Streamlined accounting is an e-commerce holy grail — financial transactions, as well as contact and product information, that flows freely between your online store and bookkeeping application. If you rely on a fully integrated online application such as NetSuite, you already have this capability. But if you started with QuickBooks and later added sales capabilities through an e-commerce provider, you may feel that your online store and accounting application have as much in common as oil and water.
Early on, Peachtree provided its customers with built-in, online selling capabilities that it still offers today. Meanwhile, Intuit chose to rely on other companies to provide e-commerce services. And while QuickBooks provides some means to work with others, the e-commerce providers are mostly responsible for making these updates work.
|» Intuit Makes E-tail-to-QuickBooks Connection|
We chose three online storefronts to profile: ProStore, Volusion and Yahoo! to demonstrate three different approaches to integrating sales information into QuickBooks.
To start, what does integration between an accounting application and e-commerce store do for you? At the low end, with no integration at all, you have to physically record all sales that you make through an online store and manually enter them, one by one, into your accounting program.
Full integration, in theory, allows information to flow both ways and automatically update each application. Thus, when you fire-up your accounting program, you can see all of your online sales already entered and displayed, as well as credit card deposits and fees and adjusted inventory.
And vice versa, when you update prices or adjust physical inventory in your accounting program, these are reflected in your online catalog. It's a convenience that removes tedious data entry and the potential for errors from the process.
QuickBooks at Your Service
These days, Intuit recommends a select group of e-commerce providers through its QuickBooks Merchant Services program that includes: Go Daddy, Homestead, Network Solutions, ProStores, ValueWeb and Website Pros. These providers are well known market leaders and the level of integration varies with each provider.
"We give our customers the most efficient way to enable their Web store to work with QuickBooks and QuickBooks Merchant Services," said Dan Wernikoff, vice president of product management for QuickBooks Merchant Services. "With close integration between a Web store and our accounting solutions, users save precious time and benefit from greater accuracy. They never have to re-enter sales data from their Web store in QuickBooks or manually reconcile transaction fees and expenses associated with credit card sales."
In addition, QuickBooks Merchant Service allows your business to accept credit cards through a Web store. Customers can use credit cards to make purchases and potentially, these sales can be immediately processed and reflected in QuickBooks.
Going Pro with ProStores
With powerful eBay ties, ProStores offers an excellent, stand-alone, Web-based service that allows small businesses to sell goods on the Web. ProStores is one of the six Intuit-blessed providers and offers integrated support for QuickBooks and QuickBooks Merchant Services.
Two-way integration comes via the company's "StoreSync technology," which allows you to build an online store based on your existing QuickBooks database. This transfers all product related information — descriptions, prices and quantities in stock — from QuickBooks into your online catalog. And likewise, you can transfer invoices and customer records from ProStores into QuickBooks so that they are entered and displayed and view related credit card fees that are separate from sales.
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