Read­ers’ Choice: The Top Quickbooks Apps

Ac­count­ing To­day’s au­di­ence chooses its fa­vorite third-party apps for the pop­u­lar ac­count­ing soft­ware so­lu­tion

Accounting Today - - Special Report: Top QuickBooks Apps - By Daniel Hood

Ac­coun­tants have al­ways availed them­selves of the lat­est tech­nolo­gies and of­fice tools to speed their work, from the abacus and the ledger book to the slide rule and the adding ma­chine, and the whole­sale move of ac­count­ing and book­keep­ing work to com­put­ers and soft­ware pro­grams is just the lat­est it­er­a­tion of this age-old propen­sity.

There are a few twists to tool se­lec­tion these days, how­ever: First, there are far more avail­able to ac­coun­tants than ever be­fore, and find­ing the right one for the job can be prob­lem­atic. Sort­ing through the vast se­lec­tion of soft­ware in any par­tic­u­lar cat­e­gory is a ma­jor en­deavor, with sig­nif­i­cant con­se­quences. The sec­ond twist comes once the choice is made: Often, that first choice opens a whole realm of other ap­pli­ca­tions that work, in­te­grate or oth­er­wise in­ter­face with the pri­mary soft­ware, re­quir­ing an en­tire range of sec­ondary choices.

This is the world of the soft­ware “ecosys­tem,” where a sin­gle ap­pli­ca­tion acts as a broad plat­form onto which smaller, often sin­gle-pur­pose apps, can be added.

Mar­ket-lead­ing small-busi­ness soft­ware Quickbooks is the pi­o­neer of the ecosys­tem in the ac­count­ing mar­ket, hav­ing long made a point of em­pow­er­ing and rec­og­niz­ing third-party de­vel­op­ers who make soft­ware that ex­pands the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of its ac­count­ing pro­gram. Of course, Quickbooks and its par­ent com­pany, In­tuit, aren’t the only play­ers in the ecosys­tem game, but with com­mand­ing mar­ket share and a long lead, they have built a mam­moth sta­ble of hun­dreds of apps that al­low ac­coun­tants to han­dle spe­cial tasks, bet­ter serve niche mar­kets, and oth­er­wise build out the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of QB and its cloud-based coun­ter­part, Quickbooks On­line.

Know­ing how dif­fi­cult it can be to pick among so many op­tions, Ac­count­ing To­day sur­veyed its au­di­ence to see which apps they pre­ferred, hope­fully of­fer­ing a lit­tle guid­ance to those look­ing to power up their ac­count­ing soft­ware. We sur­veyed close to 300 ac­coun­tants, over 95 per­cent of whom re­ported that they or their clients are cur­rent or past users of QB or QBO. A few things to note:

Just be­cause an app was pre­ferred in our sur­vey doesn’t mean it’s the only choice for a par­tic­u­lar pur­pose. In many cases, an app that only got a few votes may be more ap­pro­pri­ate for an in­di­vid­ual use case, be­cause it was de­signed for a spe­cific func­tion or in­dus­try niche.

Sim­i­larly, not ev­ery cat­e­gory had a lead­ing pre­fer- ence. No clear leader emerged for hu­man re­sources apps, for in­stance, or in­ven­tory man­age­ment; in­stead, votes were spread out over a wide range of apps.

Not every­one had a fa­vorite in ev­ery cat­e­gory. In fact, the con­sis­tent top reader choice in ev­ery cat­e­gory was “I don’t have a pref­er­ence,” as read­ers only picked apps where they had knowl­edge from their own prac­tices or their clients’ busi­nesses.

Fi­nally, by far the most com­mon “ex­tra app” that re­spon­dents men­tioned was Ex­cel, which re­mains a go-to tool for a wide range of pur­poses.

With all that in mind, here is the inau­gu­ral class of Ac­count­ing To­day’s Read­ers’ Choice: Top Quickbooks Apps, pre­sented by cat­e­gory.

Ac­counts payable

Bill Pay for Quickbooks On­line and Bill.com (Bill.com) One of the most pop­u­lar apps across the board was Bill. com’s Bill Pay for QBO, which was cho­sen by 26 per­cent of re­spon­dents as a pre­ferred app. It in­te­grates the cloud-based ac­count­ing soft­ware with Bill.com’s busi­ness pay­ments sys­tem, al­low­ing users to pay ven­dors and con­trac­tors with a sin­gle click. It also lets them track pay­ments, and man­age their bills from their QBO On­line ac­count. A caveat for ac­coun­tants: It is not avail­able with Quickbooks On­line Ac­coun­tant; to use it for clients, you’ll have to open it from their QBO ac­count.

Ac­counts re­ceiv­able

Stripe and Paypal Sync — Busi­ness Pay­ments (Cloud­busi­ness) Man­ual data en­try is rapidly be­com­ing a thing of the past, thank­fully, in no small part due to apps like this one, the top choice of Ac­count­ing To­day’s au­di­ence in the AR Cat­e­gory. It au­to­mates the syn­chro­niza­tion of trans­ac­tions from Stripe and Paypal, two of the most pop­u­lar of on­line pay­ment sys­tems. (You can also turn off the “au­to­matic sync” mode if you want more con­trol, and the app lets you trace the syn­chro­niza­tion process.)

Run­ners-up: A close sec­ond in the AR Cat­e­gory was Nowac­count for Quickbooks On­line (Nowac­count Net­work), while a not-in­signif­i­cant num­ber of re­spon­dents said that they rely on Quickbooks’ built-in AR ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

Billing & in­voic­ing

Bill Pay for Quickbooks On­line and Bill.com (Bill.com) Given the close­ness of the two func­tions, it’s no sur­prise that Bill.com’s Bill Pay for QBO app would prove al­most as pop­u­lar for billing and in­voic­ing as it is for AP. Al­most a fifth of re­spon­dents (19 per­cent) named it their top choice in the cat­e­gory.

