Wave Accounting & SharePoint Synchronization

I’m adding a short post on Wave since it has gotten good reviews and deserves to be discussed with the other accounting systems.

Wave is based in Toronto CanadaWave’s Accounting, Invoicing, and Receipt Scanning are free. Wave charges for Payroll, Credit Card and Bank payment processing.

Here is a Wave Review 2018 by Cloudwards that provides more information on the product. The reviews I have read give Wave high marks and classify it as very good for single owners/very small businesses. I believe that if Wave is used in conjunction with Office365/SharePoint the combination could meet the needs of many small business and save those businesses money on their accounting software.

Customer Synchronization

Customer are set up under Sales in Wave. Wave provides the capability of importing clients via a CSV file. The customer data in Wave is limited but if you are doing your customer management in SharePoint this would not be a factor. See my post on Customer Management for further information.

Project Synchronization

The post “The Case for a Project List” – I suggest you should set up projects in both SharePoint and QuickBooks. I also point out that although you can import from QuickBooks to SharePoint, there are multiple steps involved. It is easier to go from SharePoint to QuickBooks.

There is no concept of Job or Project in Wave. You can set up a product or service, but they are single items. Bottom line — this is not a job/project oriented application. However, you could do your project management and bill preparation in SharePoint/Office365 and record the invoices and payments in Wave.

Task Plan Synchronization

As in Xero, there is no concept of Task. You could use the product/service field to track tasks but then you can’t track a project if you use those fields for that purpose. Again, this is not a drawback if you are using SharePoint Task Management capabilities.

Time Tracking

The post “SharePoint Task Plan – Tracking Time” discusses time capture alternatives. Wave has a timesheet capability as part of payroll but there is no import capability. Entering the data in two places is necessary if you are tracking hours for payroll and project or customer management.

Billing

Wave’s Estimates and Invoice features do not support importing of data. Their related reports can be exported into Excel, so you could update SharePoint with Estimate and Invoice information. As mentioned above, you could decide to undertake these functions in SharePoint.

Employee Synchronization

The posts “Example Employee List from QuickBooks” and “Setup Users by Importing” discuss synchronization between QuickBooks and SharePoint. I did not look at Wave’s employee data capabilities.

Document Management

Wave has no document management capabilities.

Overall Import/Export Capabilities

Wave has limited import capabilities but does provide report export capabilities. Unlike FreshBooks and Xero it does not have an Application Program Interface (API) that can be used by third parties to provide integration.

Bottom Line

Like Xero and Billy, if you decide to run your business mostly using SharePoint and Office365, you can use Wave to do your basic accounting, financial statement preparation, payroll and collections. Its added advantage is that the software is free.

Office 365 Business Center Preview vs SharePoint

Microsoft included Business Center in Office 365 Business Premium. They added “Preview” after the word Center since it’s a new offering. This is the link for more information on Office 365 Business Center Preview. I’m not going to go through Business Center’s pluses and minuses since its new, but at this time it doesn’t even come close to the customer management that you can do through SharePoint.

Office 365 Business Center Preview does have a couple of advantages:

  1. Syncing of Business Center customer data with QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop. I did not try QuickBooks Online but I was not able to properly sync with QuickBooks Desktop. Also, the Contact features in Business Center have some bug issues that need addressing.
  2. Ability to generate customer invoices in Business Center and sync those with QuickBooks Online and Desktop. The invoicing capabilities/features are very limited at this time and I could not find information on how to sync with the desktop version.

Business Center functions in a closed environment, unlike SharePoint, making it hard to share data. I think Microsoft would have been better off making Business Center a SharePoint application.

QuickBooks Online Tables via Microsoft Power BI Desktop Content Pack

The post Using Power BI & SharePoint Online to Solve the QuickBooks Online “Type” Void discusses how the three products can be brought together to improve management reporting and fill a void in QuickBooks Online (QBO). I will be publishing more posts on how SharePoint Online and Power BI can address other reporting voids in QuickBooks Online. Therefore, I thought it would be a good idea to first list the tables currently available through the Power BI Desktop Content Pack for QuickBooks Online. The post QuickBooks Online & SharePoint Online Synchronization Revisited provides some additional background information.

