I recently wrote about the amazing power of today’s accounting software productivity tools that allow you to do much more with less staff. But because my view was focused on accounting software, I was missing a much more important productivity development for small business owners. Software applications designed for different business functions, such as sales and customer relationship management (or CRM), are integrating with accounting software to eliminate redundancies and dramatically improve productivity and customer satisfaction.
As author of the QuickBooks blog on AllBusiness.com, I’m increasingly contacted by software companies promoting applications that integrate with QuickBooks, and I’m beginning to see the type of integrated functionality that only large businesses could afford in the past. These innovations are, no doubt, being implemented on all commonly used accounting applications. Read on and find out what’s available from your own supplier.
Let’s look at some examples of what this can mean for your business.
Imagine accounting, sales, marketing, and production staff having security-restricted access to a common, constantly updated data source that can give them exactly the information they need; no more duplication of effort and outdated information. I was contacted last week by the developer of a widely used CRM application that can now synchronize with QuickBooks. At a recent luncheon, a friend in property management expressed frustration that his accounting software couldn’t give him quick access to client information when a call came in — inexpensive solutions to this need are coming to market.
Imagine customers and sales reps taking full control of their buying needs and following order fulfillment 24/7 while they update your accounting for you. As long as they have Internet access they can get real-time pricing and availability, place their own orders, check their order status, and review their invoices and payments. Warehouse shipping instructions are submitted electronically and an invoice-detail screen lets sales reps and customers track shipments.
Imagine having immediate access to the location and job status of field service personnel that allows you to quickly and most effectively schedule job orders as they come in. You can even see where employees are on a Google map to schedule service based on the closest qualified technician. All employees need is an Internet-enabled mobile phone with GPS capabilities and a small monthly subscription.
I purchased a snack on a flight to Salt Lake City recently and, rather than take cash, the flight attendant swiped my credit card on her PDA, almost immediately showed me her screen showing the card approved, and gave me my snack.
Keeping up with available technology is becoming increasingly important to remain competitive. Check with experts on your own accounting software to see what competitive advantages you may be overlooking.