QuickBooks

An Overview of the Apps in the Intuit Apps Showcase–Part 2

Written by Charlie Russell

Continuing from my previous article, here is an overview of the rest of the Apps shown in the Intuit Apps Showcase 2011. Keep in mind that these are short reviews based on a five minute presentation made by each company.

Intuit Apps Showcase

  • eMobilePOS: Another field service tool. The presentation was not really clear, so I can’t give this a fair quick review. For the most part, you are going to be plugging your mobile device in to a cradle that provides you with a receipt printer and bar code scanner. It looks like it has a very tight integration with QuickBooks, which may make this an important player in the market. I was initially put off by needing to use their cradle, but in a discussion after the show it sounds like you have a number of options if you use other devices (iPad, for example) or don’t need printing capability. Worth looking at if you are into field service management.
  • DrivenCRM: I thought this was a newer product, but after the show the presenter told me that this was formerly Oasis CRM, a product that has been around for awhile. Forget that they were Oasis, other than to know that they have been around for awhile – the product isn’t anything like Oasis as I remember it. Another CRM product, there were a lot of nice features. Time tracking turning into work orders. Field service work orders, sales estimates. bulk email management, lead management, an ecommerce module, an nifty integrated shipping module. This is worth looking at if you want CRM features.
  • Bill.com for QuickBooks Online: Bill.com is a great product (a Sleeter Group solution partner), but keep in mind that this is the IPP version and it is working with QuickBooks Online. At this time it is probably the only complete paperless bill pay service that works with QuickBooks Online. Their goal is to get you paid faster. There are many great features here, and if you are a QuickBooks Online user who has to manage receivables, this is an important product to look at.
  • Thrive Retail Store Software: “Take the guesswork out of your store’s advertising, marketing and sales”. This is going to be used by “brick and mortar” stores. They take your QuickBooks Online data for the “past” performance, ask you a bunch of questions about where you are now for the “present”, then provide you with a recommendations for the “future”. It seems that there is a lot of manual data entry and you are going to have to work hard to get it to the point where it makes recommendations, I wonder how many businesspeople are going to have the patience to do this. I wasn’t sold on the benefits, at least not from the presentation.
  • Method CRM: I’m actually going to say very little about this, other than to say “Wow”. Note that this was the version that works with QuickBooks Online, and there are other versions of Method for the desktop product. If you want to do customization of screens for you clients, look into this product. It is a bit technical to use, but not as technical as any of the programming toolkits Intuit provides (not by a long shot). A very exciting product family. I thought they should have been one of the winners (and they had the best presentation of all).
  • billFlo: This is a cash flow management/analysis product, and it looks very good. It will pull your data out of QuickBooks, also PayPal (maybe other sources) and give you a forward looking view of your cash flow. They look at your company history and try to make predictions as to when payments would be made by clients. They use aggregate data from online sources to find ways where you can resolve cash flow problems. If you have a lot of receivables, if cash flow is a touchy issue for you, this is well worth looking at.
  • Mabbled: Weird name. I think that this is an invoice payment rating service. It can be low cost (free?) if you allow them to take your data to be aggregated into their overall database. I would want to look at their security arrangements before I would do that myself. An interesting approach to a cash flow problem like billFlo. I think I like billFlo better, but I understood it better.
  • BotBill: Automated invoicing and payment collection. You can use your own payment gateways, I believe. Lots of similar concepts to Intuit Billing Solutions, but the interface was much better. It has auto reminders, records if the person has viewed their bill, lots of nifty stuff. It looks like there is a good integration with QuickBooks. Worth looking into.
  • Concur Breeze: Expense control (another one, getting tired of them today) that works with QuickBooks desktop. A very simple setup. They push two things, excellent credit card integration (higher accuracy than others, they say) and integration with Tripit. If you use Tripit to book travel, this could be a real time saver. The cost is low, it has good mobile integration, and it is very fast. Approvals can also be done via mobile device. A good player in the expense control marketplace.
  • OneWay Commerce: If you want to sell via Facebook, this is an interesting shopping cart product. Works with both the desktop and online versions of QuickBooks. Pulls your product info from QuickBooks, and pricing information. The setup is easy. It creates the shop as a tab in your Facebook page. Since I’m an old geezer I haven’t tried to sell anything through Facebook so I can’t really evaluate this well.
  • BodeTree: I’ll say right up front, I don’t know what this does. The presenter could have been selling yoga classes. “Your first step to business enlightenment”. A business analysis tool, comparing your QuickBooks data to industry standards, but I can’t really tell what the full value is. At $19.99 a month, it should be good???
  • bMobile NOW Pro for Android: OK, that tells you a lot. Mobile application, but just Android. I won’t test it, I have an iPad instead. Oh well. This is a mobile invoicing tool. It is simple to set up because it brings your data into the device, and the device is already set up. You will see your item list from QuickBooks, you can create an invoice, you can print a receipt. Looked nice, but I’m not sure what the price is. More limited than some other products, but if the price is right (and the device is right) it might be worthwhile.
  • Profitably: I can’t rate this. Too late in the day (long time sitting on those chairs!) and this is an area that I’m not as familiar with. If you are heavy into Excel business modeling, this may be for you – it will get you OUT of Excel business modeling. The QuickBooks data integration wasn’t clear to me.
  • SOSInventory: Now, finally, something right up my alley. Inventory management, manufacturing, order management. For QuickBooks Online. If you are using QBOE, you don’t have any kind of good manufacturing/inventory management. This looks VERY nifty. It provides features that I wish that we had in QuickBooks Desktop. Serial numbers, bar codes, and more. Integration looked very good. I’m going to dig into this one in more depth, it was a very good product from what I could see (but then, inventory/manufacturing always wakes me up…).
  • Pinnacle Cart eCommerce: I’ll apologize to these people – they were the last ones of the day so my attention was wandering. Lots of people were looking at their iPads and phones, either voting or checking email or looking up the traffic situation in San Francisco. I wasn’t doing any of that, but I was really tired and that gong was ringing in my ears.  I don’t know which QuickBooks product this works with, or what the prices are. This looks to e a very simple product for setting up an eCommerce web site. All drag and drop, no coding or tough integration issues. Lots of features, including Facebook and mobile integration. Sounds like they have all bases covered. I don’t know what the pricing is, but I would have to say that from the demo, if you want to set up an eCommerce solution that works with QuickBooks, this looks like it is very powerful AND may be one of the simplest to set up that I’ve seen. Worth looking into.

