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Out the Door
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Intuit - QuickBooks Enterprise
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Intuit - QuickBooks (Sync Manager)
Intuit Sync Manager
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Salesforce for QuickBooks
We have posted 5 or 6 articles about ‘what is new’ in QuickBooks for 2015 but in this article we want to review a few things you either won’t find, or things that are on their way ‘out the door’ as far as QuickBooks is concerned.
Employee Organizer – “You are ‘out of here’…”
If you are milling around inside QuickBooks Enterprise 15 looking for how you get to your Employee Organizer you might as well stop looking…..it isn’t in there. That’s right, QuickBooks Enterprise for 2015 no longer includes the Employee Organizer, and who knows what has happened to all the data you had recorded in it .
Employee Organizer (Figure 2 above) was a ‘free add-in’ to QuickBooks Enterprise and in years past it was one of their big ‘selling points’. Employee Organizer allowed you to track and store critical employee information in one place within QuickBooks Enterprise, it shared data with the Employee Center and permitted the capture of things that QuickBooks Payroll simply can’t do. For example, Employee Organizer allowed you to keep track of every pay-rate change, and even provided documentation concerning bonuses and performance pay awards.
Years (and years, and years) ago I served as Personnel Director for a fairly sizeable organization for a short time. I learned very quickly that keeping the right information, knowing what questions you could and could not ask, and insuring every aspect of compensation was managed ‘to the T’ were essential. The Employee Organizer helped typical small businesses stay compliant with laws governing personnel matters and potentially allowed them to avoid the common mistakes that often times lead to litigation. Since most small to medium businesses, the kind that use QuickBooks Enterprise, don’t really have dedicated Personnel Managers, this tool gave the same kind of resources you might see in much larger businesses. Employee Organizer allowed you to track the entire ‘hiring process’, even before a candidate became an actual QuickBooks employee, you can’t do that in QuickBooks or QuickBooks Payroll.
While not very many of my Enterprise customers used Employee Organizer, the ones that did absolutely positively ‘loved it’. As I said I have no idea what will happen to the ‘wealth of data’ that was incorporated into the Employee Organizer of those clients when their Enterprise file is updated to the 2015 version. I asked a high-ranking member of the QuickBooks Enterprise product team about the reason Employee Organizer was being abandoned, and what would happen to the existing data, but I never got a reply.
Thankfully most of that data from Employee Organizer can be printed out before migrating to the new version, but in my way of thinking Intuit may well have ‘cut their throats’ on this change for the worse. Almost all ‘larger systems’ offer some form of data capture similar to Employee Organizer, it may be associated with their Payroll function, or in some cases its own Personnel module. The fact that Intuit has chosen to remove this functionality from Enterprise makes the product ‘significantly less useful’ to businesses that still do their own Payroll and Personnel management, and a lot of those businesses may simply decide that the few improvements in the 2015 product do not warrant the loss of Employee Organizer and so they just will not upgrade to Enterprise 15.
Sync- Manager - "Your tombstone has already been cast…”
Intuit has told add-on software developers that they are discontinuing Intuit Sync Manager and services that support it on March 1st of 2016 (that's about 18-months from now). Sync Manager (Figure 3 above) is a utility incorporated in QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise that synchronizes your QuickBooks company file with a copy of your data on Intuit’s “cloud-servers”. This “cloud copy” allows developers of web Apps to access, read and write-to the cloud copy which then synchronized back your desktop data. After March 1, 2016 you will no longer be able to use any 3rd party Apps that use the the Intuit Sync Manager to connect with your QuickBooks desktop data.
While there have not been a lot of these Apps produced by 3rd Party Developers, there have been a few major ones that are in use. Of course one of the biggest Apps that uses this technology has been Intuit’s own “Data Protect” back-up application. Another Intuit QuickBooks function that relies on ‘Sync Manager’ is the QuickBooks Client Collaborator that permits Accountants and QuickBooks users to communicate back-n-forth regarding QuickBooks data and matters related thereto.
Some 3rd party products chose to use their own ‘Sync-engine’ to transfer data to the desktop platform from their cloud-based Applications, rather than rely on Intuit (boy aren't they happy with that decision now). So the question is if your App will choose to either develop their own Sync utility, or if they will simply ‘go by the wayside’ without a means to connect to your desktop QuickBooks.
With all the big ‘hype’ Intuit has made about how Apps are the future of QuickBooks, it is becoming clear that they mean ‘the future of QuickBooks Online’. My hopes of one day being able to actually link QuickBooks desktop products with QuickBooks online are clearly ‘down the drain’ without an Intuit based Sync-engine like “Sync Manager”.
Salesforce for QuickBooks – “…and don’t let the door hit you on your way out…”
While not formerly a part of the release of the QuickBooks 2015 product line, it seems more than just a coincidence that Intuit announced just a few days before the new products that they were discontinuing Salesforce for QuickBooks (Figure 4 above) effective December 3, 2014. Here again is another product which Intuit hyped as a prime example of their desire to integrate with ‘other products’ by establishing a ‘strategic partnership’ designed to maximize the value of both products; but now Salesforce is “out the door”.
Salesforce was a CRM subscription that integrated with QuickBooks via the QuickBooks-Salesforce Integration App. While you can switch your subscription from Intuit to Salesforce directly and use Salesforce as a stand-alone CRM, what is to become of your ability to ‘share’ data between Intuit’s QuickBooks and your Salesforce CRM…the answer ‘nothing’, it simply won’t exist. There are certainly alternative CRM products that you can ‘migrate’ your Salesforce Data to. Alternatively, as my good friend Charlie Russell points out in his Sleeter Group Blog there are some of 3rd party utilities that may provide a way to ‘exchange data’ between QuickBooks and Salesforce, but now you are talking about additional cost, time and effort to implement an additional application to make the two applications talk.
Those of us that love QuickBooks, and have for years, are finding ourselves asking the question, "is Intuit going to ever live up to the ‘talk they talk’ when it comes to ‘partnering’?" All the talk about trying to become a platform for the future where all these Apps will integrate to provide a wealth of functionality, "is that anything more than ‘today’s talk?”
How can we ever trust what we are told, whenever it seems that after just a couple of years, what we have been told is just ‘yesterday's talk’? How can we commit to ‘this new future’, get signed-up for a bunch of new Apps, and then find that a year or so later Intuit has abandoned either the ‘connectivity’, ‘synchronization’ or means of ‘integration’, and we are now ‘out the door’ along with our Apps?
I thought all this talk about the future and 'open platform' was intended to be a way for 'everything' to work in harmony together in order to achieve more; not 'give the boot' to those things that already seem to work 'just fine'.