QuickBooks Sync by Product Line Item

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  • Official comment
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    Tim Sarrantonio

    Hi folks. As you may have seen, we released the updates to Quickbooks over the weekend. We're currently working on an overview video for both QBO and Quickbooks Desktop but the documentation has been updated to reflect the changes.

    I wanted to thank each and every one of you for contributing to how this was designed, tested, and released. We took all feedback and hope that the release addresses each of the concerns not only listed in this thread but also the follow up emails and phone calls made by our team with several of you about how NeonCRM can best connect with Quickbooks.

    As always, continue to post ideas on how to make NeonCRM better! This thread is a great example of ensuring that your voice does absolutely matter in product design of the system you rely on. I'm personally excited to see how it works for you folks.

  • Avatar
    Louise Kelly

    Hi - I agree with you that you shouldn't personally have to pay for this. We have the same need - although slightly different stated. We need to be able to sync different membership levels directly to their precise counterparts in Quickbooks. I am guessing that many membership organizations have the same need - they track each membership level in separate accounts in Quickbooks. We are still going to go ahead with using the QB sync, but the current requirement to lump all memberships into one service item/account in Quickbooks means that we have an extra processing step after we do the sync. I would think this would be a worthwhile enhancement to the QB sync and would benefit many Neon customers...

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    Angela Bole

    Thanks, Louise! I haven't heard anything further from Neon on this but my fingers are crossed. Hopefully more people will chime in so we can get a sense of the size of the problem. Thanks again!

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    Jon Haeber

    I agree. We're in much the same boat as Louise. Our memberships are mapped to different accounts. Similarly, our events are often mapped to different accounts and classes in Quickbooks.  Currently, the only usable sync is Donations/Sponsorships, so we opted not to put the time and resources into using the Neon sync if it only applied to our least frequently used transaction. We built a custom template and are using a third-party tool to do most of the legwork, but it required building custom transaction reports and formatting the excel file exactly as it should be for importing into Quickbooks using the third-party tool. It was a long, tedious process, and it would have been much easier if Neon's Quickbooks sync capability was fully functional for the needs of a typical nonprofit. 

  • Avatar
    Angela Bole

    Thanks, Jon! I still haven't heard about any moves in this direction from Neon. I'm hopeful. It takes us several hours each month to manually map payments made through Neon into QuickBooks. Not ideal.

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    Louise Kelly

    Hi all -just an update that our organization just decided to stop using the Neon sync. Our accountant just did a demonstration of how long it takes to process synced membership transactions (i.e. having to go into Quickbooks post-sync and re-assign each transaction to the correct Account / class, etc). vs. how long it took to just manually enter the record in Quickbooks. Manual data entry in Quickbooks took less time - so that is what we are going back to. If Neon ever enhances its Quickbooks mapping in the way we've been discussing here we would start to use the sync again.

  • Avatar
    Angela Bole

    Thanks for the update, Louise. Yes, we continue to do everything manually, as well. Here's hoping things change!

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    John Oppenheim

    I am both a QB consultant and also have done other CRM systems.  Most CRM companies really don't understand QB.  A few years ago I talked with one of the developers to explain how classes work in QB.  They actually improved the sync by using Purpose as the class.  Unfortunately, they don't consider all financial transactions the same - so events are not part of the transaction report as far as i can tell.  It would be great to have one report for all transactions, no matter their origin.  

    i am now the administrator and bookkeeper for a nonprofit.  We are implementing Neon and it will work great for the Neon side.  I also don't really care about having QB with the same transactions as Neon and plan to summary post either monthly or weekly (probably monthly).  Currently the purpose doesn't show up in the Event report so I am creating a Campaign for each Event (and we have lots) which has a purpose which is the same as the Event.  I will then have to run two reports (or three if we start charging for memberships) in order to post to QB. The donations are in the transaction report, the Events will be in the Campaign report.  I will download the Campaign report to Excel and run a pivot table to get the totals for the classes.

    I would like to see a summary posting to QB as well as each transaction for those of us who don't need the detail in both places.

  • Avatar
    Dawnmarie Zimmerman

    Hello all and thank you Angela for starting this thread.