Too many apps to look at in depth. I’m going to try to spend more time with AgileShip, Transaction Pro Importer, OfficeAnt Customer Portal, Corelytics, AuditMyBooks, and SOSInventory to start with. Folks, if there are any others on this list (or, any that are NOT on this list) that you want me to focus on, let me know in a comment!

The Winners Are…

The competition was judged by a group of about eight venture capitalists who work in the computer technology field. In addition, people in the audience (present at the competition and viewing online) could submit their votes, which were taken into account (probably only to a small degree). I’ll have to say that I didn’t entirely agree with the results. Of course, I have a bias (several, probably). I’m a developer of QuickBooks integrated software myself, and QuickBooks integration is a huge factor for me. Some products relied on QuickBooks quite a bit more than others.

Talking afterwards to other attendees, every person I talked to thought that at least one of their top selections didn’t get chosen. The funny thing was that everyone had a different favorite that missed (although Method CRM was a common choice).

The winners were Bill.com, Postcard Services, Profitably and Corelytics. These are good products, but I would have been happier if Method CRM and Transaction Pro Importer had been in the top four. I also really liked AgileShip.

Note that each of the winners received a $25,000.00 prize. The “grand winner” was Corelytics, in addition to the cash they will be given a special promotional campaign in conjunction with Intuit.

I hope to have more in-depth reviews of some of these products over the next several months.


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About the author

Charlie Russell

Charlie Russell has been involved with the small business software industry since the mid 70's, and remembers releasing his first commercial accounting software product when you had an 8-bit microcomputer with one 8 inch floppy disk drive. He has a special interest in inventory and manufacturing software for small businesses. Charlie is a Certified Advanced QuickBooks ProAdvisor with additional certifications for QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Enterprise, as well as being a Xero Certified Partner. Charlie started blogging about QuickBooks in 2008 (Practical QuickBooks) and has been writing for the Accountex Report (formerly the Sleeter Report) since 2011.

Visit his CCRSoftware web site for information about his QuickBooks add-on products. He is also the author of the California Wildflower Hikes blog.

13 Comments

  • You are indeed “Super Charlie” the ultimate ‘blog composer’….I never cease to be amazed how you can compile and intelegently write about so much in such a short period of time. I mean just yesterday you gave us the first half of the list, and today we have the balance. Not to mention always insure proper grammar and spelling (unlike me).

    Heck I did good sending a client a few paragraphs on just ‘four products’ I reviewed and tested for them today (and I don’t mean that I did the review and testing today) just did the write-up.

    Anyway thanks again for ALWAYS giving us the great ‘scoop’ on so many new products and concepts.

    Murph

  • Thanks, Murph. I wrote the article all in one pass, it was just too long to be published in one article.

    There is a difference between “reviewed and tested” and this article. I have not tested any of these products. I’m not really reviewing them – I’m writing notes about their five minute presentation. That is a far cry from a “review” or “test”, which takes a lot more effort.

