Calico Blog

Quickbooks Online and API Integrations

Why Systems Should Talk to Each Other, Instead of You talking to them individually

By Dany Ayvazov - Systems Architect & Co-founder

So you've gotten into the cloud; you've migrated from your desktop, or server to the SaaS solution in Quickbooks Online. You're now thinking, I'm doing great things are awesome, and I'm going to gain so much efficiency, and finally I can stop paying the guy that came and fixed my Quickbooks instal.

You login, and things are different; not only are they different, some tools that you were used to being accessible are now gone. That Excel spreadsheet you used to import, and the one you used to export to transcribe some aspect of the estimation or invoicing process, it just doesn't work anymore.

Disaster! Roll it all back, get back to server you can download files from, this whole SaaS thing is a sham.

The above is just a colourful anecdote, but it's something we've heard often enough working in the software development industry; furthermore, that where quite a few people stop. Most people that are running smaller companies, or even medium ones, simply don't have the exposure to the world of stoware development to know that there is an alternative way to go.

Enter the API

It turns out that most software, especially SaaS software has what folks call an Application Programing Interface, which is a fancy way of saying that there is a set of instructions and limitations that describe how another system can interact with that software.

Quickbooks Online has such an API; furthermore, it has a whole marketplace where integrations like that can just be enabled, and all of a sudden one system can talk to another.

However, in my experience a lot of those tools are aimed at very technical users, and some of them won't talk to the custom tools you might have had created, or that are common within the industry that you are operating in, it turns out however, that building these kinds of integrations is a lot more accessible today. In fact this is part of what we at Calico can do, drop us a line if you think you need help in this area.

The important part though is to understand that SaaS tools, especially ones that have been around for a while, will have this as an option.

At Calico we use:

  • Stripe for payment processing

  • Harvest for invoicing and time tracking

  • Quickbooks Online for accounting

Each of these tools is actually integrated with each other, and what's better, we didn't even have to write any code for the integrations to work, it's about reading the instructions and searching a little bit.

The Upside

For us the upside is the reduction of double entry, it's about enabling us to operate with less overhead and keep the costs of administration down. Using these integrations allows us to track time, create invoices, collect payments, and reconcile those payments all in an automated way using three completely different tools, and these are not the only SaaS products out there that can do this.

So look for the all might API integrations and marketplace apps in your SaaS solutions, and if you can't find the one you need, talk to us; we'll write a custom one for you.