Cost effective CRM integration with QuickBooks

CRM Software that Integrates with QuickBooks Online

By Jon Arancio, Vice President

Cost effective CRM integration with QuickBooks

A small business is able to implement CRM software that integrates with QuickBooks using technologies that are affordable, accessible to users, and easy to maintain. This blog will provide examples of out-of-the-box solutions as well as more customized approaches to address a variety of needs.

A customer relationship management (CRM) application is designed to give business people structure in their sales efforts. A CRM platform will help drive prospecting operations, feed leads into the sales funnel, and help manage the pipeline. Ultimately, we hope to drive more business at a faster pace by improving the sales process through the CRM system. Once the business is concluded with a client, finance and accounting systems are used to process orders, invoice clients, and chase after payments. The accounting system is used to more efficiently collect the rewards of the sales effort and to do so with less manual labor. Good accounting practices can help minimize errors and improve collection rates.

Features of a CRM and an Accounting System
Features of a CRM and an Accounting System

If your small business is using an accounting package, there is a high likelihood that the accounting software is QuickBooks. This is a very popular application that is installed on many computers (QuickBooks Desktop) and is available as a hosted application in the cloud (QuickBooks Online). This software is easy to use, relatively low cost, and is a standard for entry-level accounting software.

There is overlap between the sales effort and the accounting work, even if the organization maintains separate systems and teams to manage each. While the CRM may be used to manage opportunity records, the accounting system is often a more logical place to maintain a product catalog. Often, the sales team is interested in what is happening in the accounting records, because this directly impacts their ability to do more business with existing clients. Are the clients paid up or is there a balance? Is there anything overdue?

Having some level of shared information can be very useful, like a QuickBooks CRM integration, because it is not always practical to have the salespeople log into the accounting software. One approach is to have an all-in-one solution that handles CRM, accounting, orders/quoting and even marketing. While systems like NetSuite can provide many of these functions, the cost of deployment and the ongoing fees are more than many businesses can justify.

Furthermore, the actual functionality in these combined systems is often strong around the accounting parts and less strong in other areas. Many businesses will separate systems with salespeople using CRM and billing staff using accounting. A business might take this approach to separate responsibilities, to lower the cost of the application subscription fees, or to keep most users out of sensitive financial records. Separate systems are often easier to configure and have a significantly lower cost to implement.

Benefits of using CRM Integration with QuickBooks

When we integrate QuickBooks with other applications, we want to make the sum of the parts greater as a combined solution.  We want to do this affordably so our small business can budget the implementation and support it in the long run. What other systems are appropriate to integrate with QuickBooks, and what exactly do we gain by making these connections?

QuickBooks can be linked with many different business tools - CRM, web stores, inventory, or order management systems, to name a few. CRM is a rather broad category of technology and will be the focus of this discussion. If a business is using QuickBooks, it will probably want a powerful CRM that is also easy to set up and use is fast, and has a low total cost of ownership. Our company has extensive experience helping firms implement Maximizer CRM and integrate this with QuickBooks. There are many options but the most common is a "view-only" integration with QuickBooks Online. We can demonstrate available options with this setup.

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Benefits of QuickBooks CRM integration:

  • View ledger information in CRM - The connector performs a data sync that updates QuickBooks specific fields in Maximizer on a schedule.  This data is available to CRM users, even without a license to QuickBooks. The data is read-only and can be further secured under CRM access groups.
  • Build CRM dashboards & reports based on ledger data - Since the data ledger data is being passed into the CRM, all native search, dashboard, and reporting functionality is available within Maximizer.
  • View transaction history with CRM - In addition to the data sync, having an integration with Quickbook allows users to see a separate tab that displays the live transactions history within Maximizer.
  • View line item details of invoices in CRM - Users can expand QuickBooks data to see line item details without having to open QBO separately.
  • View balance information on transactions within CRM - the integration with QuickBooks allows users to see what has been paid fully or partially and what balance remains due.

These specific benefits are available with low-cost software that helps link QuickBooks to Maximizer. The functionality can be customized if business needs dictate something specific. There is quite a range of functionality available and it pays to understand your requirements well before customizing for your business processes. The big picture is that we want to create a CRM QuickBooks integration to have enough accounting access to save time and money. Our goal is to do it securely and at a competitive cost.

