QuickBooks is a practical accounting solution for small and order-centric companies, but it has its limitations. For instance, MSPs (Managed Service Providers), who use various billing models or have recurring revenue, will soon notice the growing pains of capturing data, document uploading, maintaining a digital archive, reporting, managing invoices, and sending emails.
When MSPs scale and start working with multiple clients, it becomes essential to have increased visibility in their finance processes. They must ensure that their data is accurate, updated, and in the correct format to make better decisions and achieve rapid growth. While QuickBooks software was not built for this, implementing accounting automation brings in various benefits.
This article will discuss what limitations MSPs face with QuickBooks and how automation can help them tackle these challenges. We will also review a few use cases for QuickBooks automation that MSPs can adopt to improve productivity, efficiency, and financial visibility.
Limitations in using QuickBooks
QuickBooks is versatile accounting software, but if you have sights on scaling up, it may not accommodate all your needs in the long run.
Let's analyze the limitations that prevent MSPs from getting the financial visibility they want for better decision-making.
- Your employees spend more hours collecting, processing, and archiving data from documents such as invoices and bills.
- When you want to customize your invoices, reports, or statements ( the status of a client's account for a given time), Quickbook has limited options.
- Your employees are entering data firstly into QuickBooks and then re-enter it into other systems. Entering duplicate data is not only time-consuming, but it is also costly in terms of poor quality (inaccurate and duplicate records) and does not contribute to business efficiency.
- Your employees are drowned in spreadsheets to prepare reports, or they are locating specific documents to get updated data. It could be pretty overwhelming if the data was not digitally stored in a central location for real-time access and analysis.
Benefits of automating accounting tasks in QuickBooks
- Automating repetitive activities such as data entry avoids manual entry errors and frees up time for tasks with higher added value.
- It improves the accuracy of your business goals and forecasts.
- It makes finding any document within seconds possible.
- It updates data in all systems whenever anything is changed and allows employees to view the updated record or version in real-time.
- It streamlines communication within the team, who can now directly access the updated records at a given point in time.
- It offers the benefits of cloud storage, i.e., securing a digital archive of important documents in the cloud accessible anywhere and anytime.
Use cases of QuickBooks automation
Use case #1: Data and documentparsing and uploading
MSPs can leverage automation to parse data attached to any email, convert them, extract information, upload that information to multiple systems, and notify the employees once the system is updated. Bots can execute various document processing activities such as PDF data extraction, XML to CSV conversion, CSV to Excel conversion, Scanned template data extraction, etc., without any human intervention.
A bot will execute these actions:
1. The bot logs into the system using employee credentials.
2. Analyze the documents or files attached to emails or incoming messages on various communications channels.
3. Check the content of the files against predefined rules.
4. Extract predefined elements using the optical character recognition feature from the document.
5. If necessary, perform file conversion, save it to the designated folder or upload it to the relevant system.
6. Export the extracted data to a spreadsheet or enter it into QuickBooks.
7. Notify relevant employees via email once the process gets completed.
The employee will approve once that all inputs are correct. In case of duplicate records, the bot will trigger a duplicate warning.
Use case #2: Workflow automation and approval
Workflow automation means automatically executing tasks such as moving data or documents between departments and systems based on predefined rules. The right automation tools will help in disseminating information timely and perform actions without delays. They allow you to cut costs, reduce human error, and increase productivity. It also reduces the time spent on specific manual activities, such as auto-filling forms.
Similarly, you can also leverage automation to create an efficient review and approval process by assigning an approver to a document. Once the bot performs the required task, it will automatically inform the relevant employee and request approval. The approver will review and make changes if necessary, and the bot applies the changes in the system(s).
Use case #3: Invoice generation
If you have to send an invoice to a client, you can do it the typical way– pulling a premade QuickBooks template, entering client information, listing the items (hardware, services performed, etc.), and typing the price. You will save the file, attach it to your email, send it to the client, and wait for his response. Once the customer makes the payment, you will check the invoice off as paid.
This process looks simple, but it is time-consuming. A bot can execute the same task efficiently–from data extraction to generating an invoice. It will then send the invoice to the customer and notify you once it is paid. The bots will ensure you bill your clients on time or send timely reminders for recurring and late invoices. They will also record journal entries in QuickBooks based on predefined rules. For instance, create an accounts receivable entry when invoices are sent and update the books when payments are received (if the company uses the accrual accounting method).
Similarly, you can also automate the invoices/bills you receive from the vendors. The bots will capture the data and enter it into the system once you receive vendor invoices. They will alert the relevant people to review and approve the invoice and send out payment in time.
Use case #4: Integrations with other software/apps
QuickBooks organizes your finances, but it can't help in managing clients or leads. You can sync many business applications with QuickBooks to streamline your workflow and simplify processes. For instance, you can integrate QuickBooks with CRMs like Salesforce
Connector by QuickBooks, Insightly CRM, Hubspot, etc., to share data between the accounting and sales functions. You can share invoices, client information, expense, etc., avoid duplicate data entry, enhance productivity, and bring your client, supplier, and financial information in one place for better decision making.
Be careful in selecting the CRM as not all easy-to-use and quick to set up. You will also want to have the features you want and avoid extra costs by using a third-party app to integrate QuickBooks with a CRM.
Similarly, you can automate expense management and receipt tracking activities by syncing QuickBooks with apps like Expensify or generate accurate cash flow forecasting with Float that uses live data from QuickBooks to present a picture of your business health.
This article discusses how MSPs can leverage automation to improve their productivity, efficiency, and financial visibility. It also advises how MSPs can get the most out of QuickBooks through integrations.
QuickBooks is generic accounting software, and there is no "MSP" opinion when you install it. However, you can embrace automation as a helpful technology for your business as it saves time and ensures your finances are up-to-date and accurate.