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powerdog

need Quickbooks?

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We have a very small Web-based family business, selling artwork. The family member who handed accounting and order fulfillment is leaving the partnership, and I have to take over his role. I'm new to this, but used Filemaker many versions ago.

Until now, records have been kept in QB. I know that FM can handle many accounting tasks that QB handles. My question is, do I need both programs? We do not need to handle payroll or invoices (people pay upon ordering), but need to track income and expenses for tax purposes. The volume of orders is very low, at most a couple a month.

If I can manage with just FM, that would appeal to me because I'd also use it to track marketing, special offers, etc.

Another way to express my question: under what circumstances DO you need both programs?

Thanks!

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There is/was a plug-in that allowed FMP to talk to QuickBooks. Don't know if it works with 7. Check the FileMaker web site under plug-ins.

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Yes, it's at filebookslink.com, but it only works with PC. I'm on Mac. Anyway, it doesn't matter. My question isn't whether you can link the two programs, but whether I NEED both programs.

What would I be missing without QB? What can QB do that FM can't do?

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One thing that comes to mind is handing off data to an accountant. Many can handle QB but most have no clue about howw to use data from FMP. There are some (reportedly as I have not used them) fairly full featured accounting solutions done in FMP.

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Powerdog:

AFAIK, there's nothing QuickBooks does that FMP can't be taught to do. I'm in the middle of developing an accounting suite for a client, and building a checkbook register was one of the simplest things I've ever had to do in FileMaker. You can build accounts receivable, accounts payable, etc., fairly simply. As far as sending data to an accountant, they can use tab-separated data for import into QuickBooks (according to this client's accountant, that is), and you can always just build printed reports.

-Stanley

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Stanley,

Thanks! That's EXACTLY what I wanted to know, and what I suspected. Even tho I've never seen this mentioned in print, it seems to me QB is basically a customized DB program. In fact, I bet you could use FM Pro or FM Developer to create a QB clone!

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Yes. There are a host of accounting solutions out there, including some created using FileMaker - and some of them do indeed have a good many features in common with Quickbooks.

Stanley is correct that transfer of data between accounting solutions need not be a problem. Where the issues that Roger has mentioned may come into play is if the structure of the two databases is widely divergent.

In other words, if the ability to provide files that an accountant with QB can upload and use is likely to be needed, it will pay to find out in advance what the export requirements will be and structure your FileMaker solution with that knowledge. In other words compatibility and ease of data interchange tends to happen by design rather than by accident. wink.gif

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My two cents,

QB is just a database solution that is really good at handling financial data. But there's nothing in it you couldn't replicate with FM.

Having said that, I'm still a big QB fan. The most amazing thing about it is the price. It does an astonishing amount for $200 or so. It would take a lot more than $200 worth of development time to replicate its power. (If you're in a setting where you'd need hundreds of QB licenses it might be worth developing your own general ledger system. But for only a few seats, you come out way ahead with QB.)

Plus any accounting firm will be able to easily read in your data, and they'll feel better about security issues, audit trails, etc.

My philosophy is to let QB do what it is good at, and use FileMaker to do what QB doesn't. Create a link so they can share data and eliminate double data entry.

Good luck,

Dan

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I agree that it takes a lot of time to redo what Quickbooks can do. A better option is to forget about developing your own accounting application. Quickbooks provides the SDK for developer to customize the application. You can try to develope whatever application that you need and integrate it with Quickbooks using the SDK library they provide.

http://www.developer.intuit.com/QuickBooksSDK/Features/

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Dan,

Turns out that QB came with my Mac, so the investment is zero! Can you get me starting finding whatever info or file I'd need to link FM and QB data at no or minimal cost?

Thanks!!

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Um..., well..., now for the bad news. QuickBooks uses XML to import and export data from other applications. However, they don't build the XML engine into the Mac version of the program. Don't ask me why. But this is why FileBooks Link is a PC only application, as is my own little utility that does the job of linking FM and QB.

So, you can 1) switch to a PC (or just one PC to use as your accounting computer) 2) build your own ledger package in FM 3) Buy an off-the-shelf FM-based ledger package and integrate this with your database 4) look at some other stand-alone accounting software like MYOB (though I can't really say if or how well this integrates with FM) or 5) just live with your accounting software not talking to your database.

Sorry for the bad news. If you have just one computer for your business, then option #1 is probably pretty drastic. But if you have, say, 5 or 6, having one PC in the shop might be worth going x-platform for this need.

#2 will take some time to perfect, but you'd learn a lot about FileMaker and get just what you want. If your needs are simple -- say just creating invoices, writing checks, and making deposits -- then this might be a reasonable place to start, and develop complexity over time.

Others can give you better direction on #3 and #4.

I only mention #5 for the sake of completeness. You don't think there's anyone in this forum really willing to live with that, do you?!? wink.gif

Good luck,

Dan

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What about a variation on #2: customizing Filemaker Business Tracker? It seems to have everything EXCEPT the basics that I really need: A/P, A/R, etc! Impossibly complicated?

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I don't really know anything about Business tracker. But the idea of setting up an A/P and A/R system doesn't seem too bad. I guess it depends on how much development experience you have...

Dan

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3) Buy an off-the-shelf FM-based ledger package and integrate this with your database

Any suggestions on this? Right now I use Quicken for my checkbook and FM for invoices, etc. I am not a developer so creating a system myself would take me quite awhile. I was thinking of switching to QB, but I like the solutions I have built in FM. It would be nice to have my checkbook and applicable financial reports to integrate with my FM DB.

Thanks for the input.

Kathy

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