Benefits of QuickBooks-CRM integration
Benefits of QuickBooks-CRM integration

Choosing a CRM to run with QuickBooks Online

There are a wide range of options for CRM systems. To find the right CRM on the market, you have to look at your business needs. It should meet your business requirements and budget while providing enough extensibility with other applications to let you connect and operate as one.

We have a long history of implementing Maximizer CRM. This is a sales-oriented CRM platform that like QuickBooks is easy to configure and priced for SMBs. In order to illustrate how this comes together and explain the setup, we will use an example of a client with Maximizer and QuickBooks Online.

Maximizer CRM offers immediate access to all prospects' and clients' information. There are readily accessible history records for calls, meetings, and messaging, and a proactive follow-up management system. When leads are qualified, they are placed in the pipeline for opportunity management and reporting.

Client billing records reside in QuickBooks and all invoicing, collection, and tax reporting will flow from this data. Payment receipts, balance due, and all itemization on bills will be logged in QuickBooks. Together the integration creates an outstanding sales CRM with access to key elements of the accounting software. The CRM focuses on the sales effort and we only elevate client records into QuickBooks when they purchase.

What to consider when choosing a CRM
What to consider when choosing a CRM

How to Set Up QuickBooks CRM Integration

When we look at deploying a Maximizer CRM and QuickBooks, we first have to consider who in our organization needs to use each system. We’ll assume for our example the following:

  • 5 sales users in Maximizer
  • 2 users in QuickBooks
  • 1 manager in both systems

Therefore, we will need six licenses of Maximizer and 3 users of QuickBooks Online. The Maximizer licenses cost between $65.00 and $79.00 per user/mo. and the QuickBooks licenses cost between $30.00 and $45.00 per user/mo.

There are variations in what each edition offers but the above will give you a general idea of the annual subscription costs.  There is a simple connector to link Maximizer with QuickBooks in a read-only format that is easy to set up and costs between $5.00 and $10.00 per user/mo.

Maximizer Details tab with QuickBooks Integration view
Maximizer Details tab with QuickBooks Integration view

Each of these systems will require a number of hours of setup to deploy. A budget estimate of $2,000.00 to $4,000.00 will be accurate for many organizations who want to outsource this effort. Here is a picture of what a project might look like.

  • Discovery: Review the out-of-the-box functionality, find the best solution, and confirm that what you are buying will do what you require.
  • Configuration and Setup: Set up the custom views and metrics, deploy the integration between the CRM solution and accounting, and test processes.
  • Data Migration: If lists are available, import them. Generally, contact data and sometimes history are imported into CRM applications. Contact data can be imported into QuickBooks but transactions are more difficult. The best time to migrate is at the start of a fiscal year.
  • Training: Each set of staff will be giving instructions for the application that relates to their role, including the link between the systems.

In some cases, the simple read-only view may not offer everything your organization requires. You can customize the integration to handle the transactions according to your specific processes.

The investment for a project that includes read access to the QuickBooks data in the CRM will be the lowest cost and quickest to set up.  For projects that require some write-access to QuickBooks or demand specific design changes, the deployment will take a few more days, thus increasing costs moderately, while delivering greater functionality.  It may appeal to some clients to start with the basics and make custom changes to it after gaining experience working in it.

CRM-Quickbooks Integration Deployment
CRM-Quickbooks Integration Deployment

Maximizer - Best CRM for QuickBooks Integration

The idea of taking off-the-shelf systems and combining them to greater effect is appealing for a number of reasons. We can immediately improve how the different departments work together and communicate, and reduce redundant messaging. The staff themselves are able to operate the system(s)

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Jon Arancio, Vice President

Jon Arancio, Vice President of Wintec Group Inc., is a leading expert in CRM Application Deployment, renowned for his proficiency as a top Maximizer Business Partner since 1996.

Armed with a B.S. in Engineering Chemistry and Biochemistry from Stony Brook University, Jon's not just about technology; he's all about building lasting client relationships and turning objectives into practical CRM processes.

Outside of his professional achievements, Jon enjoys running and swimming outdoors. With a reputation for integrity and diligence, Jon is a seasoned professional and a trusted advisor in the realm of CRM, earning loyalty and respect from his clients.


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