    I have lost many hours due to this issue.  Like many of you, we opted to move from a previous CRM that handled our membership as well as online merchandise sales and Event registrations with the excitement that the Neon system would sync with our Quickbooks Online account.  The flattening of transaction types to Event, Membership, Donation and Product does nothing for a non-profit tracking  specific program items that may be matching grant dependent or as in our case, with a complex conference event where workshops, meal events, exhibit fees, sponsorships and registration fee are all tracked separately in Quickbooks as individual income account lines.  We are going to be forced to use an alternate method for processing event registrations for the coming year because of this inadequacy of the sync capabilities.  

     

  • Avatar
    Tim Sarrantonio

    Hi folks,

    A few important things on this thread, especially given that I'm also a NeonCRM / Quickbooks user too and want to see upgrades too!

    1. I want to stress to everyone that we aren't ignoring this issue at all. If anything, it's the opposite. Quickbooks has and continues to be a high priority development item. For instance, we just were put officially into the Intuit Apps Directory and that means we have their official stamp of approval. We also have other items that are being developed and being deployed to assist in the overall user experience and ease of use.

    2. Quickbooks is one of the more difficult things to program for and that's due to several reasons I'd like to highlight. The first is that its an entirely different program that we need to "speak" to and therefore need to ensure that the 3rd party (Intuit) is accepting anything that we do. The second is that every single one of your organizations does things differently and we need to attempt to anticipate that. Third is that we are also trying to prioritize other projects and needs - technical issues reported by users, upgrades like the ones we release every month, user experience overhauls, and more. There's simply only enough hours in the day and it's a matter of scheduling what needs to be.

    3. The way we do our development process is through meetings between departments where we discuss items that are brought up in the forum like this. These are then fleshed out based off user stories like what is listed here. However, this particular issue presents a few challenges that we want your feedback on to help us:

    a. What is the highest priority that needs to be synced and given more granular detail like Donations? Store Products, Memberships, or Events? They all act completely differently and need to have different tables/fields that are opened up to allow for deeper mapping. Each type of transaction will take its own set of time and if the answer is "All of the above" that takes a lot more time. If we are able to see that one particular Transaction is the biggest pain point, then we know where to focus our energy on and then tackle the rest.

    b. Our assumption is that your organization does not want to map a transaction each and every time, which is why broader fields (e.g. Fund or Purpose for Donations) are most likely how we choose this. 

    - What structure will be most useful for Memberships, in your opinion?  Should it be the Membership Type or the Membership Term?
    - What structure will be most useful for Events, in your opinion? Would the Category field be useful? Should we zero in on the existing Campaign, Fund, Purpose fields?
    - What structure will be most useful for Store Products? Would it actually be each individual product or should it be broader? Again, the concern is that we feel folks would get annoyed having to map every individual product they end up creating.

    We're absolutely taking this seriously and listening, so please give us as much constructive feedback as possible that continue to give us user stories and/or specific fields that would be ideal and applicable to the broadest amount of folks.  This is how we make NeonCRM better and thank you for all the feedback!

  • Avatar
    Dawnmarie Zimmerman

    Hi Tim,  

    Thank you for weighing in. I get that this is a difficult task.   I have been using Quickbooks Online since it was created and it is a recent development for them to "open the channels" as it were to allow content to be imported.  With the previous CRM I used, I was able to map my transactions using the App., Transaction Importer Pro as it was the first such app that would provide a gateway or direct import utility to get information from outside software into QBO without doing by hand.  

    In answer to your questions....   

    3a.  For me without a doubt it is Events, Memberships, Donation and Products in that order for priority to "get granular".  

    3b. I can understand the assumption that an Org would only need income distilled into these 4 areas as necessary because, those are the basic income areas the IRS is interested in as well.  However, in management of my org, building budgets, evaluating potential partnerships with other companies and orgs, transparency with constituents, and like I mentioned, especially when working with Grant Funding, being able to show the granular side of the income is vital.  

    Even if we were able to run a granular spreadsheet report with the transactions by day with detailed listing of items purchased by constituent, by order, with contact info detailed so that our accountant could come up with something comprehensive would be nice.  The current reporting structure to get to this is very difficult to find and get filtered out.   And forget it if a constituent registered for their event, made a donation, bought a book and renewed their membership all in one transaction!  

