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CFS to QB Interface
Use OptionsThere are two ways for CFS to interact with QuickBooks. We call them Level 1 and Level 2. With a Level 1 interface, the transaction contains item descriptions and sales amounts, employs reusable Non-Inventory Parts in QB, and is quickly implemented. A Level 2 interface does the above, but also makes use of Inventory Parts in QB in order to have the option to track inventory. Any references below to part numbers, tracking inventory costs or counts, assemblies, or transferring or adding items from CFS to QB only pertain to the Level 2 interface.
Daily ActivityOur recommended workflow for installed jobs is as follows: You would use CFS to work up and save your estimates and produce a contract for your potential customer. Normally, it is only until the customer gives you the go ahead that you would export it to QuickBooks. A job coming from CFS will import as a QB estimate where it can be easily converted to an Invoice, Sales Order, or Purchase Order, whichever is appropriate. (We have a couple reasons for importing it to an estimate in QuickBooks instead of a Sales Order that will be explained in more detail below.) The job will transfer to QuickBooks whether your QuickBooks company file is open or not. We recommend having it open when you make the transfer because the QuickBooks window displaying the estimate will automatically open, ensuring you are exactly where you need to be to convert it into your desired type of transaction.
For material sales, you have a couple options. If you are selling a few random parts you would probably just do the entire transaction in QuickBooks, although you could channel it through CFS using the Cash Register or Miscellaneous Estimator modules and then export it to QuickBooks. If you are selling a complete, or nearly complete, package of materials for a do-it-yourself customer, we recommend you work it up in CFS first to take advantage of the time savings.
If the list of materials for a job contains an item that is not yet in QuickBooks, the interface will semi-automatically add the item to QuickBooks as part of the job transfer. You’ll be presented with a list of the new items and given a chance to change the default settings for the associated accounts and type of item it will become in QuickBooks.
Credits/refunds will be handled only in QuickBooks.
If a CFS invoice is being transferred, the interface will put the CFS invoice number on the memo line in QB. If job numbering is turned on in CFS, the interface will put that number on the memo line. Either or both of these options could be used to easily track a QB transaction back to the original job in CFS. Jobs that are available for immediate invoicing could be converted to an invoice in CFS before the transfer. This way, if the person viewing the transaction in QB sees a CFS invoice number on the memo line, he or she will know it should be converted directly to an invoice in QB.
Why do the jobs import into QuickBooks as estimates and not directly to sales orders if we recommend only transferring sold jobs? If you are using the interface in the inventory tracking mode, and, want to use the QuickBooks estimate mode for the form layout and its emailing ability when the job is not sold yet, it can be transferred in the non-inventory tracking mode so it does not “build” any assemblies or fabricated parts that are in the estimate, if any. Later, if the job is sold, load it again in CFS and transfer it in the inventory tracking mode.
Transaction Summary OptionDuring the transfer, the user may choose the QuickBooks “group” mode. In this mode, the items will still be listed individually on the screen in QuickBooks but can print as a group or groups using the job description as the group name. Installation labor would also be included in the group. (QuickBooks is limited to 20 items per group, so there could be more than one group. The group description can easily be edited for clarification.) This feature reproduces the ‘one line invoice’ feature in CFS.
Setup and Maintenance
Item TransferWith a Level 2 setup, we will populate the item list in QuickBooks with your commonly sold items in the CFS master file. How this transfer takes place will depend on what items you have in your master file and how your chart of accounts is setup in QuickBooks. The Setup & Maintenance module contains a couple options for doing the transfers. A third option is to export all the master file items into a spreadsheet like Microsoft Excel, cull it down and format it according to QuickBooks needs, and then import it directly into QuickBooks. It is okay if you already have items in QuickBooks as long as the part numbers of those items in CFS are the same as the item’s part name/number in QuickBooks.
As time goes on, if a new item needs to be added to CFS and QuickBooks, it is recommended for smoother operation, that the user put the item in CFS first and then transfer it to QuickBooks as items do not transfer from QuickBooks to CFS. (Items can be entered manually in both programs but this is not recommended for its lack of efficiency and increased room for error.) You would not necessarily need to transfer new items right away as they will get added to QuickBooks as needed if they are on a job getting transferred.
