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Lester Bahr, Certified Public Accountant Blog

Adding Apps to QuickBooks Online (QBO) to Build an Accounting Ecosystem

by Lester Bahr, CPA on 11/26/16

An "app" is simply short for an application. All apps run on an operating system such as Windows, Mac, IOS or Android. Each operating system has its own language and the app must be written using the specific language of the operating system. Apps that are built using the same operating system can interact with each other using "application programming interfaces" (or API's) These API's are sets of requirements that govern how one application can communicate and interact with another. The QuickBooks open API platform allows developers to connect their apps to QBO and seamlessly send data back and forth between them.

There are literally hundreds of different apps that will integrate with QuickBooks Online (QBO). But, how do you know when it's time to add an app and which apps do you need? Well, the simplest answer to that question is when I have a client who asks me about some particular data or management function they need to track that is not within the scope of their existing QBO, then it's time to investigate apps. Think of QBO as being your core foundational accounting platform upon which everything must filter in to. And so adding on additional apps is all about finding the right tool for the right job to automate a particular task.

Here's an example: Let's say your business is one that sells products online and uses Shopify as your ecommerce platform. Well, all the activity related to that online store must ultimately be integrated into your overall financial general ledger reporting system. Everything from purchasing your product, to inventory control, to customer order fulfillment and shipping ultimately generates financial transaction data that must be incorporated into you business' books. Suppose you also use Paypal in making purchases as well as in receiving customer payments. That is another level of activity that ultimately needs to get pushed through to your company's accounting books.

In the absence of any connectivity between Shopify, Paypal, and your company books, you would need to do a lot of manual data entry to bridge this gap in order to keep your company books up to date and accurate at all times. Trying to reconcile all this activity would be a monumental task. Thus, the purpose of using the QBO apps for Shopify and Paypal under this scenario is to be able to automatically synchronize transaction activity that affects both your ecommerce website as well as your company books.

Once you have identified a business need that goes outside the normal core accounting boundaries of QBO, it may be time to begin researching what apps are out there that already fulfill the function you need. But I cannot overemphasize the importance of looking at all the available apps thoroughly, including trying out a demo of the app. Remember, you don't want to connect an app with your QBO company file unless you fully understand the impact of the data flow sync between the app and QBO. In conjunction with this process it is essential that data fields are correctly mapped between the app and QBO during the onboarding integration process. Otherwise you could be posting entries erroneously to the wrong combinations of general ledger accounts, which of course means that your financial reports would all be wrong. Since the accuracy of your company's financial reports is the backbone of your business management and also required in your tax reporting compliance, accuracy here is clearly very important.

I am a CPA who works across the full spectrum of helping businesses optimize their accounting information workflow and procedures all the way through to the tax planning and preparation services, as well as special project consulting.

Lester R. Bahr, CPA
QuickBooks Advanced ProAdvisor for over 17 years. 



Businesses using QuickBooks Online: More design changes coming!

by Lester Bahr, CPA on 11/19/16

Intuit, developer of the widely popular QuickBooks Online accounting software for businesses announces more design changes that will start to roll out progressively to all existing users beginning around early to mid December 2016. In my communications with Intuit they indicated that "these design enhancements were developed to offer a better, consistent experience across our QuickBooks ecosystem with QuickBooks Self-Employed, Payroll, Payments and other products."

I'm sharing this link below that Intuit provides to me if you want to see what these enhancements will look like:


Lester R Bahr, CPA
Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor - since 1999


From data to decision making, providing high-touch via high-tech

by Lester Bahr, CPA on 10/15/16

Expect to see the rapid technology changes in the accounting industry continue to accelerate over the next few years. Cloud computing platforms and applications are combining with advanced analytical tools and larger sets of data sources while social and mobile computing continue to reshape our profession.

Notebooks, tablets and smartphones have become the main tools for managing the accounting professional's complex choreography of work and client service processes. These technologies continue to reinvent work and the workplace which means greater flexibility around when, where and how work gets done.

Those of us as progressive accountants interact virtually with clients under a model of "same data, same time" which has gone a long way in eliminating many of the bottlenecks previously associated with PC or server based financial data that was only accessible in one location.

All this high-tech ultimately translates into a much more personal, high-touch client experience in service delivery and satisfaction where trust continues to be the hallmark of the accounting profession.

Top ten ways a CPA can help you

by Lester Bahr, CPA on 07/11/16

1. Business Startup Process - Preparing a business plan, choosing entity type, getting all the business registrations in place, and introducing you to bankers, preparing loan proposals and connecting you with other professionals to be part of your team.

2. Offering Sound Advice - by seeing the big picture and drawing on their experiences in working with other businesses, they know what works, and what doesn't

3. Software Consulting and Training - to get the right accounting system infrastructure in place necessary to properly run the business.

4. Systems Implementation - that makes order out of chaos and insures "best practices" procedures in smooth and efficient workflows of financial information through the organization.

5. Accounting Services - needed for the preparation of financial statements as well as to help you interpret the financial information so that you can make fully informed decisions in your business. Budgeting and cash flow modeling.

6. Controller Services - because even a small business can benefit from the perspective of a CFO, which is usually beyond the budget of a small business to have a CFO on full time staff. Within this function is also making sure you have proper internal controls in place.

7. Tax Planning & Preparation - is often the most requested need that businesses have for their CPA. Tax laws are very complex and what you don't know can definitely hurt you.

8. Financial Planning - at both the business and personal level to help you reach your goals.

9. Succession Planning - in helping your business achieve self-sufficiency and planning in how to pass on ownership and monetize your ownership investment.

10. Estate Planning - in helping clients accomplish the safe passage of their lifetime assets to the next generation.

Written by: Lester R Bahr, CPA

Mac users of QuickBooks

by Lester Bahr, CPA on 07/06/16

If you are a Mac user, then you know that the Mac version of QuickBooks does not incorporate all of the functionality, or the version levels, of Quickbooks for PC’s. For example, in the PC version, a client can make a special backup copy called an “accountant’s copy” which their accountant can then restore, make all the adjustments and changes, and then prepare a backup copy to go back to the client which will sync up the changes made by the accountant to the client’s QuickBooks company file. That is a valuable workflow function in QuickBooks since it allows the client to keep working in their file, processing transactions, while their accountant is working on their file in parallel.

This option does not exist in the Mac version where the accountant is using the PC version. However, if you’re working with an accountant that’s using the PC version of QuickBooks, that doesn’t mean as a Mac user you are shut out of the process. From within the Mac version, a PC version backup file can still be created and transferred to the accountant. Granted, the accountant won’t be able to create a backup going back. It simply requires a different set of procedures in how I work with Mac users to keep their books accurate.

Of course the best way to avoid the issue altogether is to adopt the QuickBooks Online cloud version. Being browser based it’s equally accessible and gives access to the online add-on apps available for QuickBooks Online. Plus, unlike with the Mac desktop version where Intuit seems not to put much development resources, that is certainly not the case with the QuickBooks Online version which is the priority focus of Intuit to continually develop.

Lester R Bahr, CPA