Someone smart once told me that the first place business owners go to for advice is either their accountant or lawyer – ironically it was actually my accountant that told me this.
It was this bit of advice ultimately behind the decision to draw a line in the sand as to how far we’d take WORK[etc]. This line we won’t be crossing is rolling out a full blown accounting module into WORK[etc].
To do so would mean that before we could sell the product, we’d have to be educating accountants. That is a pretty expensive proposition to undertake; educating a market before you can actually sell into it is a heap of work, time and risk I couldn’t afford to take on.
And then if we had gone down this path not only would we have to be all over the nuances of accounting rules that apply in the 40 odd countries we have customers in, we would also have to stay up-to-date. Again more work and time. And lets not even take into account trying to compete with existing, established and excellent products like Quickbooks and Xero!
Which of course presents a problem. Our goal of putting an end to double entry kind of gets blown out of orbit.
Sure, you can export stuff out of WORK[etc]; downloading a file to your desktop. But then you have to upload and import into your accounting software and hope all the fields are going to match up. Easy at first but painful by the 20th time you run the process.
So a few weeks back we finally got talent and resources in place to start building and rolling out live interactions with Quickbooks and Xero.
Last week I announced the Quickbooks Desktop integration. Today I can announce the impending release of Xero. What this means is that we’re at an internal testing stage for both integrations and expect to be able them more available very soon.
Discovery: WORK[etc] Invoicing is more Powerful than we Realised
One of the challenges we had with both integrations is the method of invoice creation we built into WORK[etc]. With transparency in mind, we set the original invoicing engine with options to show ancillary items such as discounts, taxes and shipping as completely separate line items.
This means that with a detailed WORK[etc] invoice, your customers can easily see exactly how the total amount on their invoice is calculated. They can effortlessly understand discounts, shipping rates and taxes (or you can choose to just produce very simple invoices).
The first idea here was to eliminate end customer queries; especially from those end customers who use the excuse “I didn’t understand my invoice” to delay actually paying their account (you all know exactly the kind of customer I’m referring to).
The second idea was that invoicing is marketing. If you’re providing a customer with a discount, then you absolutely want to be reminding them at every opportunity. If you’re throwing in some extra free time or including free shipping, then shout it out loud.
This detailed invoice approach also allows flexibility depending on convention in your country or region. For example, you can:
- Choose to apply discounts to the before-tax price or the after-tax price; especially handy for a “we’ll pay your VAT” type promotion
- Apply different discounts to different items in your invoice and easily see the discount benefit as it applies to each individual item, making sure your customer is absolutely aware of the benefit
- Choose which order to apply state, canton or federal taxes and whether to apply progressively or to the original amount; particularly relevant to some of the European countries
- Include multiple shipping charges for different line items on the same invoice
- Provide your customers with different levels of detail in the invoice. For example, notes that are created as part of a timesheet entry can be included, or you can elect to just provide the applicable activity type or project
… Back to the integrations
Both Quickbooks and Xero don’t accomodate ordering discounts, shipping and taxes as discrete line items. We didn’t want to sacrifice WORK[etc]’s invoicing functionality just because we we’re integrating with other products.
So what we’ve done is kept all invoicing function inside of Wetc and just focussed on synchronizing meaningful invoice data through to the end software package. Kind of tricky but we’re almost there.
Here are some screenshots of Xero in action (click to zoom):
Update for Quickbooks Desktop Beta, Invitation for Xero Beta Testers
So last week we put the call out for Quickbooks (Desktop) beta testers. Everyone that replied will (most likely) get access to the installer late this week. We still need to run some install tests for various combos’ of Quickbooks and Windows.
Depending on how long it takes for Xero to approve our Partner Add-on status, we should hopefully be seeding the Xero integration within the next 14 days.
If you want to try out the Xero Integration, please throw your account name into the comments below. We’ll then reach out when its ready to roll.
Oh – and coming up over the next few weeks is the new Groups & Permissions and Outlook Add-in betas.