Customer Relationship Management applications are widely used as are accounting programs such as Quickbooks. If you’ve already implemented these solutions and are using them effectively you may wonder if integrating the two of them can further enhance business efficiency. Integrating your CRM and accounting tools will allow you to share your financial data with your sales team and may provide several other benefits.
Benefits of Integration:
- Centralization of accounts and contacts. Being able to see all of the details for one customer account in one system saves time and provides a clearer picture.
- Provide better insights into past trends and enable better forecasting for the future.
- Reduced search time, which can result in increased productivity.
- Less time spent performing manual data entry.
- Better teamwork/communication between sales and Finance/accounting staff.
Despite the benefits of integrating CRM and accounting tools it isn’t always necessary nor as simple as it may appear. Here are two important factors to consider when deciding whether or not integrating your CRM and accounting software is worth the effort:
Cost & Simplicity: Most integrations can be done cost effectively. Many of the major SaaS applications on the market have already done some of the work for us and made it easy to integrate with other commonly used CRM tools. Many come with built-in integrations already setup, an example would be integrating Quickbooks with Salesforce. However, if you are dealing with a less common program or your own custom software such integrations can be more time consuming and expensive. If the cost outweighs the need it may be better for the applications to remain disparate. Keep in mind that integrations are not a one-time thing. They need to be updated and maintained as the applications evolve over time and this can incur additional costs.
Importance: While an integration is beneficial, the degree to which it is beneficial varies depending on the needs of your business. If you have a lot of data to enter on a regular basis and find yourself or your staff spending too much time entering duplicate data into both CRM and accounting applications then an integration could be in order. However, if you don’t deal with much data or have a lower sales volume you’ll probably find that the integration won’t have a huge impact.
In order to assess whether or not an integration is necessary it is wise to implement both your CRM and accounting applications, spend a at least a few months using them, and then decide to opt for the integration. Integrating applications before deploying them may result in an unnecessary integration as it may turn out to be inessential, or you may find that one of the tools you selected doesn’t meet your needs and decide to change to or develop an entirely different application.
Keep Features Role Specific: While reducing data entry and allowing for easier invoicing is good for sales and accounting staff, using the features of CRM and accounting platforms from one integrated application is usually only desirable for the management and administrators. At the end of the day sales and accounting tasks are vastly different. Accounting systems contain high-quality data that is presented in a very clear, detail oriented manner. CRM systems typically have more ambiguous data with blank fields and notes that only make sense to the sales person who entered them. Rather than seamlessly integrating the CRM and accounting systems it is often better to ensure they only share data and features that are used by both teams in order to minimize frustration and confusion.
Interested in integrating your CRM and accounting applications? Contact us for more information.