    For events, I think being able to map the Neon event  AND Session categories to a QBO Product Items would be all I would need.   The Session Categories are where I need to get the granulation desired  I already have my QBO Product Items set to feed the appropriate QBO Income Account.  If I could have my Session Categories (Workshops, F&B events, Exhibit space, Tours, etc.) able to feed across the sync to set Product Items, I would be SET!  

    The most useful structuring for memberships would be simply between New and Renewals as the Membership Reports available do a pretty good job with tracking my member types.  My strategic initiatives are geared toward tracking member retention and growth so looking at how my new member income looks after a program launch against our monthly budget projections would be ideal as an example.  

    Third in priority for me would be Sponsorship, by Campaign.  If I could designate donations on a custom form to attribute to a specific campaign that could be mapped to a set Product Item, I could direct donors to the form I want used to collect and funnel funds to a specific QBO Product Line.   (Conference Sponsorships, Scholarship Donations, General Fund Donations, etc.) 

    My products are very straight forward and are truly supplemental for us so, no granulation needed here for me but I could see, depending on how products are produced or funded, there could be a need for others.  Our Events and Memberships are our primary income streams, therefore are where we are ever vigilant and oh so granular.  

    I do appreciate that this issue has not fallen off the radar and that you checked in with the group to dig deeper to understand the issue.  Looking forward to see how others need this structured and how it all develops.  

     

  • Avatar
    Louise Kelly

    Hi Tim - thank you so much for your thoughtful response and for keeping us all in the loop re Z2 System's thinking about this issue. A few comments:

     

    1. Unfortunately our organization ended up getting kind of burned using the sync- we unfortunately didn't monitor things as carefully as we should have and it ended up creating a big mess in Quickbooks ( fyi much of this was 'user error' - see details below). So I think even if you came up with a perfect solution, it might be awhile before we'd be willing to try it again just because there would be nervousness based on our past history.
    2. I've been working with a different CRM recently that uses a 'batch' approach to reconciliation between the CRM and the accounting system - namely you assign a batch ID to transactions in the CRM, then just record the revenue total for that batch ID in the accounting system. It's totally not as automated as what you are trying to do -but it's a nice simple solution for reconciling between a CRM and Quickbooks (or any accounting system). I'm wondering if this is something you would consider building as an alternative solution for folks who aren't up for the work of configuring a direct QB sync (and/or don't use Quickbooks!)
    3. To directly answer your questions (and btw, this points out the challenges you face in fully building out the QB sync) -here are my answers, which aren't quite the same as Dawnmarie's:

    3a.  Memberships, Events, Donations, and Products (in terms of order of priority).

    3b. 

    • For us Membership Term (or Level) is most  important - we track revenue volumes by different membership levels
    • For events (and donations) Fund would probably be fine although category could help as well (we distinguish between fundraisers and programs (educational / cultural)
    • Donations was already fine because it could map to Fund, and we almost never use Products

    But as I said before - after more digging into what went wrong with the QB sync for us- a lot of it was procedural - bottom line we are a small non-profit serving an older demographic and a lot of our revenue still comes in 'offline'- and has to be manually entered into Neon. Sometimes that Neon data entry occurs significantly after the revenue comes in, and what apparently happened was that the accounting person, in depositing the revenue, would record the transaction in Quickbooks, and then weeks later when the transaction actually got recorded in Neon, the item got synced over AGAIN and created a duplicate. I don't know how you could create a sync tool that would prevent this - it's a process problem - which is why our organization now is unlikely to go to a fully automated sync again. But a batch ID tool that allowed for a semi-manual way of tying revenue recorded in Quickbooks back to detailed transactions in Neon - that might be something we would use. 

    Thanks Tim - I've been really impressed by all the product improvements you guys have made over the years and appreciate your hard work!

     

    -Louise

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    Angela Bole

    Hi Tim,

    Yes, I can see how you would get different priorities from different users. Sounds like working with an association board of directors, if you ask me! I feel your pain. Still, even if it takes 3 years, I appreciate that you're willing to start somewhere. "How to eat an elephant..." and all that.

