2011 Awesome Add-Ons
At The Sleeter Group, as part of our ongoing efforts to help accountants and consultants provide technology recommendations to their clients, we continually study the marketplace of add-on software and services that enhance the systems and processes of small businesses. Most of the solutions we focus on are QuickBooks add-ons, but over the past couple years, we've seen more and more solutions that also work with a variety of accounting products such as Peachtree, Businessvision, MAS, and Microsoft Dynamics. It's truly amazing to see how the "ecosystem" of solutions has grown over the years and how several companies are thriving by helping small businesses improve their accounting systems.
For six years now, we've spotlighted several special products we call "Awesome Add-Ons."
We study products in several markets where the base financial accounting software (e.g., QuickBooks, Peachtree) may not offer all the needed features, or where clients need customized solutions. Most of the winners are software, but some also include a hardware component, and others are services.
This year's applicants include solutions for everything from paperless document management solutions, to enterprise-level financial analysis tools, employee Web portals, automated shipping systems, mobile inventory management, ecommerce, and application hosting services.
In order to qualify for an Awesome Add-On award, the product and/or service must be developed and sold by a solid company with a reputation for outstanding customer support, and the product must have the following attributes:
- Show superior design, implementation and features.
- Integrate with QuickBooks using best practices of the QuickBooks SDK or IPP programming guidelines, or work correctly with other financial accounting software solutions
- Use appropriate transaction types and field population for recording data into QuickBooks or other financial accounting software packages so as to preserve and/or enhance the standard reporting features
- Conform to good accounting principles and operating standards
Here is the list of “Awesome Add-Ons” for 2011, as awarded at The Sleeter Group's 2010 Accounting Solutions Conference, November 8, 2010 at Paris Las Vegas.
Pricing: Free for QuickBooks Payroll Subscribers (Basic, Enhanced, and Assisted)
Target Customers: QuickBooks Payroll Users
ViewMyPaycheck is an employee portal. It allows QuickBooks payroll subscribers to upload paycheck information to the cloud where employees can securely access pay stubs, vacation/sick time balances, and W-2 forms. Employees can view, print or download copies of their payroll information anytime, from anywhere. ViewMyPaycheck is fully integrated into QuickBooks Pro/Premier or Enterprise payroll module. Each payroll run prompts you to upload the data to ViewMyPaycheck so that employees can immediately access their paystubs. The product is very nicely implemented and it has a simple, logical interface. Best of all, it's FREE.
Business Intelligence Reporting
Pricing: $600/year/company file (sold through authorized partners)
Target Customers: Organizations that need robust financial planning and analysis tools, with enhanced reporting in a graphical environment to better communicate the business trends and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) across the enterprise
webKPI delivers actionable daily reports and alerts showing financial ratios, key performance indicators, and accounting metrics via a visual interface of your company's financial information taken directly from QuickBooks. These visual snapshots are provided through a secure web portal. The tool facilitates outsourced CFO services by providing the infrastructure needed to monitor cash flow, revenue, profitability, return on investment, and any other business drivers that can be extracted from financial accounting data. webKPI displays a variety of charts, graphs, and traditional reports required by clients to quickly leverage powerful analytical trends. In addition, webKPI prepares scheduled email alerts and reports delivered anywhere you go. Additional modules are available for comprehensive budgeting, comparative benchmarking by SIC Code, and business valuation.
Pricing: $225 QuickBooks Pro; $375 QuickBooks Premier; $615 QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions (Available through UPS CTP and FedEx Tech Awards)
Target Customers: Small businesses that use UPS Worldship and/or FedEx Shipping Manager to ship 20 or more packages per day
ShipGear by V-Technologies offers integration between accounting software (QuickBooks, Peachtree and others) and UPS WorldShip® and FedEx Ship Manager®. ShipGear's two-way synchronization provides a simple way to ship packages, update QuickBooks invoices to include freight charges, and eliminate double data entry in the two systems. As the package ships, ShipGear generates a personalized email notification. Also integrates with Peachtree, Sage MAS 90/200, Microsoft GP, Exact Macola, and eBay.
bMobile Route Manager
bMobile Route Software
Pricing: bMobile Sales from $299 per user; bMobile Route from $9,850 (final software price based on number of mobile users, number of routes, industry module, support services selected, optional modules, optional customization services selected)
Target Customers: Distributors of food, beverages, and other products
For businesses whose business happens in the field, bMobile is a great solution. Great for food and beverage distributors, bMobile can track inventory movement and provide critical business process management for distributing products to the field. If you deliver by truck, bMobile helps you plan and track everything from how you load the truck, to what route your drivers take to most efficiently deliver inventory, to even avoiding traffic along the way. With bMobile's hand-held device integration, drivers can enter sales data and customer information directly into QuickBooks from the field. Seamless integration with QuickBooks and other accounting systems including Peachtree, Sage MAS 90/200/500, Businessvision, Peachtree, DacEasy, and Cougar Mountain.
