18 Nov Add On Products Overview
Many of the add-on products available have been programmed to allow the import and export function to occur easily between their software and QuickBooks. The QuickBooks Professional Advisors Program provides additional information to their members that may be useful to those who wish to attempt to import transactional data. It does, however, require a significant amount of programming experience to accomplish.
Many third party software packages, especially those developed for specific industry use (for example medical billing, more comprehensive time and billing, collision shop management, etc) have developed a “bridge” program to permit using their product for the specific task, and QuickBooks for the general ledger and additional functions. By creating an export file from the other software that QuickBooks can import they can provide great value to the small business.
In February, 2001, Intuit announced the Intuit Developer Network to increase the solutions available for the small business community that interface with QuickBooks. At that point the SDK (Software Development Kit) and QODBC tools were released to facilitate the development of add-on solutions. Since that time the number of solutions has exploded exponentially. In addition, many developers have the ability (for a reasonable fee) to customize their program if it does not fit the needs of the client specifically.
This process of performing the needs analysis that includes a “must have” versus “wish list” and finding the right add-on to match (or working with the developer to customize an existing solution) can provide a challenging and lucrative business for the QuickBooks consultant. These services can even be expanded to include managing the project between the client and the developer, installing the solution and training the client on its use. The perceived value to the client is high because of the time, cost, and aggravation that can be eliminated as a result of the increased efficiency and information an add-on can deliver. As a consultant, you probably already know what the client needs; add-ons just provide an opportunity solve the issue. Typically the client does not feel they have the time or expertise to find a solution “from scratch” so they appreciate the suggestions the consultant can bring to the table. The challenge for the client is that they often don’t speak the same language as a developer and the developer does not have the accounting knowledge to understand what the client truly needs. The consultant is a perfect way to facilitate the communication between them.
TRICK: Many Add-ons work with only specific QuickBooks products and versions. Future upgrades may be dictated by the need to keep the add-on and the QuickBooks software compatible and working together. Keep this in mind when evaluating costs, training, and future expenditures.
TRICK: The most significant issue to know before using an add-on is if the QuickBooks data file should be open or not. With most it is open, but with some it is not. And most all require setting the integrated application preference to permit access to the data file, and potentially the social security numbers and other sensitive information.