The Case for QuickBooks

A small percentage of inquirers (now a dwindling minority) still approach their research for a new shop management system thinking that they want to find a system which has its own, built-in, fully-integrated General Ledger and/or Payroll functionality (presumably developed by the shop management vendor). Their thinking is "I want something seamless." or "I don't want to have to switch between two programs." or "I don't want to have to learn two programs."

There was a time when a system with a fully integrated accounting solution made sense. Service2000's predecessor, Senior Service Manager, had it. It worked, and it worked well - unlike many we hear about that simply do not work. In fact, most Senior Service Manager users have used it for years, and for those who have not yet switched to ServiceShop, still do.

However, as with all products in all product categories, circumstances and the factors that dictate them change with time, and what made good sense 10-15 years ago frequently no longer makes sense today. Such is the case when it comes to the subject of integrated accounting. Why? Several reasons.

1. Robust, mainstream, easy-to-learn, easy-to-use, commercial accounting software is readily available.

2. It is possible to build excellent, reliable integration to mainstream accounting software - integration that works so well that there is no real inconvenience to running two programs instead of one.

3. One brand in particular, Intuit's QuickBooks, has become the de facto standard for small business accounting software, which raises a strong case for integration with that brand in particular. Nine out of ten shops who contact us are already running it and would rather fight than switch.

4. No software developer (such as GenesisFour or any of its competitors no matter how big they are) that specializes in specific industry software (such as ServiceShop) has the resources or expertise to develop accounting software that can come close to offering the functionality that the most entry-level version of QuickBooks offers - it's not even remotely possible. In all likelihood, QuickBooks will instantly give you every accounting feature you ever dreamed of.

5. It is extremely easy to find people familiar with it. When it comes time to hire or re-hire, finding people who already know QuickBooks is relatively easy. Finding people who can train or consult on QuickBooks is effortless, as there is a national directory of certified QuickBooks trainers on Intuit's web site. If you run an ad for a bookkeeper that reads "Knowledge of QuickBooks a requirement", you'll probably get more responses. Imagine trying to run a bookkeeper ad "Knowledge of Brand XYZ Automotive Shop Management software a requirement".

In conclusion, not only does this eradicate the need for an integrated accounting solution, but it turns what used to be considered a pro, into a con. Non-mainstream, proprietary accounting software, especially something provided by a shop management systems vendor, is not an asset. It's a liability. Most of it is hard to learn and doesn't work very well anyway.

When it comes to the accounting solution question, the integration to QuickBooks is not only the preferred solution, it's the perfect solution.

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