There are a couple reasons to not populate the QuickBooks item list with all the items in CFS. QuickBooks Premier is limited to 14,500 items and some CFS vendor import modules can include tens of thousands of items in one product line. One large ornamental manufacturer has over 40,000 items by itself. Even though QuickBooks Enterprise can contain 100,000 items, most people do not want thousands of never sold items in their QuickBooks item list. To accommodate for this situation, we recommend initially populating QuickBooks with only commonly sold items. Uncommonly sold items would get transferred to QuickBooks only as needed when a job including these parts is transferred. Only the products actually sold, out of the complete product line, would end up in the QuickBooks item list. There will also be the option to NOT add uncommon items into QuickBooks by using the non-inventory tracking mode prior to transfer. This will happen by using catch-all items in QuickBooks that can be used over and over again.
Inventory CountInventory counts can be transferred from QuickBooks into CFS. The primary inventory tracking and valuation will take place in QuickBooks. The purpose of keeping a semi-current inventory count in CFS is for if you want to use the CFS inventory status alert feature that lets you know what you are low or out of when figuring a job. You may also want to take advantage of the suggested ordering feature in CFS which is more robust than QuickBooks.
Price SyncingThe retail selling price in CFS can be transferred to the selling price in QuickBooks. CFS contains more sophisticated pricing and markup options, so it will be the primary location for the user to establish the retail prices. We are assuming you want the retail price to be the same in both programs.
The average cost or last purchase price can be transferred from QuickBooks into CFS. This option would be used if you want the cost to be the same in both programs. The other option is to have the replacement cost in CFS which is usually NOT the average or last purchase price in QuickBooks. This way, in CFS, you can establish a retail price based on replacement cost and transfer this retail price to QuickBooks with no effect on QuickBooks costs.
Inventory Tracking OptionsIf you have a Level 2 interface but have not updated your inventory counts in QB yet, you can export jobs in the non-inventory tracking mode and then switch to the tracking mode immediately after the counts have been entered, when that may be. There is no drawback to approaching it this way, plus you get instant benefits.
Actually, this interface does even more than providing communication between the two programs. It also increases the inherent value of QuickBooks’ functionality. If you haven’t used QuickBooks for tracking inventory in the past, you might not know about this particular feature, and more importantly, how it is implemented. QuickBooks Premier & Enterprise editions support inventory assemblies with component parts. This is the same basic concept as the CFS pre-configured assemblies or parts fabricated as needed per job.
Regarding assemblies, QuickBooks uses the term “build”. To “build” an assembly in QuickBooks, the user manually specifies the quantity of each assembly to build. For each build, the component parts are deducted from inventory and the count of the assembly item is increased. An assembly item cannot be invoiced in QuickBooks unless it has been “built” first. Having to “tell” QuickBooks every time a product is assembled or fabricated in the shop in order to later be able to invoice it could be prohibitively time consuming for many fencing contractors, especially the ones that fabricate their own chainlink gates and posts, PVC and ornamental fabricators, and those that add value to wood products before they sell them.
If a CFS job contains a standard assembly, perhaps a metal frame for a wood fence gate or a chainlink commercial drop rod assembly, or has an item CFS fabricated, the interface will automatically add the assembly to QuickBooks if it is not already there, and it will automatically “build” the assembly in QuickBooks so it is immediately ready to be invoiced if need be. QuickBooks requires that there be enough of the component parts on hand in order for it to build the assembly. This makes sense since you can’t build something without having its components. Since the builds take place during the transfer, the components need to be on hand for the transfer to take place. Keep in mind this only applies to jobs that contain assemblies or fabricated items and would be the case in QuickBooks whether you were using the interface or not.
More About AssembliesThere are going to be what is referred to as permanent assemblies or reusable assemblies in QuickBooks for purposes of this interface. Even though fabrication charges come into play in CFS, they will not transfer into the components of assemblies in QuickBooks. Regardless, while the cost will be different, the selling price in both CFS and QuickBooks can be the same if the user prefers them to be.
