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Congratulations! You’re using QuickBooks Online (QBO) to manage the books for your small business – or maybe you’re an accounting professional that has clients using QBO. Are you ready, as the kids say these days – to take it to the next level*?
If so, then let’s take a tour of the Intuit Appcenter, or Apps.com. This site will help you transform your QBO (and maybe even your QuickBooks Desktop, depending on the compatibility of the app) from an accounting system to a full blown business management system.
The best part is you can do as you need to — you don’t need to find every piece of your back office puzzle all at once, which is especially nice if you’re just starting out and still growing.
What do I mean by this? Say you’ve just started a consulting business. Let’s see how the solutions at Apps.com can help you as you grow, each step of the way.
You’re starting to pick up more clients and you realize that in order to serve all of them and manage your business, you’ll need to hire some admin help and maybe a few other consultants. How do you manage employee reviews? How will you track time? Solutions include JuvodHR for HR management and TSheets for time tracking.
You have new staff, new clients, and you’ll need a way to keep track and make sure everyone is on the same page. How do you do that? One option I love is WorkETC — a CRM & Project Management tool all in one. Other CRMs included Method or BatchBook, and for project management there’s Mavenlink and Jobber.
Now that you’re expanding your customer base, you’re working with new clients – and not every client is the best at paying. In this case, you’ll want to take a look at InvoiceSherpa, ZenCash, and Bill.com. You can use Bill.com to easilty manage all of those pesky vendor bills as well.
Now that you’ve got a great client base, you want to keep them coming back. How do you do that? By selling online – since you’re a consulting firm, maybe downloadable tools? Webinars? Whatever the product or service, Apps.com has a solution, from ecommerce by PinnacleCart to Webgility’s tools to sync your Ebay and Amazon Store sales.
Your business is cooking, but you need to really dig deep into the numbers to see where it stands before you can decide what direction you want it to move. For this type of planning, my favorite is BodeTree, but Fathom gives you a wider range of deep reporting (which my accounting friends will love!) without the suggestions or guidance on what next steps might be. I believe both BodeTree and Fathom are also excellent tools for the accounting professional to add a service offering to clients.
Many of the apps in the AppCenter have accountant portals as well, which means if you’re an accounting professional, you can offer them as a service you provide, and have consolidated billing for all of your clients. You can be the trusted advisor, recommending and assisting in implementation and your clients can work on what’s important to them: doing the work they love so much, they started their own business to do it.
The best part of these apps? Aside from being online, always available, very affordable and having great support? The fact that each has a login available for users OUTSIDE of your QuickBooks. You don’t have to worry about nosy employees seeing what they don’t need to see, and us accounting nerds love the separation of duties. (And trust me on this, every app I’ve mentioned here, I either use, recommend or know the developers and how dedicated they are to providing a great product.)
My parting thoughts on this — I didn’t even look to see which apps integrate with desktop editions of QuickBooks. I think they all work best with QBO, and many developers aren’t even looking at integrating with the desktop editions in the future. They stopped onboarding new developers to the desktop API in November 2013, and plan to discontinue support for the existing desktop API in 2016. Moving forward, all apps will only be able to work with QBO, so if you haven’t made the change…now is the time!
*For what it’s worth, I don’t think it’s what the “kids” say. I’m sure they have something much cooler.