Workforce tools complement QuickBooks Online for success
Thought Leadership

The QuickBooks ecosystem changes the lives of your professional services clients

If I received two phone calls at the same time from prospective clients, one a manufacturing company with detailed inventory and the other a service-providing company, which one would I answer first?

The good news is that I have a nearby associate who specializes in manufacturing companies with extremely elaborate inventory. So I could answer that one first, and then send them on their way to the specialist. That leaves the service industry client for me. Perfect!

Over the years, my experience at Brilliant Numbers has shown me that service providers need me more than others. If someone starts a business with retail or online sales and massive inventory, then they know right away they need to track all of their data. But when it comes to law firms, accounting firms, and medical practices, as well as architecture and construction firms, an owner’s “inventory” is the intelligence inside their head. That makes it seem less important to them to manage their financial data.

The Intuit ecosystem is uniquely designed to work as a holistic solution for all of your clients, and in my firm’s case, mid-size clients who work in professional services. Here’s how it works.

QuickBooks Online Advanced

In the past few months, I’ve taken on three new clients that were doing everything in Excel. Here’s an example. One mid-size client is a high-level business coach with dozens of clients who rely on her for multiple things. To create her invoices, she was using spreadsheets. One group of clients are on monthly subscriptions, another group is on a per meeting basis, and a third group also pays her travel expenses. It was tedious and difficult to be certain everything was getting invoiced as it should.

Immediately, I put her on QuickBooks Online Advanced because of the following three reasons:

  1. Her administrative assistant needs only partial access to QuickBooks. Advanced gives you customizable roles.
  2. Multiple invoices are the same every month. Advanced has batch invoicing.
  3. Some of her clients pay for multiple months at once. The revenue recognition feature takes care of deferring the revenue and recognizing it at the appropriate time.

Another great QuickBooks benefit for her is billable expenses. Now, when she spends the night in another city, she writes the client’s name on the hotel bill, takes a photo, and uploads it to QuickBooks. Then when I review it, I mark it as billable to that client; when it’s time to create the invoice, there it is! No sorting through scraps of paper to see what needs to go where. No emailing the client later to say, “Oops! We forgot to bill you for the hotel!” 

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QuickBooks Time + QuickBooks Online Payroll

One of my newer clients runs a music school and struggled with paying the instructors for the classes they teach. We put her on QuickBooks Time to help her identify which teacher led each class or student. This made her payments to the instructors so much easier. Instead of manually recording all the teachers and classes on spreadsheets, she connects QuickBooks Time to QuickBooks Online Payroll, and the numbers slide over very easily.

 There are numerous features in QuickBooks Time she can use to provide more details than just clock in/clock out. She can create Custom Fields or use Class Tracking to determine what each instructor is doing, especially if the pay rate varies depending on the type of class each one is teaching.

If the students are charged based on how many classes or sessions they attend, then the instructor can choose the student (customer) when she clocks in. That will then sync to QuickBooks to go onto the student’s invoice. Just like a billable expense. Easy!

QuickBooks Payments

A couple of decades ago, my good friend handled the books for her husband’s business. I noticed that when she mailed the bills to the customers, she included a stamped, self-addressed envelope. I asked her why she spent the money on that; instead, she should make the customers pay for the extra expense. She said she was happy to pay for the paper and stamps because she had learned over time that when she sent the ready-to-mail envelope, customers paid much more quickly.

Jump forward 20+ years with technology improvements … and we have QuickBooks Payments. The company emails the invoice to the customer, and all the customer has to do is click. It’s far easier than writing a check that could be fraud-compromised, stuffing it into a business-paid envelope, and walking out to the mailbox. Plus, it makes my job easier because QuickBooks records the payments and matches them to the deposits. For the client, it makes cash flow much more fluid.

Our clients have the choice to allow credit card payments, ACH payments, or both. If they offer both, then their customers get to choose how they pay. If there is a monthly payment that is always the same, then the customer can set it up to pay automatically. No fuss!

Third-party apps

More and more activity is run through QuickBooks Online, but sometimes a third-party app from the QuickBooks App Store is just what you need to make things easier. There are thousands of apps that connect. Here are three of my favorites:

  1. Dext Prepare (formerly Receipt Bank): One of my consultant clients has an administrative assistant who receives his bills and lets him know what has arrived. If she uploads them to Dext, that means he has approved them for payment. Then all we have to do is review and push them to QuickBooks Online, and they are ready for payment.
  2. Approval Max is another easy choice. One of our tech clients has quite a few people in management, and approving bills depends on what the bill is. We have Approval Max connected to Dext. When we see a bill, we push it to the correct person for approval and it flows straight into QuickBooks for payment.
  3. Clio is our choice for law firms. The matters are recorded in Clio with notes and information about the client. When everything is ready, the office manager at the law firm creates the invoice that flows straight over to QuickBooks. We are very proud of our QuickBooks’ knowledge, but we’re not paralegals! So it’s good to have this connection between our law firm work and our bookkeeping work!

Always-on and always updated

QuickBooks Online progresses daily, with more and more features. It’s truly the one-stop shop for all financial transactions, and makes everything easier for the owner, bookkeeper, and accountant.

One of my professional service firms was reluctant to abandon his Excel spreadsheets, but when he realized how much extra time he had after the transition, he was totally onboard. Now that’s progress!

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