Permanent inventory assembly items are what you would normally think of. They are items fabricated by your business with the same configuration each time. They are normally setup in the Assembly module in CFS and may or may not currently be setup in QuickBooks. Assemblies will not be transferred to QuickBooks along with the commonly sold items during the initial setup. They would either get transferred as needed when an estimate containing the assembly is transferred to QuickBooks, or the user can create a CFS Miscellaneous Estimate containing up to 100 different assemblies per estimate and transfer the estimate to QuickBooks, thus using the interface to automatically create them in QB.
Regarding products that are fabricated by CFS as needed, these products will be treated as assemblies in QuickBooks also, but as reusable assemblies not meant for permanent individual historical tracking. An example of a reusable assembly that would be created in QuickBooks would be a fabricated chainlink gate. Each time a fabricated gate is transferred in a job to QuickBooks, the interface would reuse an item named FABRICATED but change the description, the component parts, and the cost and selling price. If the FABRICATED reusable assembly is on a Sales Order in QuickBooks, the interface will create a new reusable assembly item named FABRICATED 1 for the incoming gate. When the Sales Order that includes item FABRICATED is invoiced, FABRICATED becomes available for reuse on the next job transfer with a like kind of gate.
Another example is a fabricated chainlink post. Unless you have the chainlink scratch builder setup to use pre-built posts on a job, it takes the pipe price/foot item times the feet needed for the post and adds a cutting charge. For these fabricated posts, the pipe item in QuickBooks would be for a foot – not a stick – and it would be the feet of pipe that is tracked as the count. This is a straight forward, easy way to track pipe. (There is a way to track sticks of pipe. However, it involves a fairly complicated CFS setup process and is undermined each time a person in the yard does not cut posts from the pipe designated in the program. Please call if you want to discuss this in more detail.) Other items fabricated by CFS that employ reusable assemblies in QuickBooks are PVC and ornamental fabrication module posts, rails, pickets, bottom rail inserts, lattice panels, and sections.
What Your Purchase Costs and IncludesThe cost of the Interface is $500.00/year and your CFS needs to be current when the Interface is first installed and each year when it is renewed. We combine both costs into one yearly payment of $995.00 ($495.00 for the CFS upgrade and $500.00 for the Interface). Any free CFS upgrades coming to a new customer will be credited. This base cost covers a Level 1 installation on one computer. A one-time $40.00 installation charge is due for each additional computer. For Level 2 installations, add $40.00 per hour for additional consultation and setup time required for implementation.
The interface uses the CFS Enterprise Edition features and therefore all the Enterprise features are included, not just the ones needed for this QuickBooks interface. You’ll be able to export the entire CFS Master File to a CSV (comma separated values) file, a format saving option in Excel and other similar programs; use our sample Apps or develop your own; interface CFS to other programs; export some CFS reports only available to Enterprise customers, and receive new Enterprise features automatically as they become available. Please see CFS Enterprise details at www.fencesoftware.com/enterprise.
Non-disclosure Agreement Requirement
Because of the ability to export proprietary data into a non-proprietary format, we require you to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
Other ConsiderationsWhen you first install CFS, particularly with chainlink, wood, and fabricated PVC and ornamental fencing, there is a certain amount of customization that needs to take place to reflect your particular needs. We recommend you customize CFS prior to establishing an interface to QuickBooks. We have multiple resources available to help you with that. However, if you do not plan to track inventory, the only critical customization would be establishing your correct selling prices.
If you choose to not renew your QuickBooks Interface, the interface and other Enterprise features would stop working but the base CFS program will continue working normally. You also have the option of discontinuing the QuickBooks Interface but keeping the Enterprise functionality. Please call customer support about pricing in this circumstance.
Canadian users: The QBI was developed in context of the US version of QuickBooks. All testing of the interface with QB Canada has been successful. However, while SDA has no reason to believe that any conflicts exist or will exist in the future, SDA does not take responsibility for conflicts that may exist or may be introduced in the future pertaining to QB Canada.
ConclusionIf you use CFS now, and use QuickBooks to track inventory, there is no reason to continue doing manual adjustments to keep your data current. This interface is the solution for you. If you don’t track inventory now but would like to start, this is the solution for you. Even if you have no interest in tracking inventory but only want to record your sales transactions with a single entry, this is the solution for you.
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