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
- 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
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
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.
To search for QuickBooks add-ons, visit the Intuit marketplace site at http://marketplace.intuit.com.
For more information about developing add-ons for QuickBooks, visit http://developer.intuit.com.
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