Why Most HVAC Software Compatible with QuickBooks Are Insufficient (And How Ours Works Differently)

July 16th, 2020
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Many of the HVAC business owners and office managers in our network use QuickBooks as their accounting system. And when they reach a certain size, they’ll often begin to look for an operational software tool to help run other areas of their business.

In order to maintain the accounting system they’re already using, they’ll often look for a software that’s compatible with QuickBooks. Typically, they’re looking for a tool that:

  • Increases efficiencies by connecting their accounting to their field operations

  • Provides certainty that accounting data is recorded accurately 

  • Has the ability to maintain that accuracy as they grow

But many HVAC software that work with QuickBooks don’t truly sync both software and allow them to work together as one. Instead, they serve more as an added-in feature — business owners can access their QuickBook tools within their HVAC software, but the majority of options on the market do not transfer information over to QuickBooks in real-time. As a result, they can often lead to financial misrepresentations, communication mishaps, duplicate files, and other accounting headaches.

This is why it’s so important to choose an HVAC software solution that actually syncs in real-time with QuickBooks (even when offline). This keeps communications organized, speeds up workflow, and prevents the need to constantly update information between the two systems.

In this article, we discuss the problems that can occur when using most of the other options on the market, and walk through the specific ways in which our solution differs from these to mitigate accounting issues and streamline processes.

If you’d like to learn more about how ServiceTitan’s QuickBooks integration can streamline your accounting and field operations, schedule a call to see it in action. 

More on the Problems That Can Occur with “Add-On” QuickBooks Integrations 

Migrating data between software is a time-consuming and tedious task — especially for businesses with 30+ years of service history to reconcile — but it’s essential to avoid small data entry errors and other accounting problems. A software that connects your QuickBooks tools in a meaningful way allows for seamless data migration and avoids these errors.

The more serious problems that can occur with add-on QuickBooks integrations are financial misrepresentations and communication errors. And since these problems are somewhat interrelated, issues can snowball quickly and lead to more complications. 

For example, consider the common scenario of having two customers with the same name. Most field service management software (FSM) allow you to have two customers with the same name with no problem. However, most accounting systems (including QuickBooks) don’t, so most business owners will modify one customer name to differentiate them within their accounting books; and this slight difference in contact information can throw off the information sent down to QuickBooks.   

If you select the wrong customer while creating invoices or recording transactions in your FSM, it may lead you to send information from two different customers down to one. Three of the most common mishaps around customers with the same name include: 

  • Inflated (or under-represented) transaction history

  • Engaging with the wrong contact to collect payment 

  • Showing up at the wrong customer’s address for a job 

Duplicate customer records are also a common problem with QuickBooks add-on integrations, and duplicate records can lead to things like split customer history, which also results in financial misrepresentations. 

That said, the biggest issue with duplicate records with QuickBooks is QuickBooks’ customer limit — QuickBooks only allows you to store a certain number of users, and duplicate files can inflate your customer count and cause you to reach your customer limit sooner.  

In addition, cleaning up duplicate lists, like customers, can be a manual process in QuickBooks.

And when a QuickBooks file reaches its limit, it can bring the financial side of your business to a screeching halt — where the only way to get back online is to do one or a combination of the following:

  1. Delete customers that have no transactional history

  2. Upgrade to QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise

  3. Build an entirely new QuickBooks file

These errors and manual processes can adversely influence communications with customers, slow down your teams, and lead to financial losses. And these are the problems we set out to solve with our Sync-As-You-Go QuickBooks integration. 

Sync-As-You-Go Simplifies Data Reconciliation 

We understand errors can be made when syncing data between software, which is why we created our QuickBooks integration to Sync-As-You-Go. Sync-As-You-Go allows you to accurately map customer, vendor, and price book items to fine-tune a transaction on the fly before sending it over to QuickBooks. 

