The Pitfalls of Most Pest Control Software for QuickBooks (and How to Avoid Them)

ServiceTitan September 24th, 2020
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When pest control contractors are considering adopting a business software solution like ServiceTitan, one of their primary concerns is often ensuring that the FSM tool they choose works well with whatever software they use to handle their company’s accounting. Because a majority of the industry uses QuickBooks, more often than not, that means selecting a field service solution that pairs well with QuickBooks.

But the truth is that even many of the field service software solutions on the market that are theoretically compatible with QuickBooks fall short. Often they’re more of an ill-fitted add-on than a true integration, making contractors’ work harder and more complicated. (Rather than smoother and more efficient.) 

Usually, the problem is that they don’t sync vital accounting information with QuickBooks in real time, and a range of costly organizational and financial implications can result:

  • Miscommunication with customers

  • Invoices that are either inflated or inaccurately low

  • Lost (or duplicated) customer profiles

  • Audits that could have been prevented  

On the other hand, a software solution like ServiceTitan, which syncs smoothly with QuickBooks, can vastly increase a pest control contractor’s efficiency, seamlessly connecting what’s happening in the field with what’s being recorded in the books, while providing business owners with the peace of mind that comes with knowing their data is accurate and will remain that way as their company grows. (Unlike many FSMs, ServiceTitan supports both QuickBooks desktop and QuickBooks online.)

Later in this article, we’ll explain exactly how ServiceTitan does it. But first, it’s worth taking a closer look at some of the problems that can arise when an FMS isn’t quite as compatible with QuickBooks as it should be.

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.       

The Hidden Dangers of “Add-On” QuickBooks FSM Integrations 

For field service businesses that have been in operation for any length of time, migrating data from one software platform to another can be slow, exhausting, and time-intensive. Some of the pest control businesses we work with have been in operation for 30 years or more, and their records reflect it, with thousands of entries for customers, vendors, and materials. Even small data entry errors can create major problems down the road, so in selecting a field service software tool, it’s vital to choose one that will guarantee a seamless migration of QuickBooks records. 

One main reason that many FSMs don’t quite hit the mark has to do with a quirk of QuickBooks itself. With a majority of FSMs, contractors have no trouble keeping separate entries for customers who happen to have the same name. But for reasons that we won’t get into, QuickBooks doesn’t allow users to enter multiple customers that share a surname. (This is true of most accounting software.) As a workaround, contractors will generally slightly alter the name of one or more customer to create the requisite number of QuickBooks profiles.

That’s all well and good when QuickBooks is operating independently. The trouble is that when a contractor tries to transfer data from these distinct profiles to and from an FSM that’s not sophisticated enough to keep all that information straight, they can become confused, causing different customers’ information to be consolidated into a single profile, or distributing one customer’s information into multiple profiles. Often, this harmful process is set in motion by selecting the wrong customer when creating an invoice or other business record within the FSM. 

The results of this are costly. Common errors include:

  • Sending techs to the wrong customer’s home for a job

  • Trying to collect payment for work that wasn’t performed

  • Exaggerating or artificially diminishing transaction histories 

In addition to creating opportunities for the kind of inadvertent financial misrepresentations that can invite an audit, erroneously duplicating — or triplicating, etc. — customer data can give rise to enormously costly organizational headaches. QuickBooks users are allotted a limited amount of storage, which can be consumed at lightning speed when customer files multiply unnecessarily. 

When a contractor hits their limit, they frequently have to bring their business to a halt while they get their bookkeeping back online. This generally means spending countless hours weeding their records of inactive customer profiles and consolidating duplicates, creating an entirely new QuickBooks file — or ponying up for a more expensive version of the accounting software.         

Any business stoppage is costly, and in this case, the traditional solutions are costly too. It was with this set of challenges in mind that we set out to create something new — a solution that would anticipate and avoid the problems we’ve described in this section. 

