Friday, December 10, 2010

Integrating CRM and Accounting systems, Part 2

In our previous article we discussed the idea of integrating CRM systems with Accounting systems and highlighted the benefits associated with providing your staff with access to the business's data and functions they need across multiple systems.

Today we will delve deeper into the integration process and demonstrate the benefits of having your different business systems talk to each other, we will be using the ACT! CRM system, The QuickBooks accounting system and our own Accounting link for ACT! and QuickBooks.

First we will describe the concept of integration, within ACT! you can store the information related to a contact within a Contact Record, A contact is not necessarily a customer, a contact can be a Prospect, a customer, a supplier a colleague or a family friend (or anything else you wish to classify them as).

In an accounting system you usually have records for Customers, Suppliers and Employees, singling out customers we can see that they exist in both CRM systems and accounting systems. As mentioned in our previous article CRM systems excel at storing the non quantitative customer information while accounting systems were designed to store quantitative information.

The idea here is to provide access to both sets of  information for a given customer from one place thereby eliminating the need to jump between multiple systems in order to see the big picture, this is done through the process of linking a customer record in the CRM system to their equivalent record in the Accounting system.

In the screenshot above we have a view of Chris Huffman's record in ACT showing all of her details, at the same time we can view Chris Huffman's financial details as they currently appear in QuickBooks, in this particular case we are looking at Chris's financial summary details directly from within ACT, at a glance we can tell what Chris's current balance is, when was the last time she made a purchase from us and if she has any overdue payments.

In addition to having access to QuickBooks customers data directly from within ACT! we also have the ability to update Chris's contact information directly without the need to switch to QuickBooks and re-enter the updated contact details, in doing so we have reduced the amount of data entry work required to maintain both sets of data.

Furthermore when we get a new customer added into our CRM system we no longer need to re-enter their details twice, we can simply push a button in ACT! and create a record for our new customer in Quickbooks in real time!

One of the other benefits of having an integrated CRM & Accounting system is the ability to provide sales staff with controlled access to some accounting functions, for example if your sales team needs to raise estimates or invoices for a customer then they can do that without having direct access to the accounting system, there is no need to write the estimate on a piece of paper or email it to the accountant, it can be created directly from within ACT! where your sales team spend most of their time working from.

The two scenarios above highlight the benefits of having the ability to communicate across different systems within the organization, the benefits can be summarized by the following:

  • Reduction or even elimination of duplicate data entry procedures, having to re-enter the same information across different systems is a time consuming process the time spent on duplicate entry of data can be better utilized elsewhere.
  • Streamlining your business process work flow, connected systems provide your staff with the ability to meet customers demands on time in a very efficient manner this in turn results in having an increased customer satisfaction, a satisfied customer is one who is more likely to do business with you again than an un-satisfied customer.
The above is just an example of what can be achieved by having integrated systems within your business, there is a lot more to cover than this, feel free to list your comments or ask any questions that you may have, you can contact us at or you can follow us on twitter, we are more than happy to answer your questions in any way we can.

If you currently have ACT and would like to download a trial copy of our QuickBooks link then you can visit our products page here , you also purchase a copy of the QuickBooks link by visiting our online store

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