Since transactions have an immediate effect, you want to get them right from the start, and Sync-As-You-Go focuses on the integrity of data to make exporting transactions correctly simple. Plus, this prevents inaccurate reportings and saves your team from having to go back and fix the errors later down the line.

What’s even more convenient is that Sync-As-You-Go allows you to focus on mapping only new data that you are trying to export instead of requiring you to double-check and manually correct duplicates upon export.

In other words, when a transaction is prompted to export, it validates that it knows exactly which customer/vendor the transaction should be created for. When it can't validate this, it allows you to either select the customer/vendor that currently exists in QuickBooks, or elect to create a new record rather than assume that, "If we don't have a match then it must be a new customer/vendor", which is the most common cause of system-generated duplicates.

That way, everything in your books to-date is correct, and everything going forward remains accurate.  

Now let’s look at how our QuickBooks integration works in practice.

How ServiceTitan’s QuickBooks Integration Operates  

Our field service software is designed for service businesses to improve the efficiency of their processes both in the office and out in the field. Apart from streamlining dispatching, job scheduling, and time tracking (and more), our FSM’s QuickBooks integration effectively connects the data between it and QuickBooks so invoicing can be done all in one place quickly, easily, and accurately — that means no more double entry!  

Our technology pairs well with the accounting software you’re already familiar with while giving you the tools to scale your processes with minimal errors, and we make it easy to navigate so there’s no downtime in learning how to operate the two software together. 

Plus, we can support more than one QuickBooks file, so if you have more than one service business you’d like to connect with our tool, it’s no problem. 

Note: Generally speaking, having fewer errors is a good thing. On the other hand, getting an error can actually be a blessing in disguise. This integration is rooted in ensuring accuracy and with accuracy comes an increase in validation controls. Therefore, the count of errors should not be seen as a bad thing because it's not highlighting where the integration is failing... it's highlighting where the integration is doing its job in ensuring that the inaccurate or unexpected transactions don't export and go unnoticed (leading to cleanup/corrections at some point).

Setting Up QuickBooks Files in ServiceTitan

Our settings page has most of our features laid out on the left-hand sidebar so you can find what you need in seconds. 

ServiceTitan is compatible with both QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online. This is not the norm with other QuickBooks Integrations, though, so it’s always best to double-check what versions of QuickBooks different field service software are compatible with before purchasing. 

The first page you’ll come to is a list of your company files. Of course, if you have not linked your QuickBooks to your ServiceTitan software, this page is where you’ll be prompted to do so. With the Connect a File+ button, you can link multiple QuickBooks files, that way you can access the records for multiple businesses all in one place.

After you connect your QuickBooks files, you’ll be directed over to the main account page where you can access your Settings, Connections, and Tools

In the Settings section, you’ll see a breakdown of the different features available so you can easily view the current settings and make changes with a few clicks. Within this tab you can: 

  1. Map your existing QuickBooks chart of accounts to your ServiceTitan chart of accounts or import your entire QuickBooks chart of accounts into ServiceTitan.

  2. Map specific business units so they link to a specific QuickBooks file or link to a specific QuickBooks class so that when transactions export to QuickBooks they are grouped similarly to how business units are grouped in ServiceTitan. For example, many HVAC businesses also offer electrical services, so this setting allows you to divide the revenue appropriately from each part of your business so you can keep track of how you’re making money and determine which services are most profitable.  

  3. Map your tax zones allows you to seamlessly use all of the sales tax functionality that QuickBooks offers (sales tax tracking, paying, and filing). This is especially useful when you collect sales tax, you ensure the “same” transaction in ServiceTitan and QuickBooks have the same tax rate. 

  4. Map where transactions are recorded in QuickBooks. In this tab, you can choose whether you want transactions exported at the customer level, service address location, or service address name — this feature is especially beneficial for commercial businesses that may have customers with more than one location and want to split transactions between them. 

