Accounting Software Integrations
One of the holy grails of management information systems (MIS) for businesses is to have a fully integrated financial, administrative and reporting environment where all the information, data and processes used by a business are all linked, and linked efficiently so inputs only need to ever happen once. This reduces or eliminates duplication, and ensures all data is potentially available to businesses and their management when needed, thereby saving money, improving accuracy, service levels and improving decision making speed and quality.
Most smaller businesses will not have an integrated MIS, but will soon be seeing the advantages of having their different systems and software working together seamlessly. This may be particularly true with ecommerce businesses who have an online shop facility (either off-the-shelf, proprietary or bespoke) where orders and payments are managed, as well as invoicing, products, inventories, purchases and more. How these systems develop can be quite different for each business, but ultimately to have a highly efficient organisation, enabling the automatic transfer of data between the website system and the accounting system can become an important step towards having an integrated MIS.
Both with our Entegra and older systems, and also with other website systems and shops, we can help you to integrate these with your accounting system, either in one direction or in both directions. Accounting software we have worked with include Sage, QuickBooks and Xero, so if your business uses any of these, and you have a PHP (LAMP) based website system (such as ours, WordPress and Magento), then we should be able to help you.
How to Integrate with Accounting Software -- Knowing Where to Draw the Line
Integrating a website with an accounting system may not be as straight forward as you might think. Website eCommerce systems have been designed to deliver products, options, prices, discounts, promotions, images and other collateral information to the public website better, and much more completely than any, of the most widely used accounts packages. This means that most accounting packages will not be able to provide the depth of support to a public ecommerce site as the website system itself, which would then potentially require duplicate entries or additional information to be added in the website system, splitting the management and resulting in an inherent big inefficiency from the word go.
For example, we have clients with ecommerce websites now where products are displayed with multiple prices depending on the customer type or the channel being sold in, multiple versions of each image (taken automatically when uploaded so each usage on every platform can be optimal), multiple images per product with a default image setting, images per product option, product groups comprising multiple products and variants with multiple options for each, and with abilities to link in online data such as downloads, FAQs, CMS pages, gallery pictures, related and alternative products and more. Most accounting systems cannot cope with this level of provision, so probably would not be in a position to be the ultimate 'controller' of where data is input.
This is one example, but others can be similarly made in relation to customer accounts, inventory management and more. So for each business how the integration is done is an important consideration. Many small businesses rely on their website system to manage trading on a daily basis and integrate with accounts by simply pushing financial data such as sales into their accounts, and this can be done either a transaction at a time, or by using a month-end routine which pushes the data required into the accounts. Other businesses may draw the line in a different place, with order management online and invoicing/account management carried on in the accounts system, requiring a 'handshake' between the two systems to take place at specific points in time.
In any event, we have considerable accounts knowledge, and can both help you decide if you want to integrate your ecommerce and accounting systems, and also to determine precisely what the best place is to 'draw the line' between the two, so you can minimise duplication whilst simultaneously finding the optimal ways to manage your business, online and offline.
If you believe your business is now at the juncture where joining accounts and website together is needed, contact us and we'll help you investigate the options, and then hopefully implement what is decided.