QuickBooks Doc Center or SharePoint?

QuickBooks’ Doc Center is where you can store a document, give it a name, title, description, comments, attach keywords so you can look up related documents, and attach it to a transaction or item. So do you keep your documents in QuickBooks, SharePoint or both?

Since the accounting for your business occurs in QuickBooks, then you should keep those documents, with two exceptions, just in QuickBooks. I see no need for Vendor invoices, checks, credit memos, etc. residing in two places. SharePoint really does not provide any advantages over QuickBooks in this area.

An exception may be in areas where you are generating financial or accounting documents outside of QuickBooks. The post Sales Proposals in SharePoint Online is an example. We can use Microsoft Office’s capabilities to produce templates for uniformity and efficiency, tie them into sales and marketing, and make them easily assessable to everyone in the business so they can use them as references for multiple tasks. Also let’s face it, the job estimation in QuickBooks is rather primitive. Another example may be customer and job billing. QuickBooks’ billing templates are limited and many small businesses use Word or Excel to produce more complete and attractive billing statements.

A second exception would be if you need non accounting employees to access QuickBooks documents. Why have to pay for licenses and maintain them as users within QuickBooks for this one purpose?  In this case you may want to keep them in both places.

Non accounting and financial documents are more effectively handled in SharePoint and I cannot see any value of keeping these in QuickBooks’ Doc Center.

Sales Proposal Tracking

The post Sales Proposals in SharePoint discusses the generation of such documents. The question then comes: How do we track our school irrigation proposal once it is submitted? The posts addressing customer management (search tagline CRM) using SharePoint, particularly Lead Tracking – Direct Sales gives an example how sales and marketing activities can be managed using SharePoint. I would recommend that proposal tracking be incorporated into the overall customer relationship management process as displayed by our examples.

For those looking for a simple way to track proposals, here is a possible approach:

Proposal Document Library with tracking1

I added the following to our Proposal Library web page:

  • Date Submitted.  Tracks the date we gave it to the school.
  • Decision Date. The date on which they will make the award.
  • Disposition.  A drop down list to track its status.  The options being Accepted, Cancelled, Pending, and Rejected.  This lets us report on what finally happened to the proposal.
  • Notes.
  • Assigned To.  The QuickBooks Sample Larry’s Landscape and Garden Supply employee responsible for follow up.
  • Proposed $.  I can also sum this column on the web page so I can see the total value of Pending proposals.

Besides keeping the proposal in the document library, we could also add copy as an attachment to the school customer information on the “Customer & Prospect List.”  This allows it to be viewed from different pages.  Of course doing a site search would also bring us to the proposal.

Sales Proposals in SharePoint Online

The post Task List Templates in Service Delivery discusses how to setup a standard task plan for hypothetical project.

So now let’s pretend that one of our prospects, a school with a ten-acre lot, requests us to submit an irrigation design proposal.  Here is how we can efficiently handle the proposal document in SharePoint:

  1. Setup a Proposal Document Library on the Marketing & Sales subsite to handle Larry’s proposals.

  2. Set up a Workflow that automatically sets the review and approval process once the proposal is completed.

  3. Add an irrigation planning project proposal template to the library. This ensures that all proposals are complete and uniform.
  4. Along with the proposal template, the Irrigation Design Tasks template is exported to Excel and added to the library to ensure that bids are uniformly prepared. Notice that I added hours and project rate columns to spreadsheet in order compute the bid.

  5. Searched the library for other proposal to schools on ten acres to see how we bid and price those projects. I found that we had such a proposal. (I should note here that in a real business environment, I would have searched previously completed irrigation projects to understand how well we did compared to their bids in order to ensure a sound bid.)

  6. Opened both the irrigation proposal template and worksheet. Completed both of them and then saved them to document library.  Now I can wait for the message back telling me either the proposal and bid was approved or what changes need to be made.