Run­ner-up: While there is no QB app for vet­eran time & billing soft­ware Sage Times­lips, the two are in­te­grated, and a num­ber of read­ers made a point of not­ing that that was how they han­dle billing and in­voic­ing.

Cus­tomer re­la­tion­ship man­age­ment

Sales­force Quickbooks In­te­gra­tion So­lu­tion (Workato) The ac­count­ing pro­fes­sion as a whole hasn’t yet com­pletely wrapped its head around CRM soft­ware, but it’s work­ing on it — and its fa­vorite app is this one that syncs QB with one of the lead­ing CRM sys­tems out there. It au­to­mat­i­cally shares client up­dates back and forth, gen­er­ates in­voices for closed op­por­tu­ni­ties, and more.

Run­ners-up: Jet­pack Work­flow and ZOHOCRM tied for sec­ond-most pre­ferred in this cat­e­gory.

Data se­cu­rity/backup

Smart­vault In­te­gra­tion (Smart­vault Corp.) This app for in­te­grat­ing QB with one of the lead­ing doc­u­ment man­age­ment sys­tems was the top choice for giv­ing users a safe place to store source doc­u­ments, queue doc­u­ments for later pro­cess­ing, and share them se­curely with col­leagues and clients.

Run­ners-up: Com­ing a very close sec­ond was Sync for Quickbooks On­line from Cdata Soft­ware, which lets users cre­ate and main­tain a replica of their QB data. Many re­spon­dents also noted that they use Car­bonite for their backup needs; there is no spe­cific QB app for Car­bonite, but it will au­to­mat­i­cally rec­og­nize and back up QB files.

E-com­merce

Sync with Square (In­tuit) The top choice among e-com­merce apps is this tool that au­to­mat­i­cally im­ports sales-re­lated trans­ac­tions from the pop­u­lar Square mo­bile pay­ment sys­tem into QBO and then cre­ates in­voices, as well as match­ing de­posits, pay­ments, re­funds and fees against your bank state­ment. And it’s worth not­ing that while most apps are from third par­ties, this one comes from In­tuit it­self.

Run­ners-up: Shopify by One­saas and Ama­zon Ac­count­ing by En­tri­wise both made strong show­ings

Apps Ex­pense man­age­ment

Amer­i­can Ex­press (Amer­i­can Ex­press) Man­ag­ing T&E is a night­mare for every­one, and the ubiq­uity of the Amer­i­can Ex­press card helped make this app for shar­ing trans­ac­tions from Amex with Quickbooks the top choice in this cat­e­gory.

Run­ners-up: Apps from some of the more pop­u­lar ex­pense so­lu­tions were among the top choices, in­clud­ing Ex­pen­sify, Re­ceipt Bank, and Con­cur Travel and Ex­pense.

Pay­roll

Timesheets.com (Timesheets.com) The most pre­ferred app in this cat­e­gory isn’t ac­tu­ally a pay­roll app, but rather Timesheets.com’s so­lu­tion for time track­ing, which of­fers one-click in­te­gra­tion with QBO.

Run­ners-up: Straight­for­ward pay­roll apps from Sure- Pay­roll and Gusto were also pop­u­lar. A sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of re­spon­dents, though, said that they use pay­roll ven­dors that don’t have spe­cific apps for QB or QBO, in­clud­ing ADP, Pay­chex, In­tuit Pay­roll and Pay­roll Re­lief.

Point of sale

Sync with Square (In­tuit) With Square be­ing one of the most pop­u­lar dig­i­tal POS sys­tems, it makes sense that In­tuit’s Sync with Square would be the top choice in this cat­e­gory, as it was in the E-com­merce Cat­e­gory.

Re­port­ing

Tax Plan­ner Pro (Tax Plan­ner Pro) Many of the apps in this cat­e­gory fo­cus on fi­nan­cial re­port­ing and fore­cast­ing, but the top choice is all about tax plan­ning — giv­ing small busi­nesses a de­tailed look at their tax li­a­bil­i­ties and of­fer­ing strate­gies for low­er­ing their tax bill. No won­der it’s pop­u­lar with ac­coun­tants!

Run­ners-up: Also pop­u­lar were B2B & Rep Por­tal and CRM for Quickbooks from Crik-it, and Fathom. Many re­spon­dents, though, said that they rely ei­ther on the strong re­port­ing tools that are built-in to QB it­self — or on that old standby, Ex­cel.

Tax tools

Tax Plan­ner Pro (Tax Plan­ner Pro) Join­ing the ranks of apps that took the top spot in more than one cat­e­gory, Tax Plan­ner Pro was also the fa­vorite among Tax Tools, as it was in the Re­port­ing Cat­e­gory.

Run­ners-up: 1099 MISC e-file by Tax1099.com from Techat­lantis Inc., and Avalara’s Avatax also re­ceived strong sup­port from re­spon­dents, but most re­ported that they rely pri­mar­ily on their tax prep pro­grams.

Time track­ing

Tsheets Time Track­ing (Tsheets) One of beau­ties of the ecosys­tem model is that it al­lows In­tuit to ex­pand the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of Quickbooks with­out do­ing the de­vel­op­ment it­self. And with Tsheets’ time track­ing app, the re­sults were so com­pelling that In­tuit ac­tu­ally ac­quired the com­pany in late 2017. As if that wasn’t en­dorse­ment enough, it was also by far the top choice of AT read­ers in the Time Track­ing Cat­e­gory.

AT

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