From the Nov. 2008 Issue
“Wax on, right hand. Wax off, left hand. Wax on, wax off. Breathe in through nose, out the mouth.”
This is just one of the methods Mr. Miyagi taught Daniel-san in “Karate Kid” when he taught him to polish a car, paint a fence, and otherwise build character and strength through simple, manual work. It was a great movie, by the way, and it seems strangely analogous to the methodical, thoughtful process software consultants go through when we evaluate how to leverage technology in our practice and in our clients’ businesses.
At The Sleeter Group (www.Sleeter.com), our whole year is spent in this “wax on, wax off” routine, studying the marketplace of add-on solutions and consulting with developers who seek to provide better solutions for our clients. And for several years now, we’ve spotlighted several special products we call “awesome add-ons.”
In order to qualify for our list, 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 programming guidelines;
- Use appropriate transaction types and field population for recording data into QuickBooks so as to preserve and/or enhance the standard reporting features in QuickBooks; and
- Conform to good accounting principles and operating standards.
This year, we’ve formalized some of our processes and modified slightly
the rules for how the winners are chosen.
First, we’ve changed the rules slightly so that no product can win twice. In the past, a few products were given the Awesome Add-on Award several years in a row, but in order to recognize more awesome products, we’ve decided to give the award only once to any product, unless there is a significant change in the product or offering that warrants new recognition.
The other change is that we have added a “products to watch” category for those products that don’t quite make the list, but who we hope will eventually make the list.
Results CRM — Results Software
Pricing: From $155 per user (see website for details)
Target Customers: Small and mid-sized companies that need to add CRM integrated with QuickBooks customer data and transactions.
Results Customer Relationship Management (CRM) provides QuickBooks users with a complete and flexible approach to business contact and information management. It incorporates business process automation, reporting and tracking for sales and marketing, service delivery, customer service, project management, as well as electronic timesheets, time billing, invoicing, order tracking, payment history, and inventory control. Results provides bi-directional integration with QuickBooks and Microsoft Outlook.
Target Customers: All users of QuickBooks and accountants who serve clients using QuickBooks.
Bill.com is a web-based service that automates the Accounts Payable process and provides online business document filing. Bill.com provides an online “portal” where all AP documents can be faxed or e-mailed, and all AP data entry and management is performed. Once vendor bills are received, they are recorded. Then, a digitized image of the bill is routed to approvers, after which the bills are scheduled for payment. Bill.com handles all payments to vendors and downloads bills and payments directly into QuickBooks.
Right Networks ASP — Right Networks
Pricing: Virtual Desktop plus QuickBooks is $49.99/per user/per month plus $100 setup fee
Target Customers: Companies of all sizes from sole proprietorships to Fortune 100 companies. Clients include accounting professionals, accounting firms, retailers, service companies and “spoke and wheel” organizations such as franchises, associations and not-for-profit organizations.
Offering virtual hosted desktop applications, accessible anytime, anywhere via an Internet connection, Right Networks is a privately held, U.S.-based company that provides data center management, advanced application hosting, Internet services, and computer help desk support. Through its proprietary server virtualization technology, Right Networks has established itself as one of the leading providers of application hosting for the desktop editions of QuickBooks. Right Networks provides centralized, redundant systems, banking-class security and automatic off-site backups.
WorkTrack Service Management by Corrigo
Pricing: Starts at $35 per user per month
Target Customers: Mobile service companies such as plumbers, HVAC installation and repair companies, facilities managers, etc.
WorkTrack Service Management is a web-based, wireless work order tool that eliminates paperwork, provides better dispatching for the back office, improves payroll and integrates with accounting. As a call comes in for work, the dispatcher inputs the job information into the WorkTrack database and sends the job to the technician in the field. The technician receives the job (complete with customer history and special instructions) on his mobile device, completes the job, and is able to take payment in the field. If the job is paid in the field, accounting information can be automatically integrated into the back office accounting systems. Time tracking information is taken from each technician’s mobile device, and the time data is fed directly into payroll systems.
AccuPOS — Attitude Positive
Pricing: $595 to $1,295
Target Customers: QuickBooks users in the Retail and Restaurant industries (quick service and fine dining).
AccuPOS is full-featured Point-of-Sale software, targeting a wide variety of retail businesses. It employs a simple, touch-screen-friendly interface for processing sales. It works well for any ‘cash and carry’ retail store, food service establishment or combination thereof (country clubs, for instance). Retailers receive a “True Cash Register Experience” while restaurant users enjoy added features like remote printing and table management. It integrates with QuickBooks by sending daily sales summaries (by item) or by sending detailed transactions for each sale, depending on the needs of the client. It works well with multiple registers in a single store but is not well suited for multi-store clients. It also offers merchant account integration with Synergy Data Solutions.
