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What role do platforms like Salesforce and eTapestry play in nonprofit accounting? Do they interface with programs like QuickBooks and waveaccounting.com?

salesforce quickbooks and etapestry

Answers

Topic Expert
Joan Varrone
Title: CFO
Company: Cloud Cruiser
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, Cloud Cruiser) |

Salesforce does integrate with QuickBooks but it depends on the version of QB that you have. It does not integrate with the online version but will integrate with Pro and Enterprise. However I have heard that the integration process is not straightforward and there are a number of applications which can assist with the integration.. I would call Intuit to get further information I am not familiar with e Tapestry or wave accounting to comments.

(Agent, JKS Solutions, Inc.) |

I'm an Advanced QB Pro Advisor and CPA. One thing you will start to see in the near future, say the next 5 years is that CPAs will need to become the experts in knowing how to recommend cloud (SAAS) efficiency options.

Its best for any business to learn about the core of what a particular platform does well compared to others.

Salesforce would be a platform to implement if you have a sales team and want to collect data from incoming web based contact points such as your website or advertising. Salesforce is more than a list manager, it can help you to create standard process and task assignment throughout your sales function. Its a CRM, customer relationship management platform.

I'm not sure a non profit really needs one with all those features, but I suppose if it was a very large non profit with a lot of community interest and sponsorship activity, it might indeed what a full blown CRM.

If your non profit is small and you don't have various community marketing campaigns you might want to try a truncated version of a CRM, that basically tracks your contacts. If your marketing is based on a newsletter program with event announcements you may want to consider what Constant Contact has to offer because it would allow you to publish as well as track your list and create auto responders.

The lead tracking in Quickbooks is so rudimentary its not worth the effort. The only thing it offers is to turn a "lead" document into an invoice, and that is hardly worth the effort at its current stage of development.

I would suggest that you consider what constant contact has to offer, or take a look at www.methodintegration.com MethodCRM is fully integrated with Quickbooks and can be easily customized to offer greater and greater levels of service.

Method is growing in favor among Pro Advisors because it can do just about anything, handles the contact tracking and integrates with QB.

Best.

Topic Expert
Bob Stenz
Title: Controller
Company: Silicon Valley start-up
(Controller, Silicon Valley start-up) |

As a long-time QuickBooks (with SalesForce, not integrated) and more recently NetSuite (which includes its own CRM) user and having seen the pricing for both, I would give NetSuite a good looking over before considering QuickBooks with Salesforce integrated. Reason being is that Salesforce is very expensive (QuickBooks can look reletively free by comparison) and having CRM integrated with the ERP system from the start (like NetSuite) is one less hassle. Plus, with NetSuite you'll get your ERP system in the cloud (verses having a physical server for QuickBooks -or- some 3rd party hosted solution).

Lynne Taylor
Title: Principal
Company: Cloud Accounting Services for Enterprise..
(Principal, Cloud Accounting Services for Enterprises) |

Totally agree with Valerie that "one thing you will start to see in the near future, say the next 5 years is that CPAs will need to become the experts in knowing how to recommend cloud (SAAS) efficiency options."

As Valerie points out Salesforce (SF) is much more than a CRM solution. It is a Platform.

The reason SF has made such inroads into the non-profit world and been so valuable for them to manage their missions, is because early on SF CEO Marc Benioff made a commitment to social good and giving back with SF's 1-1-1 policy. Thus, SF makes available up to 10 free Enterprise user licenses to 501(c)3 non-profit organizations, which has changed the game for many non-profits by allowing them to leverage technology and do incredibly powerful social work with less cost inputs and more efficiency.

Unfortunately, what we have found is that non-profits have not had a lot of options - from both a functional and cost-efficiency standpoint - when it comes to handling their "back end" requirements, namely accounting and financial reporting. Many also seem to believe that they need special "fund accounting" software which isn't necessarily the case.

In our experience we've only found two SaaS accounting applications that "play nice" with SF. FinancialForce.com is one of them, and is a solution that is actually built on the SF Platform, which means that the application is installed into SF and extends its use beyond CRM and any other operations functionality companies have created, and also means that no external, third-party integration (which can be costly) tools are needed. Accounting users log into SF just like the Sales, Marketing or Operations users do, they just see a different set of tabs, options and screens specific to their accounting roles. FinancialForce has multiple "dimensions" which can easily handle fund accounting and reporting requirements. FinancialForce is pretty robust though, and non-profits who could often benefit from its features and functionality are not always able to justify the expense of the application.

So the other pure SaaS accounting application that offers a nice set of features for non-profits and SMBs is Xero.com. Xero offers "tracking" categories, which also can handle fund accounting requirements. The application is intuitive, inexpensive, and - like Salesforce - its development environment and platform has encouraged a diverse range of applications to handle specific business requirements and create integrations with it. One of those applications is Trineo's Dime app, which allows Xero to integrate seamlessly with SF.

With respect to eTapestry, which is a BlackBaud online fundraising product, non-profits who are using it are often using other BlackBaud applications. BlackBaud has been one of the main application providers for non-profits for many years, but many non-profits we have worked with have found that trying to move away from BlackBaud products like Raiser's Edge has been a costly and complicated proposition. Most of them have had to use a separate "non-cloud" based application like Quickbooks or Sage and have not had much luck integrating data between the separate applications.

The bottom line is that any accounting application not natively built on a Platform, or extending the use of the Platform with a seamless API integration encouraged by the platform provider, is going to need to be integrated. As most IT consultants know, that integration process is usually rife with headaches. When cloud platforms are being used with "non-cloudy" desktop or "hosted but its really like desktop" versions of Quickbooks or some other application, integrations may or may not be more complicated, but organizations are really missing the point.

In the non-profit world, metrics, transparency and accountability have become increasingly important to donors and constituents accustomed to BI technology and reporting capabilities used by for-profit businesses. Until recently, it has often been costly and time consuming for non-profits to provide this kind of reporting. Completely cloud based applications like Salesforce now allow them to do this easily and inexpensively. The missing piece of course is the critical financial data. So cloud accounting applications that are built into or extend cloud applications that non-profits are using are no-brainer solutions for these organizations and the important and often life-saving work they do!

(Agent, JKS Solutions, Inc.) |

Intacct "plays nice" with Salesforce if you decide you need a cloud based accounting system. If you are considering Wave Accounting, the free system, you probably are not at the transaction volume that would make Intacct cost effective. You need to be at the 5 employee level for Intacct at a minimum size generally.

Topic Expert
Dana Price
Title: Vice President, M&A
Company: McGraw Hill Education
(Vice President, M&A, McGraw Hill Education) |

We are changing from Quickbooks to Financial Force, which is a salesforce add on. We are only switching billing at this point and it's totally integrated. Salesforce is a wonderful tool that I both love and hate at the same time.

Marcia Foster
Title: Office Coordinator
Company: Federal Circuit Bar Association
(Office Coordinator, Federal Circuit Bar Association) |

Is anyone familiar with MemberNation which is an application for event management which uses the Salesforce platform?

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