Below is a screen shot of the current QuickBooks Online tables listed in the Power BI Desktop’s data source Navigator. As you can see there are 39 tables and 2 functions.

Power BI tries to figure out the table relationships for all but a dozen or so tables but doesn’t do a great job of it. Many of the tables are also de-normalized so you don’t need them all to do reporting. The GeneralLedger table is a good example because it contains Account Name, Customer Name, etc.

QuickBooks Online & SharePoint Online Synchronization Revisited

The post QuickBooks Online & SharePoint Online Synchronization discusses how the two products can be synchronized – the bottom line in that post being not very well. I decided to revisit this post after examining Microsoft’s QuickBooks content pack for Power BI . I briefly discuss Microsoft’s Power BI in my post Power BI and SharePoint. Power BI content packs connect to a service, in this case QuickBooks Online (QBO), and then create a Power BI dashboard and a set of Power BI reports. As Microsoft points out, the content pack is in beta and might change, so any reports and dashboards you develop may not work/need to be changed in the final version.

I uploaded QuickBooks’ Example Larry’s Landscape and Garden Supply company into QBO. (As a side note, the upload went smoothly.) I then used the Power BI content pack to connect to QBO. The content pack quickly developed a dashboard and reports for Larry’s Landscape and Garden Supply based on the example company. Below is screen shot of what was in the dashboard. The example company has very little data and its dated so the dashboard looks funny but it gives you an idea of what the content pack generates. Also Power BI map visualizations can generate odd results when first generated…I didn’t bother to go back and clean up the Customer/Client Map. You can drill down on the reports to see more detail. A neat feature of Power BI is the “Ask a question about your data”, it generates reports based on your question and based on my experience it does a pretty good job of providing the information.

As I mention in my SharePoint & Power BI post you can develop dashboards and reports for SharePoint Online lists and embed them on a SharePoint page. Power BI allows you to use multiple data sources in report development. Consequently, you can combine SharePoint List data and QBO data to develop integrated reports. Below is screen shot of a Power BI Desktop where I’ve taken in the Invoice table from QBO and the Customer & Prospect List from SharePoint so I can develop an integrated report using both data sources.

Combining SharePoint Online, QBO, and Power BI can provide small businesses with a rich environment for managing their businesses.

QuickBooks Online & SharePoint Online Synchronization

I have posted quite a bit on SharePoint and QuickBooks desktop integration and how both products can be used together. This post is on how QuickBooks Online(QBO) can or cannot integrate/work with SharePoint.

This post follows the same outline as the FreshBooks & SharePoint Synchronization post.

QuickBooks Online has 3 license plans: Simple Start for $13/month, Essentials for $27/month, and Plus for $40/month. The website has a comparison of features chart. The number of users that can access the application is 1, 3, and 5 respectively. This may be a hurdle for businesses that want full employee participation and communication.

Customer Synchronization

Like FreshBooks, QuickBooks Online does provide an example .CSV spreadsheet for importing clients. It also allows you to use Excel for customer import. Also like FreshBooks it requires client name on every row. If you have multiple contacts for a client, the result is the same client showing up multiple times after the import. Again like FreshBooks, you then need to delete all but one of the instances and then enter the contacts manually. So unless there is only one contact per client, you don’t want to be importing from a SharePoint list. You can export the Customer list to Excel so it is possible to sync SharePoint customer lists. Unlike the desktop version, the concept of types does not exist in the software. Meaning you can’t classify clients as commercial, residential, etc.

Project Synchronization

The post “The Case for a Project List” – I suggest you should set up projects in both SharePoint and QuickBooks. I also point out that although you can import from QuickBooks to SharePoint, there are multiple steps involved. It is easier to go from SharePoint to QuickBooks. There is no equivalent of QuickBooks desktop’s “Jobs”. You need to setup a sub customer for a job or project. To quote their Help “jobs in QBO are not as fully functional as they are in desktop, in QBO a job is just a sub customer.” This sub customer alternative does not allow you to import project information from SharePoint or any other application. Importing project data into SharePoint from QBO is possible via a transaction report, invoice list, etc. but it is cumbersome at best.

