Monday, May 5, 2014

New QuickBooks Online Integration is here

With the Flex 4.8 version that was recently deployed, comes the new QBO (QuickBooks Online) integration. If you have been using the QBO integration, you can start using this right away. However, switching over is not automatic, there is a bit of effort required on your part to switch over. If you are not currently using QBO integration, contact support to get started.

Here is a basic "getting switched over" video: http://www.screencast.com/t/AJKeatxHF4

The basic steps for switching over are this:
  1. Go to Financials > Accounting Integration 
  2. Basic Settings tab > Enabled Accounting Systems: Change selection from "QuickBooks Online Legacy" to "QuickBooks Online". Click Update to Save.
  3. QuickBooks Settings tab in QuickBooks Online area, click the "Connect to QuickBooks" button
  4. Follow prompts to sign in & authorize
  5. At this point, the QuickBooks Settings tab should show that you are connected
Once connected, you will continue to push documents as you did before. There are a few things that you need to be aware of:

Taxes

Your Flex tax rule name now needs to precisely match a QuickBooks Online Tax Code. For a United States example, you may have a tax code called "PA Sales Tax". For international, you might have a tax code called "HST". You need to name your Flex tax rule name the exact same name as the tax code. 

Flex will not (actually it can not) create or update any tax settings in QuickBooks Online. This means you must take care to make sure your Flex tax rates & QuickBooks Online tax rates mirror each other & keep them in sync if they change.

Updating Documents

Previously it was not possible to actually update documents. So, for a re-export, we had to actually delete the document, and then recreate it. We now have the ability for documents to be updated which happens automatically if you've already pushed the document before. This is a great enhancement because now any links that are created in QBO between documents will not be erased when you re-export an document.

Integration Errors

If you push a document and it does not show in QBO, be sure to first check Systems Settings > Integration Bus > Integration Bus Error Screen. It will show you any errors that have happened in the Integration Process. Sometimes the error message can be a little cryptic so if you can't figure it out, ask support for help.

More to Come

The previous integration did not support Purchase Order's at an API level. The new integration supports PO's but we have not implemented it yet due to the fact we were focused replacing what we had first. We should be rolling that out sometime this year.

GL Account sync has NOT been re-implemented for the new QBO integration yet but we will be bring that back as well sometime this year.

We know there are more features that customer's will need but we are happy that we are back on the right path for integrating with QBO. As important features come to our attention we will implement them. This new API is much more feature rich which will allow us to create a much better integration.

Old Integration Cutoff

As of this writing the cutoff for the old API is May 15, 2014. However, I believe that is contingent on you upgrading to the new "harmony" QuickBooks Online. Once you upgrade to "harmony",  the old API will no longer work.

If you have any questions or concerns, contact support@flexrentalsolutions.com. Happy Integrating!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

New Faces at Flex

Last summer Flex opened its first physical office in Richland, Washington.  Intended primarily to house our engineering and software development efforts, our decision to open it up to the local tech community for coworking and speaking events has brought us into contact with some amazing local people we wouldn't have known about otherwise.

Here's a rundown of some people that have recently joined our team.

Erik Ralston

Late last year we hired Erik Ralston and since then he's been working full time on our IOS applications, both for the iPhone and the iPad.  He'll be at Infocomm in just a few months to unveil what we have so far.

Maria Barker

With four full time developers cranking out code and with IOS apps and Label Ninja on the way, we felt it was high time we gave Courtney a little help with QA.  To fill this role, we hired Maria Barker, whose accounting background has made it possible to have an accounting specialist testing our financial module and accounting system integration.  She's also taken over as Controller and has whipped our books into shape in short order.

Becca Lingley

Our number one problem right now is coping with and managing growth.  We need to formalize some of our processes, increase consistency of the customer experience, and just step our game up in general.  After consulting with us for a few months, we decided to bring Becca on permanently as Director of Operations.  She brings a deep business background to the table with an MBA under her belt and just a dissertation away from a PhD.  We need to get better at everything we do while managing a high level of growth and it will be Becca's job to help guide us through that.

Branden Rosenlof

A long running complaint of Flex customers is the lack of documentation  It's a perfectly legitimate complaint and we've finally done something about it by bringing on a dedicated Technical Writer.  Branden has already done a great job on our Starter Kit and is currently working on a full documentation set for Flex.  He'll also be heavily involved over the next few months as Flex revamps and improves our training offerings.

Coping With Growth

We've brought on all these new faces because we still have a lot of unfinished business and plenty of challenges that come with growth.  We need to improve the quality and consistency of everything from the software itself to the sales process to training and support.  We also need to prepare ourselves for the next wave of hiring and ensure that we're ready to bring new people on and get them up to speed quickly when they arrive.

We're also updating our web site for Infocomm, launching IOS applications and working on a ground breaking barcode label design and printing solution, Label Ninja.  To that add multi-session event support, in system credit card processing, recurring billing, major improvements to Quickbooks integration, a new high availability fault tolerant architecture - and most of all, making Flex fast.

We'll publish a formal roadmap in the next few months so customers can keep tabs on exactly what we're working on and when, but the take away is that we have a lot left to do and are staffing up to do it.

 






Tuesday, February 4, 2014

New QuickBooks Online Integration coming soon

We are currently in the final stages of developing a completely new integration with QuickBooks Online. It's an exciting new integration that provides much better support for QBO (QuickBooks Online) features.

The first QuickBooks integration we developed was for the QuickBooks Desktop Editions. Specifically this integration uses an underlying XML API called qbXML. We put export messages in a queue and the QuickBooks Web Connector program connects to Flex and pulls down the qbXML request messages which it uses to create the documents in Flex.

Back then, the best way to integrate with QBO was to use the same underlying qbXML API. So, we made a few modifications to our existing qbXML requests and built the necessary service to send data to QBO since you push directly to it (the Web Connector is not used).

However, QBO only supported a subset of the API. Two big things it was missing was the ability to modify a document and to push Purchase Orders. Later on, tax also changed in QBO and the qbXML API just doesn't support the new tax model well at all. For awhile, I hoped that Intuit would bring the qbXML API up to par with all the features of QBO. But it seemed they were abandoning qbXML completely for QBO and instead were trying to create an online based API that would integrate with both the Desktop and Online Editions. This so called V2 API never seemed very straightforward to me and so we never pulled the trigger on using that API.

Recently, Intuit completely separated the approach for integrating with QB Desktop and QBO. The Desktop Edition is going to be sticking with the qbXML API. For QBO, there is a new V3 REST API that will be used exclusively with QBO. This new V3 REST API is the new integration mechanism this blog post is announcing.

What motivated us to do this now is that fact that Intuit is cutting off the old qbXML API for QBO in mid march 2014. The last week or so I've been focused almost exclusively on creating this new integration. Code is in place for sending Invoices, Payments, and Credit Memo's. Purchase Orders will be coming soon but most likely will not be in the initial release simply because we are focused on first simply replacing what we had with the old API. We still have some plumbing work to complete like the setup connection process to QBO.

Our goal is to roll this out asap. We want to have some early beta testers to test it before we switch everybody over to it. If you are interested in early testing, please contact support@flexrentalsolutions.com and ask that your email be assigned to Roger.

All in all, this is a good step forward for QuickBooks software. The qbXML API was designed for the Desktop version of QB and was never a very good fit for QB Online. Having distinct API's for the Desktop and Online editions will allow each application to evolve independently of the other. The cloud model is different and it deserves to take a different roadmap than a desktop application.