  5. Map how you’d like to track your inventory within both ServiceTitan and QuickBooks. With ServiceTitan, users have the option to send inventory information over to QuickBooks. This improves inventory management by keeping track of what materials you do and don’t have, allowing you to determine how many jobs you can book with your current resources and when you need to re-supply. 

Below is the Connections box, displaying all active connections that are linked between a ServiceTitan user's computer and QuickBooks. It's common for multiple people to operate in the same QuickBooks file, so this displays who and how users are connected.

Also, when more than one active connection exists, users will be prompted to select a connection when they export a batch to QuickBooks. This is a critical step since an active and online connection must be selected in order for ServiceTitan to send and receive data.

The last section on the page is your Tools box. These tools are aimed at automating data maintenance, allowing you to reconcile active customers and vendor information that exist in ServiceTitan and QuickBooks, and validate that matching items that exist in ServiceTitan and QuickBooks have the same general ledger accounts and item types (which is important because it directly influences the financial activity that is recorded in QuickBooks when exported on a transaction). 

After you’ve modified your settings and familiarized yourself with the features available, you can start converting work orders to invoices and exporting transactions to QuickBooks. 

Exporting Transactions to QuickBooks in ServiceTitan 

To begin exporting to QuickBooks, click the Invoice tab from the menu bar at the top of the page. Within the Invoices tab is a layout of your transactions that have yet to be batched and exported.

On the right-hand side, you’ll notice a slider window tracking the export status of your batches of transactions between ServiceTitan and QuickBooks to alert you of any errors or discrepancies. And this is where Sync-As-You-Go comes in. 

Before you can export a transaction, you’ll first have to create a batch of information (the transaction) and select the information you’d like to send down to QuickBooks. To do this, Select or Create a Batch and simply select the information you’d like to export. 

Note: At this point, if your ServiceTitan account exports to more than one QuickBooks file, you’d be required to add a batch name and select a QuickBooks file.

You’ll know you’re in a batch when Select a Batch is replaced with the batch number or name and “Batched” will appear next to “Unbatch” to display the transactions you’ve added.

Once that information is lumped into one batch, click that same button at the top and select the Post Batch option in the menu. 

After those few steps, you can then click that same button on the left-hand side and select Export to QuickBooks. If you have more than one connection, you’ll need to select it. Then, the tracker on the right-hand side will tell you whether the batch was exported successfully or if it needs further editing to process. 

If a transaction needs modifying to export successfully, it’ll display a message saying, “Issues encountered. Fix these issues to complete the export.” and prompt you to make the appropriate changes to ensure the information you’re exporting is being sent to QuickBooks correctly. This feature is essential in maintaining accuracy in your books because it lets you fix the transaction before it’s ever registered with QuickBooks. 

Once you open the window to correct the transaction, you can map the ServiceTitan customer with an existing QuickBooks customer or opt to create a new record. 

Item mapping also helps you identify ServiceTitan pricebook items that don’t exist in QuickBooks and are missing one or more general ledger accounts, which is a very common problem that would otherwise lead to an export error. 

After you make the necessary changes, the transaction is sent to QuickBooks and you’re done! The transaction is now processed and saved in your FSM and accounting software so both halves of your business are in sync.  

ServiceTitan’s QuickBooks Integration Connects Both Sides of Business 

Our HVAC service software completely syncs with QuickBooks to paint a full picture of your business, and it evolves as it learns more through customer, vendor, and price book mapping. Static integrations can’t offer nearly as much for your business in terms of efficiency as a living, breathing, adaptable tool like our Sync-As-You-Go feature. 

Ultimately, ServiceTitan works in tandem with QuickBooks to facilitate faster processes and help your teams complete their workflow as quickly as possible, all while maintaining certain controls that protect the integrity of your financials.   

In addition to ServiceTitan’s QuickBooks integration, our service offers a full suite of features to streamline your field operations, complete with scheduling software, dispatching, service agreements, a mobile app for field technicians, and more. Schedule a call to see it in action.

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