Next, we’ll tell you about what we came up with: ServiceTitan’s Sync-As-You-Go QuickBooks Integration.

How ServiceTitan Solves Common QuickBooks Integration Problems with “Sync-As-You-Go” Technology

As we noted above, some of the most costly errors associated with integrating QuickBooks with an FSM arise from data that becomes lost or corrupted when information flows from an FSM platform to a contractor’s accounting software. Our Sync-As-You-Go integration system averts these errors in a multi-layered process, beginning with an interface that allows ServiceTitan users to map their customers, vendors, and pricebook items on the fly between ServiceTitan and QuickBooks before a transaction is exported to the accounting software

In effect, ServiceTitan allows pest control contractors to make sure that all of the elements of a transaction — customer, vendor, materials, prices — line up perfectly prior to its being reported in QuickBooks, eliminating the need to double-check, backtrack, and correct errors after the fact. This approach emphasizes the paramount importance of preserving data integrity — and saves a ton of time, energy, and money in the process. 

To ensure that data reconciliations (e.g. confirming that the John Smith in ServiceTitan is the very same as the John Smith in QuickBooks) are performed accurately, and as efficiently as possible, our team built highly effective automated tools. But invariably, when you’re dealing with data of such great volume and complexity, there are going to be hiccups: instances in which discrepancies will arise between QuickBooks and the FSM tool.

Rather than take a best-guess approach, which can lead to errors that will have to be corrected later, Sync-As-You-Go brings the ServiceTitan user into the process, prompting them to input the information required to make sure that the transaction is completed accurately. 

Sync-As-You-Go might ask a contractor to verify the address of a customer, for example, to ensure they’re not confused with someone else that has the same name, or to confirm that a vendor has been used previously. That way, there’s virtually no chance for anything to slip through the cracks. 

But over time, contractors will have to do this less and less; ServiceTitan uses each new piece of data to assign a unique ID to customers, materials, and vendors, so that when they’re involved in future transactions, the software’s automated tools can process them without a hitch. This seamless integration allows users to manage invoicing from one centralized location, avoiding the double entry that can be a troublesome feature of some add-on FSMs. 

By carefully aligning ServiceTitan with QuickBooks before data from a transaction is exported to a company’s books, Sync-As-You-Go avoids some of the most costly errors associated with bookkeeping integrations, driving data integrity and optimal efficiency in the process.          

How to Use ServiceTitan’s QuickBooks Integration to Seamlessly Sync Field Service and Accounting Operations

Many of the service businesses we work with do more than one thing — HVAC and plumbing, plumbing and electrical, or lawn care and pool maintenance, for example. So when we designed our QuickBooks integration, we made sure to build it to support more than one QuickBooks file. As a result, service contractors who run multiple parallel businesses have no trouble keeping their bookkeeping organized, separate, and streamlined. But whether your shop is diversified or focused strictly on pest control, setting up QuickBooks files in ServiceTitan — whether via desktop or smartphone mobile app — is a snap. 

How to Set Up QuickBooks Files in ServiceTitan

From the Settings view, ServiceTitan users can access virtually any feature they’re looking for by using the toolbar on the left side of the screen. 

By clicking on the Integrations tab, users will surface a list of all their company’s QuickBooks files, stored conveniently in one place. Using the Connect a File+ button, they can connect additional files. (It’s also the button they’ll use to connect their very first QuickBooks file to ServiceTitan.)

Once a QuickBooks file is connected, ServiceTitan users can access Settings, Connections, and Tools from the main account interface.

The Settings section for each QuickBooks file connected to ServiceTitan provides users with a robust menu of features. With just a few clicks, contractors can reconcile data between ServiceTitan and QuickBooks. For example:

  • Map charts of accounts: Here, users can choose to either import their chart(s) of accounts from QuickBooks to ServiceTitan, or map their QuickBook version onto their ServiceTitan version.