    I hope to actually “review and test” many of these products in the upcoming weeks, although that may happen after September 7th as I’m reviewing and testing another significant product at this time.

  • Charlie,

    Love Transaction Pro Importer. Bay State has yet to put out a product that doesn’t work fabulously.

    Let me know if you have any questions about SOS; I’ve done many setups over the last couple years (when it was called OECompanion.com). Great product that puts QBO in the running as an alternative to Enterprise.

    -Stacy

    • Thanks, Stacy. I wasn’t familiar with them, but then I don’t do as much work with QBOE. I’m looking forward to digging into this one when I have the time, because my background is in inventory and manufacturing software (I used to own a company that produced an MRP system, before QuickBooks was around).

      And you need to get a Gravatar so you can get a picture by your comments!

  • I’m originally from Kent in the United Kingdom and “to mabble” is a Kentish term mean to wrap/mix up. When searching for product names, it struck me that a key priority is in securing an available .com domain name that’s innocuous and carries little baggage. If you think mabbled’s weird, you’ll probably find the other domains I’ve registered even more enignmatic.

    Daz Wilkin
    Founder, brabant court
    Developer of Mabbled.

    • Thanks, Daz! Since I was skimming through the 30 apps, I didn’t take any time to do any research on names, etc. These were just impressions from the event. Note that I wasn’t knocking your product at all – it is just that in a five minute presentation there just wasn’t time for me to get a good handle on the value of the product, since it isn’t an area that I’ve dealt with directly.

      While the competition was interesting, and there were some eye catching products, it just wasn’t time enough for someone to get a full understanding of a product if it was in an area that you weren’t familiar with in detail. Inventory control? My area of expertise, so I could understand what they were saying and I could see exactly what they were doing. SOSInventory was really interesting as I know exactly what issue they are solving and I understood the terms. Then you take something like BodeTree, and I spent the whole five minutes just trying to understand what the overall concept was, so I couldn’t begin to evaluate it.

      Your product, FOR ME, was more on the “not familiar” end of the spectrum for me. I’m less knowledgeable about the issue, and so you not only had to educate me on what your solution was, you had to educate me on what the problem was itself. Hard to do in five minutes.

      My hats off to ALL of the exhibitors for giving it a go…

      • Charlie, I understand completely and no offense was taken; I thought you’d be interested in the background on the name.

        It is challenging to explain a product in 5 minutes but, it’s not unrealistic. Clearly, I didn’t do a good job in explaining Mabbled.

        If you have time, I’d value your honest feedback – please use the mail address I provided with this post – and/or an opportunity to have another opportunity to present to you.

        • Thanks, Daz. I don’t know that you can say that you didn’t do a good job necessarily. I would have picked some different products for the winners, at least in some cases. And everyone I talked to had a different final four.

  • Thanks for the great overview, Charlie. This is really helpful in getting a jump start on what’s out there in the new world of Intuit cloud computing.

    It took me a while to get around to reading your articles, but as it turned out the timing was perfect. I met several new consulting prospects Friday and as it turns out there are several products in your list that might work as part of a comprehensive solution for these clients.

    I’m a bit surprised at how many products only work with QB Online. Is there a reason for this? It seems like the IPP makes it easy to integrate with both QB Desktop and Online. For that matter, it’s fairly easy with the SDK. What am I missing?

    • I can’t say why there were so many QBOE related products, Mike. None of these would be SDK apps – it was specifically a showcase for the IPP apps. Although you can connect to both QBOE and QB Desktop with IPP, it still is a different process due to the differences in the two products (different fields, etc.). And since we are talking about web based, apps, I would think that there is a natural connection to a web based accounting program, just from a logic and marketing sense. Also, QBOE is growing very rapidly these days. And, personally, I find that people who are using QBOE are more open to an online app than many desktop users. Throw in the hassles of keeping the “Sync Manager” going properly on an end user’s desktop system (not needed with QBOE), those might be some reasons that people are looking at QBOE. But that is all speculation on my part.

      • Charlie’s correct. For IPP apps to gain access to QuickBooks data, the data needs to be available in IPP (IDS). This is the default location for QuickBooks Online users but QuickBooks Desktop users must sync their data before it is available. While there are millions of QuickBooks Desktop users, a very small proportion actively sync their files with IPP. As Charlie also mentions, QuickBooks Online users are also more likely to consider web-based apps.

        • I would love to have hard statistics from Intuit on how many companies really use Sync-Manager based apps, but that hasn’t been something that I’ve been able to get reliable numbers on.

          Some of that also may be due to the poor behavior of Sync Manager, particularly in the early days. I still have problems with the dang thing on my own system…

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