    3a. For us, it is Products, Memberships, Events, and Donations in terms of priority.  

    3b.

    • Membership Term (or Level) is most important for us.
    • We don't have an issue with Events. This is granular enough for us, as is.
    • We never use Donations - we're not a charity in the way using Donations would make sense. 
    • We depend on our Products quite heavily so this is where we need the most help. Yes, I would like to map each individual product to an associated revenue line in QuickBooks. This is what I'm currently having to do manually.

     Thank you, Tim, for responding to this thread. I appreciate your time.

    Angela.

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    Joanna Coatney

    I have just discovered the same thing--that my inventory in Quickbooks Online is not being updated when my Neon orders are getting sent to QBO. Like Angela I also need to see specific sales data for each product and we have more than 100 products. This is very disappointing as I did not realize this was going to be the case. I am going to have to do multiple reports in various systems to look and see how many of one particular product sold. Along with a couple other issues with the QBO integration I am starting to slightly regret choosing Neon. The hope was that Neon would reduce my workload and amount of data entry (which it has to some degree) but it has not like I had hoped. Because we use a physical bank account for our mail order checks and donations and a PayPal account for our online store orders and donations we use these two separate bank accounts. However, Neon will only let you select one bank account for transactions for integrating with QBO. So when I receive mail order checks and donations I am having to enter them in Neon (so the customer has a record of donations and orders) and then select to "not sync transactions" and then go into QBO and enter the deposit/sales receipt/donation there as well. This is double data entry which I thought Neon was going to free me from?! I am now finding that some of these "do not sync" transactions are still showing up in QBO and so I am having to do even more extra work when I reconcile our bank accounts deleted double entry transactions!!! ?Frustrating and disappointing. 

     

    This is really making me start to regret our decision choosing Neon, along with some other disappointing things (mostly frustrations with the QBO integration). I already have to double enter mailed in donation checks because they get deposited to a diffgerent 

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    John Oppenheim

    I have not worked with QBO and really haven't done the integration as i explained in another post.  Joanne, in reading your post, however, I am wondering if you can use the Undeposited Fudns for your deposit into QBO.  Then you can break them out there.  

    I haven't tried working with the integration but I have worked with other systems that send sales receipts into QB so I can't address the rest of your issues.  One issue with Events that hasn't been addressed by Neon is that the Purpose is the Class and they don't allow a Purpose in the Event setup except for the nondeductible amount.  I am only going to summary post so I create a Campaign for each event and that gives me the Purpose in my totals.  I then use Excel's Pivot Tables to get Fund/Purpose.

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    Joanna Coatney

    Hi John--thanks for your comment. Can you elaborate on the undeposited funds idea? What would the process be? I am curious to try it. Would I re-map my neon transactions to the undeposited funds in my quickbooks? And then what happens on the quickbooks side of things? What would I have to do there. Just not sure exactly how that works but maybe that is the answer to my problem...?!! 

  • Avatar
    John Oppenheim

    If you use undeposited funds, all the synchronization goes to that account.  Then, when you make a deposit, you transfer the funds to the bank and that way it is easier to reconcile the monthly statement.  I hope that is clear.  If not, my email address is lbjohnopp@gmail.com.

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    Chris Zitzmann

    Glad to come across this thread, though I wish I had seen it sooner. We are encountering the same challenges, mostly due to many of our Product and Event transactions being synced over to QB without a class (purpose). We need more granular mappings, otherwise our accounting is thrown off without manually classifying all these transactions (very time-consuming and frustrating).

    To answer your specific questions, Tim:

    a. Events and products are essential for us. Memberships are optional right now (since we currently only have one type of membership)

    b. Correct, we do not want to map a transaction each and every time

    • Membership TYPE would certainly make the most sense to us, being able to map it to QB Class
    • For Events, while the category field MIGHT be useful, I think it makes more sense to zero in on the existing Campaign, Fund, Purpose fields...specifically the purpose being mapped to class is essential for us. And, since tax-deductible monies end up in a different QB class than non-deductible registration fees/donations, it seems like adding a "Purpose" (similar to the existing event "fund") field for each event would allow things to sync over properly. (and Purpose/Fund would continue to follow the master mappings already setup in Neon)
    • For Store Products, individual products probably make the most sense because for us, the sale of some products is technically "unrelated business income" which is reported separately to IRS (and thus, separate QB account). I would recommend the product category have a default fund and purpose, which would then automatically populate each product's fund/purpose when a new product is created with a category. Then, the new product's fund/purpose would only need to be changed in the case of exceptions, but not every time.  (much like donations automatically populate fund/purpose when a campaign is selected--which is based upon the default fund/purpose we set for each campaign)
  • Avatar
    John Oppenheim