Task Plan Synchronization

You can setup Activities in QBO and these can be used as Tasks. Activities can be classified under a Category so a two level hierarchy is possible. I found no way either importing or exporting Activity and Category in QBO. Thus keeping SharePoint and QBO would require maintaining information in both applications.

Time Tracking

The post “SharePoint Task Plan – Tracking Time” discusses time capture alternatives. Like the desktop version QBO does not have a timesheet import capability (meaning through standard features). It does provide a timesheet report that can be exported into Excel and then imported to a SharePoint site for reporting.

Billing

QBO does not provide an import capability for sales invoices. This means that you would need to enter all invoice manually. This is not an issue if you are not preparing invoices in SharePoint. You can export Invoice detail and summary data into Excel. Consequently, that allows you to import sales invoice data into SharePoint.

Employee Synchronization

The posts “Example Employee List from QuickBooks” and “Setup Users by Importing” discuss synchronization between QuickBooks desktop and SharePoint Online. QBO does not have the same custom reporting capabilities and no other easy way of either importing or exporting staff data. Consequently, staff data would need to be entered and maintained in both places.

Document Management

QBO has no document management capabilities. There is nothing comparable to the desktop’s Doc Center. See the post “QuickBooks Doc Center or SharePoint?” for discussion on when SharePoint document management capabilities vs Doc Center.

Overall Import/Export Capabilities

QBO has limited import and export capabilities making synchronization between the two products difficult. CData’s Cloud Driver can be used with QuickBooks Online. See my post for “Real Time Updating Between SharePoint and QuickBooks” for information.

Bottom Line

Keep synchronization minimal between the two products. Use SharePoint for running your business and QBO for accounting.

NOTE: Also see post QuickBooks Online & SharePoint Synchronization Revisited.

Billy & SharePoint Synchronization

Billy is based in San Francisco, CA and appears to have around 40,000+ users. Billy has two versions: one for free and a premium version that includes all the features of the free version plus: multiple users, quotes and estimates, custom designed invoices and recurring invoices for $29.00 per month. This post follows the same outline as the FreshBooks & SharePoint Synchronization post.

Customer Synchronization

Customer are set up under Contacts as in Xero and FreshBooks. Unlike FreshBooks and Xero, Billy does not provide for importing clients. It does provide the capability to export Contacts to Excel.

Project Synchronization

The post “The Case for a Project List” – I suggest you should set up projects in both SharePoint and QuickBooks. I also point out that although you can import from QuickBooks to SharePoint, there are multiple steps involved. It is easier to go from SharePoint to QuickBooks. There is no concept of Job or Project in Billy. You can setup up a product or a service and use them to track projects but then you can’t use those fields for other billing purposes. Bottom line this is not a job/project oriented application.

Task Plan Synchronization

As in Xero, there is no concept of Task. You could use the product/service field to track tasks but then you can’t track a project. You could put task into the Description field on the Billy’s Sales Invoice but this a text box so it can’t be repeated in a drop down or combo list.

Time Tracking

The post “SharePoint Task Plan – Tracking Time” discusses time capture alternatives. Billy has neither a timesheet nor payroll capability.

Billing

Billy’s Quotes and sales Invoice features do not support importing of data. Their related reports can be exported into Excel so you could update SharePoint with Quote and Invoice information.

Employee Synchronization

The posts “Example Employee List from QuickBooks” and “Setup Users by Importing” discuss synchronization between QuickBooks and SharePoint Online. Billy does not capture employee information.

Document Management

Billy has no document management capabilities.

Overall Import/Export Capabilities

As mentioned above, Billy has no import capabilities but does provide report export capabilities. Like FreshBooks and Xero it does have an Application Program Interface (API) that can be used by third parties to provide integration, but I am not aware of SharePoint to Xero real time updating capability. See my post for “Real Time Updating Between SharePoint and QuickBooks” for more information.

Bottom Line

Like Xero, if you decide to run your business mostly using SharePoint Online, you can use Billy to do your basic accounting and financial statement preparation. You would also need to use a third party payroll application.

