Moving your financial operations onto SalesForce.com changes your CRM into, effectively, an ERP system. But the term ‘integrating’ means different things, so let’s look at all the ways you can integrate finance with SalesForce.com.
Keep your Legacy Finance System but Bill through SalesForce
As SalesForce drives sales, it makes sense for SalesForce to generate your invoices as that’s where all your sales data is. This is particularly relevant for subscription businesses (which SalesForce is not suited for out of the box), and organizations with complex configuration and pricing models.
Zuora is the most widely known subscription billing engine. It sponsors events and even buildings at Dreamforce, and its founder is a former SalesForce executive. While an impressive app, their price tag can make them prohibitive. That said, even if you can’t afford Zuora, if you run a subscription business you should listen to their founder Tien Tzuo explain the only three metrics you need in a SaaS business.
Invoice IT offers a similar subscription billing engine that is a native SalesForce.com app, and may be a better value than Zuora if you need subscription billing through SalesForce. Invoice IT also has Configure-Price-Quote built into their system.
Other CPQ apps exist on the SalesForce platform such as SteelBrick, Apttus, and Oracle’s Global CPQ, though for many smaller orgs this will be overkill, as an SME can use Conga and a bit of custom development to generate lightweight CPQ functionality. Suyati has done this for a number of customers.
Use a SaaS Accounting package and Integrate with SalesForce
Businesses already using a SaaS CRM are even more likely, and more willing, to use a SaaS Accounting suite.
The two most popular are QuickBooks Online and Xero. The only native integration for Xero and SalesForce is Breadwinner, which focuses on creating Invoices from Opportunities and bringing live Invoice data back into SalesForce. Breadwinner is also coming out with a QuickBooks Online to SalesForce integration.
While QuickBooks Online is growing rapidly, the biggest install base is for the desktop version of QuickBooks. Avankia’s DBSync and Propelware’s Autofy will connect SalesForce to your old school QuickBooks installation.
While not as widespread, there are a number of smaller SaaS accounting tools such FreshBooks, KashFlow, and Saasu. You can integrate these using Carry the One, OneSaaS, or Workato.
Taking the Plunge – Moving your Accounting onto SalesForce
Not for the faint of heart, but for those demanding the deepest integration, FinancialForce and Accounting Seed are accounting packages fully native on the SalesForce platform.
Our only recommendation with these apps is to find out if it’s possible to uninstall once you migrate onto their systems. We’ve heard stories about businesses migrating off FinancialForce onto other accounting suites but keeping a single license of FinancialForce forever because that seemed an easier option than uninstalling FinancialForce.
And this concern highlights perhaps the exact pros and cons of using FinancialForce. It’s both empowering and limiting to have your entire accounting system run on SalesForce. What you can do in terms of business automation, by keeping your accounting data within SalesForce, is incredibly powerful. The challenge is that neither of the two apps is necessarily the best of breed accounting system in its own right.