    again, the ability to map directly to a purpose (class in QB) is mentioned.  The only way around this is to create a Campaign that has that particular event's purpose.  This creates a lot of unwanted Campaigns but is the only way to get purpose for an event.  I have mentioned this a few times.

  • Avatar
    Caitlin McNally

    Our 2 cents on how QB is not working as well as it could be. (Sorry this in not int he format of how Tim asked his questions, but this information is directly from our Operations Director). Hopefully these comments can help with future developments.

     

    The transfer of the transactions into QuickBooks is going fine. The problem is once the information is in QuickBooks, it’s time consuming to manipulate each transaction and there’s information not provided that could help get the deposit ready in a timely manner.

    • All transactions come into QuickBooks as Invoices and as Undeposited Funds. That may be something I just have to get used to. I thought I chose to not have Neon create invoices, but I’m not sure.
    • If an invoice was created in QBs, and payment added in Neon then synced to QBs, QBs still only shows the invoiced date and not the paid date for monthly financials. Again, something we may have to get used to and we will have to inform our Board of Directors of, but not sure.
    • Transactions must be changed separately in QuickBooks (on a QB generated report) to add the correct Classification. Otherwise, QuickBooks doesn’t know where to put the money. We track everything by Classification. I tried entering the Classification on the Deposit screen in QB, but that didn’t change it. QBs will not allow me to change the Account from the Deposit screen.
    • Our Donations and Events have multiple Classifications they can be put into. We currently have 3 events that are all Classed differently. We are hoping there’s a way to communicate those differences in Neon with QBs.
    • Is there a place in Neon to indicate what the transaction is for, so that it shows up in QBs in the Memo of the deposit after it’s synced.
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    Mike Vinciquerra

    I want to second the requests for Event Purposes to have the capability of synching with Classes in QuickBooks. Our finance manager also manages everything through the Classes feature in QB, but only Donations can sync there. We host many events and are a membership organization.  We'd love the ability for Donations, Membership Gifts and Events to all sync to Quickbooks Classes through Campaigns, but if those three at least could follow the Donations by synching from Purpose to Classes in QB, our lives would be a lot easier.

  • Avatar
    Tim Sarrantonio

    Hi folks. Just wanted to give you an update on this project. We've come up with a proposal and would love to hear your thoughts on the mock up flow options that we're thinking about. 

    If interested, please email me at tim@z2systems.com and I'll supply the information and solicit your feedback to ensure we meet your needs! 

  • Avatar
    Tim Sarrantonio

    Hey folks,

    Just popping in again with an update. We've received some great feedback and have started to mock things up. This is already being translated into what you would see and the development team is beginning to scope things out for how long this will take to program.

    Attached is an example of what we're envisioning for the flow and assignment. I'm especially excited that we're looking into allowing mapping tenders over to specific Deposit To accounts. The other major component is that both Service Items AND Classes will be coming over to Quickbooks so nothing is necessarily mutually exclusive. 

    Important things to note :

    1. This isn't what it will look like in NeonCRM. This is just a quick sketch to get our ideas down.

    2. Things can change. We're still getting feedback from accountants, clients, and our development team so nothing is absolute but we're confident enough to share this sketch of the direction this project is taking. 

    3. We don't have an absolute timeline on this other than we can say later this year. We don't want to set unrealistic expectations and sometimes projects get pushed back and that just makes folks sad if they were promised a specific date. We only promise what we know we can deliver.

    So that's what's going on!

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    Jon Haeber

    Tim, 

    This is encouraging news. Thanks for the update! Our third party solution is still chugging along just fine, but this is great news for the nonprofits who are still trying to figure out how to map their transactions to Quickbooks. 

    Best 

    Jon

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