Why Sync Salesforce with QuickBooks
Everyone’s needs are different, but most companies are out to accomplish two things by syncing Salesforce with QuickBooks (1) automatically create Invoices in QuickBooks from "won" Salesforce Opportunities to reduce data entry and speed up cash flow, and (2) provide users in Salesforce visibility to QuickBooks accounts receivable information for account management purposes.
Check the Version
When you’re doing research on which solutions is best for you, make sure you’re looking at documentation for your version of QuickBooks. For example, QuickBooks Online is more limited than the hosted versions (i.e. QuickBooks Pro, Premier, Enterprise). The data mappings and available functionality can vary for the different versions of QuickBooks.
Business Processes, Mappings, When to Sync
Check the documentation provided by the vendor to be sure you business processes (work flow) and Salesforce configuration is supported. For example, do you create Products in Salesforce or QuickBooks? In Salesforce do you use Person Accounts, have multiple Price Books, or use a custom objects for Products? Do you have custom fields on Products that need to synced (like shipping tracking numbers, Cost of Goods, or Chart of Accounts)?
Also be sure you understand what users have to do to an Opportunity to get it to sync with QuickBooks. Some solutions allow the sync with QuickBooks to be run manually and some sync automatically based on a schedule.
Watch for Duplicate Records
One of the biggest pitfalls working with QuickBooks is that there are no unique keys or IDs to facilitate record matching. The QuickBooks Customer name is matched to the Salesforce Account name. So if you have an "Apple" in QuickBooks and "Apple Computer" in Salesforce, you’re going to create a duplicate record either in Salesforce or QuickBooks depending on your sync direction. Before syncing, you’ll need to scrub the names of your Salesforce Accounts to make sure they are consistent with your QuickBooks Customers.
QuickBooks is the Weak Link
The biggest constraint in creating a custom solution is that the QuickBooks Web Connector is very limited – it does not let you access or control everything inside QuickBooks. For example we’ve found that as you send Opportunity Line Items into QuickBooks you can’t control the order – Invoice Line Items get created on the Invoice in alphabetical order. This can be annoying when you want to have shipping and handling at the bottom of the invoice or nest certain products together. Because of that we’ve actually used Visualforce email templates to send invoices to customers out of Salesforce since we can control the order of the line items (once QuickBooks syncs, you’ll have the QuickBooks Invoice # – so then you have everything you need to generate an invoice to the customer out of Salesforce).
Do Your Homework
There is a vast array of options available to sync QuickBooks and Salesforce and we are not trying to give you an exhaustive list of options or cover every idiosyncrasy of every solution. Additionally we are not a partner of any of the solutions being mentioned and receive no financial benefit for highlighting one solution over another. We’re just presenting the landscape and breadth of solutions available. Ok, with that out of the way:
Intuit – Salesforce Integration for QuickBooks
UPDATE Sept 10, 2014 – Intuit announced they are retiring this offering effective December 3rd 2014.
There was a lot of hoopla when Salesforce and Intuit announced this solution, but early adopters found out there were teething problems
- Pricing: $25 / $45 / $65 / per company per mo (syncing products costs more)
- Pros: Cheap!
- Cons: You can’t modify the field mappings (but you can configure sync options)
Avankia – DBSync QuickBooks Integration for Salesforce
A step up from the Intuit solution in that is allows customers to make customizations to mappings and business flow.
- Pricing: Free / $795 / $1495 annually
- Pros: Able to have custom mappings and sync logic. Reasonable hourly rate for customization. Supports multiple QuickBooks files syncing with a single instance of Salesforce
- Cons: Support based in India
Boomi Widget for Salesforce and QuickBooks
This is a prepackaged integration, which "cannot be modified substantially." If you do need further customization, you have to move up to the full Boomi Atmosphere product.
- Pricing – Standard Widget $65 / mo, Premium Widget (allows customization) $135/mo – firstname.lastname@example.org
The link to the AppExchange Listing on the FAQ looks to be broken (might be private now)
A popular multipurpose cloud connector to create and manage your integrations with Salesforce.
- Pricing (Atmosphere): $550 / $1400 / $7000 month
- Pros: You control the integration logic rather than a third party. Shorter time to being live versus a full custom solution. There are lots of folks that use Boomi, so consulting resources are available
- Cons: Though more "point and click" than writing an integration from scratch, you still need a fairly high skill set to create an integration. Considerable ongoing annual costs but the more you use Boomi to manage other integrations with Salesforce (by adding more connections), the more cost effective the solution
Custom Integration (in-house or contracted development)
Intuit has a published SDK (protocol for integrations) for interfacing with their Web Connector which you can use as a foundation for creating an integration with your own custom business logic.
- Pros: No ongoing licensing costs (besides hosting and a Salesforce licenses to access the API). Ultimate control of the business logic and mapping
- Cons: High up front cost for development and testing thus longer lead-time to go-live. Any additional changes to the business logic would require a developer
JUNE 2016 UPDATE: Since I wrote this article three years ago (above), new players have hit the scene (below). Please note I’m not actively actively checking these links for updating pricing etc – so do your homework!
Breadwinner for QuickBooks Online
Breadwinner offers an out-of-the-box integration between Salesforce and QuickBooks Online (but not QuickBooks Desktop). From a Salesforce Consultant perspective, they are unique in that their managed package replicates the QBO database structure (link to their ERD) into Salesforce, and uses that as a slave of QBO data, updated hourly.
- Pricing: Ranges from $39 to the $300 per month and higher, depending on your Invoice Volume, number of QuickBooks Orgs you want to connect, and features.
Autofy for Salesforce integrates QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online (QBO) to Salesforce. Autofy can work with standard Salesforce objects, or custom fields and/or custom objects.
- Pricing : $59 per month
While Breadwinner and Autofy focus on just QuickBooks, Workato syncs up to 100 different SaaS platforms into Salesforce. Integration is, a bit like Zapier, recipe based. Many sample recipes are already public and listed on their site to speed the development cycle.
- Pricing: $99 if you have Salesforce Professional, or $499 a month if you have Salesforce Enterprise (what they call a Tier 2 App)