BigTime — Edison’s Attic
Pricing: $895 per user
Target Customers: Small professional service firms.
BigTime is a completely web-based time and billing solution that can be hosted internally or with Edison’s Attic. The system collects time and expenses, allows managers to control budgets and tasks, and provides the finance group unlimited invoicing options. It integrates with QuickBooks and the Microsoft Office suite of products; including Outlook, Excel, Word and MS Project. BigTime includes a reporting tool that allows users to choose from canned reports or develop any report on the fly, providing business managers critical timely analysis. You can import project plans from Microsoft Project, assign tasks to individuals or groups, and create task templates for standard project types.
Pricing: $15 to $59/month
Target Customers: All companies who use QuickBooks and accountants who serve QuickBooks clients.
SmartVault provides web-based document storage and management for QuickBooks users plus online automated backup of QuickBooks company files. Its unique integration with QuickBooks provides visual association between QuickBooks transactions and stored documents. It provides an online system for secure sharing of QuickBooks data files and company documents among multiple users and/or the accountant and client.
About QuickBooks Add-ons
In 2003, Intuit released its Application Programming Interface (API), which is provided to developers in a Software Developer Kit (SDK). This SDK opens up the 3 million plus small business customer base to software developers who add value to QuickBooks by creating specific add-on products that integrate with the popular financial management system. 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 makes extensive use of the SDK to extend the functionality of QuickBooks. For example, QuickBooks Point of Sale uses the SDK to integrate with QuickBooks.
New Products to Watch
In addition to the above winners, there are two new products that we feel are worth mentioning, and we’re keeping an eye on them to see how they mature in the marketplace. These products are Method Integration (www.methodintegration.com), a platform for developing web-based applications that synchronize with QuickBooks lists and transactions in real time, and XactPay from The Hartford (www.xactpay.com), an integrated payment service that calculates insurance premiums for a Hartford Workers’ Compensation policy, then withdraws the premium directly from your bank account every time you run payroll. n
Previous winners of the awesome add-on award include the following:
- Acctivate! (www.acctivate.com)
– Comprehensive Distribution & Wholesale Management Solutions
- Adagio FX (www.softrak.com)
– Professional Financial Statements and Data Analysis tools
- AutoReporter (www.bqe.com)
– QB Automatic Report Generation
- AvaTax Connect (www.avalara.com)
– Web-based Sales Tax Solution Linked to QB
- BDTS (www.bdts.us)
– File transfer service for accountants and clients
- BillQuick (www.bqe.com)
– Time, Billing and Project Management
- CNG-Books & CNG-SAFE (www.cabinetng.com)
– Automated Electronic Document Management
- Corecon 4.0 (www.corecon.com)
– Web-based construction management system
- Count Me In (www.countmeinllc.com)
– Timecard Monitor
- Data Flow Manager (www.atandra.com)
– Data import utility for QB
- DataMover (www.personable.com)
– Data import utility for QB
- DepositNow! (www.depositnow.com)
– Automating Check Deposits - Electronically
- Fishbowl Inventory (www.fishbowlinventory.com)
– Comprehensive Inventory for Light Manufacturers, Wholesalers and Distributors
- GiftWorks (www.missionresearch.com)
– Non-Profit Donor Management Software
- Groove Virtual Office (Microsoft) (http://office.microsoft.com/groove)
– File synchronization utility
- InsynQ (e-Accounting) CPAASP (www.cpaasp.com)
– Application Service Provider
- Legrand CRM (www.legrandcrm.com)
– CRM for Small Businesses
- MISys SBM (www.misysinc.com)
– Manufacturing inventory system & MRP for small manufacturers.
- PayCycle (www.paycycle.com)
– Online Payroll Service
- PDG Commerce (www.pdgsoft.com)
– Web store e-commerce solution
- ProfitCents (www.profitcents.com)
– Business Analysis Tools
- QODBC Driver (www.qodbc.com)
– ODBC driver for accessing QB data from other programs
- QuickBooks Point of Sale (www.intuit.com)
– Point-of-Sale solution for small retail stores
- ReportWiz from DGR software (www.dgrsoftware.com)
– State Payroll Tax utility for QB payroll
- SourceLink (www.personable.com)
– Electronic Documents Attached to QB Forms
- Sunburst Certified Payroll Solution (www.sunburstsoftwaresolutions.com)
– Certified Payroll reporting from QB payroll data
- Data Transfer Utility by Karl Irvin (www.q2q.us)
– Utilities to transfer data between QB files
- TrueCommerce Transaction Manager (www.truecommerce.com)
– EDI Integration for QB
- UniResMan (www.uniresman.com)
– Hospitality Industry Reservation Systems