, but provides for complete tracking of all general ledger activity. Future versions will reportedly add more detailed integration with QuickBooks.
DepositNow! - Automating Check Deposits - Electronically
Pricing: $225 for hardware, plus monthly service fees depending on volume
Who it's for: DepositNow! is targeted to companies who accept checks and want to streamline the process of recording and depositing the checks.
DepositNow automates the process of depositing checks from your customers. Using the Check 21 standard, DepositNow allows you to scan in customer checks and electronically deposit the funds instantly, without going to the bank. In addition, DepositNow automates the bookkeeping entries in the accounting software. DepositNow launches from within QuickBooks, automatically recognizes the customer and amount on the check, and applies the payment to the customer's open invoice. In addition, it stores an archive of the scanned image of the check at BankServ's data center, allowing you to locate images of any check you've deposited within the previous 120 days. Upon request, you can have any check image pulled from the previous two years. You will save the checks for a couple weeks or until you receive the bank statement (to guard against technical problems), but after that you just shred the checks that have been deposited.
ProfitCents - Business Analysis Tools
Pricing: Individual and organizational pricing available directly from vendor
Who it's for: ProfitCenters is a terrific solution for accountants or business owners who need automated business analysis tools.
This web-based tool converts financial statements into plain language reports that include graphical analysis, trend and ratio analysis, and industry comparisons. It's a full-featured analysis suite that includes analyzers for individuals, businesses, and nonprofits. It provides projection and forecasting, valuation, benchmarking, and analytical procedure documentation.
Adagio FX - Professional Financial Statements and Data Analysis tools
Softrak Systems Inc
Pricing: $199 for standard edition. $475 for pro edition.
Who it's for: Adagio FX is targeted to accountants who need to present professional financial statements.
Adagio FX is a financial statement presentation tool that integrates directly with QuickBooks. Flexible tools allow you to create presentable financial statements and reports from QuickBooks data. This product is aimed at accountants and controllers who need professional, publishable financial statements as well as detailed analysis reports based on QuickBooks data. Also supports ACCPAC and Simply Accounting.
PayCycle - Online Payroll Service
Pricing: $25 - $42/month direct to end users, Accountant's pay $14.99 per client.
Who it's for: PayCyle is targeted to accountants who need a back-office solution for their payroll services, and to business owners who want a powerful, low-cost online payroll solution.
If you've been thinking about adding client payroll services to your firm, I recommend taking a close look at PayCycle. The impressive online payroll solution includes everything you need to automatically manage client payroll, from paychecks to W-2s, for an all-inclusive price of $14.99 per client per month. It integrates with QuickBooks and QuickBooks Online Edition, so you don't have to enter data twice.
PayCycle's co-founders Rene Lacerte and Martin Gates, built QuickBooks Payroll functionality, before leaving to start PayCycle in 1999. Since then, the company has added over 20,000 customers, and is well-known in the industry for making client payroll easy and profitable for accounting professionals.
AvaTax Connect - Web based Sales Tax Solution Linked to QuickBooks
Pricing: $10-$500 per month based on transaction volume, $50-$2000 activation fee
Who it's for: AvaTax Connect is targeted to mid-sized businesses who have complicated sales tax situations.
AvaTax Connect is a hosted Web service that works behind the scenes of QuickBooks to validate customer addresses, provide a correct sales tax calculation for each transaction, automatically generate sales tax returns, and provide detailed sales tax reports. For businesses selling into multiple jurisdictions, this product provides enterprise-level sales tax automation using TaxWare sales tax data services.
CNG-Books and CNG-SAFE - Automated Electronic Document Management
Cabinet NG, Inc.
Pricing: $995 per user
Who it's for: Cabinet NG's products are targeted to small to mid-sized businesses who are considering moving to a paperless office, and who want ready-access to onscreen images of source documents.
Cabinet NG's core product is an electronic document management solution called Cabinet NG Shared Access Filing Environment (CNG-SAFE). CNG-SAFE is designed for businesses needing to manage documents more efficiently and securely. The QuickBooks add-on is called CNG-Books. CNG-Books allows users to scan and file images as it creates a QuickBooks transaction (i.e., Bills and Payments) in a single process. If the document is already in an electronic format, scanning is not required and the document will be filed in its native format. CNG-Books is the perfect paperless document management solution for your larger clients, as well as for accounting firms who provide outsourced accounting services. This product streamlines QuickBooks data entry and document filing by removing the paper and improving the speed and efficiency of the data entry process.
CNG-Books stores electronic versions of vendor bills, customer payments, and credit card receipts in a wide variety of formats including PDF, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, text, and several scanned image formats. It simplifies data entry by displaying the electronic document and allowing the user to enter data directly into QuickBooks using simplified data entry screens. CNG-Books also allows you to link electronic documents to existing transactions and vendor or customer records. This allows instant access to supporting documents directly from within QuickBooks.
This product is especially suited for clients who want to improve the efficiency of data entry in high-volume transaction environments.
SourceLink - Electronic Documents Attached to QuickBooks Forms
Pricing: $189 single user, $589 for 5 users, $989 for 10 users
Who it's for: SourceLink is targeted to small companies that want a low-cost paperless solution and who want access to electronic documents from within QuickBooks.
SourceLink is best suited for the smaller business whose needs are focused on storing electronic documents linked to QuickBooks transactions, and who don't have other need for data retrieval, data entry, or storage and retrieval of documents outside of the QuickBooks system.
SourceLink is a cost-effective electronic document management solution, integrated with QuickBooks. SourceLink allows users to link electronic files to their QuickBooks records from within the QuickBooks application itself. SourceLink lets users instantly store and retrieve financial records - bills, invoices, customer agreements, etc. - directly from QuickBooks. SourceLink also lets users attach electronic "sticky notes" directly to 25 different record types in QuickBooks.
Count Me In - Timecard Monitor
Count Me In, LLC
Who it's for: The Timecard Monitor is targeted to companies who have relatively large numbers of hourly workers, and how use timecards to track time and attendance. Those companies who concerned about the accuracy of their timecard system should consider Count Me In's Timecard Monitor.
Count Me In has developed some very innovative technology called Timecard Monitor. This hardware/software solution uses "biometric" timecard replacement technology to revolutionize the world of timeclocks. It includes a fingerprint reader and keypad that employees use to report in and out of their work shifts. Count Me In has several thousand happy customers who use this hardware and software combination to track employee time accurately. The integration with QuickBooks allows the payroll to be based on accurate time records without requiring extra data entry from a payroll clerk or the employees. What's more, this system virtually eliminates all problems surrounding timecard accuracy, "buddy punching" (when a friend punches another friend's timecard), and addition errors on timesheets.
About QuickBooks Add-ons
In 2003, Intuit released its Application Programming Interface (API), provided free to developers in a Software Developer Kit (SDK). This SDK opens up the 3 plus million user base to software developers who add value to QuickBooks by creating add-on products for QuickBooks. Even a casual programmer using Microsoft Office and Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) can develop an application to read from and write to a QuickBooks data file.
Intuit themselves are using the SDK to write add-on applications that are bundled with QuickBooks. For example, the Financial Statement Designer (included with QuickBooks Premier: Accountant Edition) uses the SDK to allow you to create GAAP formatted financial statements.
To search for QuickBooks add-ons, visit the Intuit marketplace site (http://marketplace.intuit.com) or Mike Block's independent site located at www.quickbooks-add-ons.com.
For more information about developing add-ons for QuickBooks visit http://developer.intuit.com.
Note: The Sleeter Group does not accept any compensation in exchange for considering or including a product in our list of Awesome Add-ons.