One of the commonest questions we get asked is “What accounting integration do you support?” or “Does it integrate with XYZ?”
The answer is, regrettably, not a simple one. However, with that lack of simplicity comes the flexibility for our customers to adopt one of a range of different accounting integration solutions to suit their needs. Also, we have made each option as simple to adopt as possible, allowing customers to increase their level of integration over time alongside their increasing confidence and at each stage derive additional benefits.
PSA tools capture and help control business processes. Alongside that core capability, they also trigger accounting events and these need to end up somehow in your accounting system. Depending on how complex your business is and how tightly coupled you want PSA actions to drive accounting processes, there are a range of ways you can make these systems talk to each other. I’ve used the invoicing process as a proxy for the integration options, but other processes also need to be considered in a full integration design:
Not at all: this is of course the simplest integration, pure manual re-keying of everything. Now, most people who go out to buy a PSA tool are looking to remove manual re-entry of data as a primary goal, so even including this may seem strange. However, we find that many customers are quite content to implement PSA in order to centralise and trigger invoice activity, but worry about changing accounting practices any more than that. This is of course, their choice, and is possibly a sensible strategy for day one operations
Invoice line trigger: this is where the PSA tool sends invoice lines to your accounting system which then raises the invoice and performs AP/AR functions. This is a very light touch integration that saves re-keying, but leaves the customer accounting view remote from the PSA users. For some this is actually a desired outcome, for others a total waste and we can’t win in that debate. One concern with this approach is the need to replicate product definitions across systems and this can be problematic
Invoice post: in this model, the PSA tool issues the invoice, but replicates it in the accounting system. This provides two options for AR (accounts receivable processing), do it in the PSA tool and post the result to the accounting package, or vice versa. You need to replicate your customers, but can eliminate the product replication if the accounting system product modelling is at a higher level
Journal post: this integration model is unique (as far as we know today) to Harmony, so we are a bit proud of it and will discuss it in more detail below. However, at a high level, this means you have no data replication needs at all between Harmony and your accounting system, as long as you have reflected an extract of your chart of accounts in Harmony, all you are doing is posting debits and credits, a very simple and powerful interface model that works with 99% of all accounting packages
So, the next question is “Why did we go further in our integration strategy than our competitors?”
Well, we stated off caring (and still do care) about deferred revenue management. Now, for many monthly cycle MSP’s, the balance sheet is only used for AP/AR and deferred revenue does not matter. But as we target ISV’s and SI’s (System Integrators), the balance sheet has a big part to play in monthly performance metrics. And to get that right (plus automate as much as possible) you need to be able to use the product features to drive revenue and cost recognition.
So we built an accounting rules engine which Harmony uses to drive journal entries.
But, not everyone wants (or indeed needs) that degree of coupling between their PSA and their books and records. So, we also support the other integration options, meaning with Harmony you can decide how much data replication you want to support. We’re very happy whatever you decide and have mature, flexible and free integration API’s with a wide range of common accounting platforms (both cloud and landed).
Get in touch and let us talk through the best model for your business.
About the Author: Harmony Business Systems Ltd (HBS) is the company behind HarmonyPSA, the most complete cloud PSA software on the market. Developed with functionality to cater for even the most complex needs of MSPs, VARs, ISVs and Professional Services organisations, HarmonyPSA truly is the next generation of PSA systems. HBS is an independent company based in the UK. Follow HarmonyPSA on Twitter or LinkedIn