  • Map business units: For contractors with multiple service lines, this is the place to ensure that they have as much clarity as possible into where, exactly, their revenue is coming from — and where it’s not — by creating mirror business groupings in ServiceTitan and QuickBooks.  

  • Map tax zones: Many FSMs don’t provide very good connectivity to QuickBooks’ sales tax functions. But ServiceTitan incorporates them without a problem, allowing contractors to ensure that sales tax is properly collected and recorded every time, wherever they’re doing business. 

  • Map transactions: Contractors who deal more or less strictly in residential work mostly identify transactions by customer name. But those with a substantial number of commercial customers often prefer to use a service address name or location. In this tab, they can calibrate their preferences for how things are recorded in QuickBooks.

  • Map inventory tracking: Using this tab, contractors can transmit inventory data from their ServiceTitan account directly to QuickBooks, giving them a leg up on managing and tracking materials on hand. 

Appearing toward the bottom of the page is one of the features most important to Sync-As-You-Go: the Tools box. This is where contractors can reconcile customer and vendor profiles between ServiceTitan and QuickBooks, using automated features to confirm that listings stored on the two software platforms are accurately aligned — with matching ledger accounts, item types, and the like — before financial information about a transaction is exported to QuickBooks.   

How to Export Transactions to QuickBooks in ServiceTitan

In the Invoices tab, located at the top of the screen, contractors will find a list of transactions, complete with details about customer, price, and scope of work order, that are eligible for export to QuickBooks. 

A panel on the right side of this view will alert the user to any outstanding discrepancies between how the transactions are logged in ServiceTitan and QuickBooks, based on pre-export mapping — a key feature of Sync-As-You-Go.

To ensure that no extraneous transaction data gets sent to QuickBooks, prior to initiating an export, ServiceTitan users will have to “batch” the relevant information, using the Select or Create a Batch option. (We built this platform with ease of use in mind, we promise!)

Once the pertinent transaction data has been “batched,” users simply select the Export to QuickBooks button. The right-hand panel will indicate if the export was executed, or whether ServiceTitan requires additional user input to complete the process. If this is the case, a message will appear, prompting the user to provide further clarification. 

This guarantees that only the proper data gets exported, and that it’s formatted to integrate seamlessly with QuickBooks, ensuring that data integrity is maintained. That way, there’s no need to go through a costly, time-consuming process of correction later on. 

For example, the item-mapping view, shown above, allows users to make sure that every pricebook item and ledger account in a given “batch” exists in both ServiceTitan and QuickBooks.

With all of the necessary tweaks complete, ServiceTitan will send the selected transaction data to QuickBooks, creating a perfect sync between the contractor’s FSM and their accounting software, so that what’s happening in the field is mirrored precisely in their books. 

Conclusion

ServiceTitan’s field service management software for pest control companies offers seamless integration with QuickBooks that is designed to grow with their business, using Sync-As-You-Go technology to become faster, more efficient, and more accurate over time. Where most FSMs are static — largely unresponsive to changes in the scope and pace of business — our software is dynamic, ensuring that the work that service technicians are doing out in the field is accurately reflected on the back end in real time. Our QuickBooks integration complements the other features of ServiceTitan that service companies love: dispatching, GPS tracking, easy access to service history, simple credit card payments, scheduling software, time-tracking, and web-based access via mobile devices like the ipad, iphone, and android.  

That way, business never has to slow down because of accounting hiccups. 

And to help pest control contractors keep moving forward, while maintaining the integrity of their books, our team of service professionals is always available to provide support, keeping both sides of ServiceTitan users’ business synchronized, while offering total financial transparency. For the contractors we work with, the result is more efficient processes, cleaner workflow, and complete peace of mind. 

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.

ServiceTitan is a comprehensive plumbing business software solution built specifically to help service companies streamline their operations, boost revenue, and achieve growth. Our award-winning, cloud-based platform is trusted by more than 100,000+ contractors across the country.

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