FreshBooks & SharePoint Synchronization

I have posted quite a bit on SharePoint and QuickBooks integration and how both products can be used together. This is the first of series of posts on how other accounting applications can or cannot integrate/work with SharePoint. The accounting systems discussed are cloud based. I have posted on Client, Project, Task Plan, Time Tracking, Billing, and Employee synchronization, document management and overall import/ export capabilities between SharePoint Online and QuickBooks. So I will comment on each of these areas in my review.

FreshBooks is based in Toronto Canada and claims that “millions of service-based small business owners use FreshBooks to bill for their time and expertise.” Since the software is geared towards service based small businesses, it would be great if it dovetails nicely with SharePoint Online. FreshBooks’ pricing scheme is a little different and can run from $12.95 to $39.95 per month. I should also point out that although it calls itself “cloud accounting” software it is not an accounting application per se: There is no chart of accounts nor double entry accounting. It started out as billing software and in my opinion that is what it still is.

Customer Synchronization

FreshBooks does provide an example .CSV spreadsheet for importing clients. However, it requires client name on every row. If you have multiple contacts for a client, the result is the same client showing up multiple times after the import. You then need to delete all but one of the instances and then enter the contacts manually. So unless there is only one contact per client, you don’t want to be importing from a SharePoint list. There is really no client detail report in FreshBooks, so the option of exporting the client information from FreshBooks to SharePoint doesn’t exist. I should also note that the concept of types does not exist in the software. Meaning you can’t classify clients as commercial, residential, etc.

Project Synchronization

The post “The Case for a Project List” – I suggest you should set up projects in both SharePoint and QuickBooks. I also point out that although you can import from QuickBooks to SharePoint, there are multiple steps involved. It is easier to go from SharePoint to QuickBooks. There is no equivalent of QuickBooks’ Add/Edit Multiple List capability in FreshBooks. Consequently, you need to enter and maintain the project in both places.

Task Plan Synchronization

As with Project Synchronization, there is no way to import Tasks into FreshBooks. You would need to maintain them in both places. Also the Task Name field is relatively short – 50 characters in length. The Jim’s Family Store Irrigation Plan task “Check with utility for buried gas and electric line” could not be fully added. I should also point out that FreshBooks does not support task hierarchies. A major drawback in being able to work with SharePoint’s project plan features. You can export invoiced Tasks by Client via Excel. This would allow you to provide Task Plan information on a Project SharePoint Site or Project Plan as described in SharePoint Task Plan post.

Time Tracking

The post “SharePoint Task Plan – Tracking Time” discusses time capture alternatives. This discussion pretty much applies to FreshBooks also. Like QuickBooks, FreshBooks does not have a timesheet import capability (meaning through standard features). It does provide a “Timesheet Details by Team” report that can be exported into Excel and then imported to a SharePoint site for reporting.

Billing

FreshBooks does not provide an import capability for sales invoices. This means that you would need to enter all invoice manually. This is not an issue if you are not preparing invoices in SharePoint. You can export Invoice detail and summary data from FreshBooks into Excel. Consequently, that allows you to import sales invoice data into SharePoint.

Employee Synchronization

The posts “Example Employee List from QuickBooks” and “Setup Users by Importing” discuss synchronization between QuickBooks and SharePoint Online. FreshBooks does not have the same custom reporting capabilities and no other easy way of either importing or exporting staff data. Consequently, staff data would need to be entered and maintained in both places.

Document Management

FreshBooks has no truly document management capabilities. These is nothing comparable to QuickBooks’ Doc Center. See the post “QuickBooks Doc Center or SharePoint?” for discussion on when SharePoint document management capabilities vs Doc Center.

Overall Import/Export Capabilities

As you can tell by the summary above, FreshBooks has limited import and export capabilities making synchronization between the two products difficult. FreshBooks does have an Application Program Interface (API) that can be used by third parties to provide integration, but I am not aware of SharePoint to FreshBooks real time updating capability. See my post for “Real Time Updating Between SharePoint and QuickBooks” for more information.

Bottom Line

Because of FreshBooks’ focus on billing for services, SharePoint Online may provide significant business improvement and operational efficiencies to FreshBooks customers. Browsing this blog can provide such ideas to FreshBooks users with minimal synchronization requirements. However keep in mind that FreshBooks is not a true accounting application.