Pricing: Free plan for up to 100MB of storage. $19-$69 per month, depending on number of users and storage size - first month is free. Discounts for annual billing.
Target Customers: Accountants and businesses that need an online document management solution and a web portal for secure file sharing
When SmartVault launched in 2008, its flagship product was designed specifically for QuickBooks. However, with the enhanced document management and collaboration features released in SmartVault V3 (February 2010), any small business or accounting firm can now use SmartVault to store all of their documents, not just those associated with QuickBooks, and securely share files via the web portal. Although our rules state that a product cannot win our Awesome award multiple times, we feel SmartVault V3 is a completely different product and worthy of our recognition. SmartVault users can now create and organize multiple levels of folders for all of their documents, not just the files associated with QuickBooks. In addition to custom folders, SmartVault also introduced the SmartVault Drive, making it easier than ever to manage and access files and folders, by mapping a drive directly to SmartVault. Windows, Mac, Linux and even iPhone users can leverage the power of the SmartVault Drive for easy document storage and access. Combining the seamless integration of the SmartVault Toolbar for QuickBooks, the intuitive Web Portal and Web Drive for easy document sharing and collaboration and the electronic Inbox for quick scanning and processing of documents, SmartVault V3 enables accounting firms and businesses to go paperless with a single solution.
Intuit Statement Writer
Target Customers: Accountants who need to produce full Financial Statements from QuickBooks data
Intuit Statement Writer helps accounting professionals prepare complete, properly formatted financial statements and supporting documents from QuickBooks data. Intuit Statement Writer is an Add-On tool which brings QuickBooks financial data directly into Excel and Word, allowing for the easy creation of cover letters, supporting schedules, and more. Every period, the user simply has to change the dates, and click a button to refresh the numbers. The "live link" automatically brings the data from QuickBooks.
New Products to Watch
In addition to the above winners, there are three new products that we feel are worth mentioning, and we're keeping an eye on them to see how they mature in the marketplace.
eCommerceConnector (eCC) (Webgility LLC)
Pricing: $299 (single user, single store); Add-Ons for additional modules, stores, and users
Target Customers: Any QuickBooks or QuickBooks Point of Sale user selling online with a shopping cart like Amazon or eBay
eCommerceConnector (ECC) enables online retailers to integrate and automate their order processing, shipping and inventory management with QuickBooks financial accounting and QuickBooks Point of Sale data files. eCC works with 20+ shopping cart platforms including Magento, VirtueMart, X-cart, Amazon and eBay. It also integrates with UPS, FedEx and USPS for shipment processing.
Bill and Pay (SkyHill Software)
Pricing: $99 set-up fee; $16.95 per month; $.55 per invoice delivered (to participating payers); ACH - no additional cost, included in invoice fee
Target Customers: Any business that uses QuickBooks to invoice their customers
Bill & Pay is an end-to-end billing and payment solution that is fully integrated with QuickBooks. The power of Bill & Pay is the built-in option to receive payments deducted from a customer's checking account vs. paying the high fees associated with credit-card payments. Accepting credit cards is also an option. Bill & Pay allows businesses to send electronic invoices and receive online payments from customers and synchronizes all transactions with QuickBooks. Customers receive e-mail notifications and log into a secure Web site to view and pay invoices, as well as see payment history.
Analyzer AP (AuditMyBooks)
Pricing: After a trial period, $199 per business per year
Target Customers: Any business that uses QuickBooks
AuditMyBooks is a subscription software service that automatically analyzes accounting records to detect errors and possible fraud. This rules-based product allows users to set conditions for normal data use in the QuickBooks file. Then, after reviewing all of the accounting transactions, AuditMyBooks presents potential risks in a simple "management dashboard" for review by business owners or their trusted advisers. Detailed reports allow further investigation of high risk transactions that may indicate errors or fraud. Analyzer provides the information necessary to quickly identify suspect transactions and take corrective measures.