Practice Management QuickBooks

Building a QuickBooks-Centric Smart Back Office

Written by Stephen King

Why do we do accounting? To help clients perform an audit, file a tax return, design an accounting system—or to help them with business consulting? Well, yes, but most importantly we do accounting to help clients make more money. It’s important to think about how software will help them accomplish this. This article explains how building a Smart Back Office ensures that more relevant data gets into a QuickBooks accounting system—more quickly and with fewer errors than manual processes. This adds up to more meaningful, accurate, and timely information with a lower total cost of accounting functions.


“There’s a tsunami coming and the accounting industry is not ready. It’s called zero entry accounting and tech-savvy businesses and firms are figuring it out. If accounting professionals do not get in front of this new wave of automation and integration, they’re really going to have a hard time.” ~ Stephen King, CPA and CEO of GrowthForce

How Will Software Help Your Clients Make More Money?

It’s critical that you understand how to use technology, not just for technology’s sake or even just to help streamline processes, but in order to actually deliver financial reports that help business owners make data-driven decisions that lead to financial growth.

The ability to automate and integrate, billing and collections, bill payment, time tracking, payroll and automated job costing, helps streamline and integrate data from one system to the other—and now you and your clients can have this data available in a centralized spot. This allows accounting professionals to monitor performance and help decision-makers implement strategies that increase profits.

That is how accounting changes lives. It drives business outcomes. If you’ve got actionable, financial intelligence that enables data-driven decisions, then you’ve got the ability to make more money by helping make strategic decisions that drive performance and profitability. Software, or in this case a QuickBooks-centric Smart Back Office, can also save time so that business owners can focus on their core competency: generating sales, and serving clients.

Automation and integrations in accounting and bookkeeping allow for better management of processes and data—presenting opportunities to slice and dice data to achieve financial growth. Given today’s cloud-based technology, which businesses of all sizes are racing to integrate, there’s never been a better time to be a small business.

For Us it Begins With QuickBooks®

Intuit QuickBooks

GrowthForce continually researches and tests the apps and web-based tools that integrate with QuickBooks to provide small businesses with a seamless, integrated financial management function. GrowthForce is an Intuit Premier Reseller and our service team members are QuickBooks certified. Our latest recommendations are discussed in The Smart Back Office eBook, including for the following topics:

  • Billing, Collections & Cash Flow
  • Bill Payment
  • Time Tracking
  • Payroll Solutions
  • Expense Management
  • KPIs & Scorecards

How Do You Build a Smart Back Office?

1) Start with the end in mind: What are the reports that will be most useful as a scorecard to monitor the business’s key performance indicators? What customized charts and graphs, powered by QuickBooks, will provide an immediate snapshot into the financial wellbeing of the business? Work backwards from there.

2) Design and optimize: Figure out what data your clients need to capture in QuickBooks and how to use the Intuit ecosystem to automate the delivery of these key financial reports. For example, if you want to see P&L by team, add a team field to the customer record. Then memorize a report showing profit and loss for each team.

3) Take control of finances: The accounting objective of a Smart Back Office is for the business to take control of its finances by having a unique business solution that will help management understand the company’s:

  • Profitability by customer, job or project or service, team, and employee;
  • Impact from pricing decisions;
  • Which marketing campaigns are most effective;
  • Biggest contributors to profits; and
  • True cash position.

4) Decide whether to build a Smart Back Office yourself or rely on an outsourced accounting service. Once a business owner commits to increasing operational efficiencies through automating back office procedures, the next decision is whether to tackle the task in-house or outsource it to an expert in Smart Back Office systems.

For businesses looking to radically streamline and improve their accounting, The Smart Back Office (SBO) is yet another benefit of today’s technological advances. SBO levels the playing field for small and medium sized businesses and organizations.

That’s a major advantage that small businesses didn’t have in years past. To learn about how to take advantage of what’s available to your business today, download our guide to The Smart Back Office.

What Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) Should Be Measured?

Once a smart back office is in place, the goal is to understand what is most important in the financial reports. CPAs should be able to determine what information needs to be seen each day, week, month, quarter, and year in order to enable the client to make critical business decisions about pricing, staffing, and cash flow. It’s time to Put Your Numbers to Work!

Look for a follow-up article that will dive deeper into KPIs and scorecards and how to “Keep Score” for small businesses.

Save pagePDF pageEmail pagePrint page

About the author

Stephen King

Stephen King, CPA CGMA, is president and CEO of GrowthForce, a recognized industry leader in providing cloud-based bookkeeping and controller services for growing businesses.

From manager of accounting system design at Ernst & Young, to CFO for Amnesty International USA, to serial entrepreneur and software developer, Stephen's thirty-plus years of accounting knowledge, coupled with system and software design, led to his creation of GrowthForce. Stephen's "Software With A Service" solution combines outsourced Controller and bookkeeping services with an application development company specializing in QuickBooks integration, and is backed by a dedicated team of bookkeepers, Controllers and degreed accountants providing actionable financial intelligence. 

Regarded among the accounting industry's top thought leaders by AICPA CPA2Biz, Stephen remains at the forefront of ongoing research, development and customization of software and technology integrations to improve operational efficiencies and deliver meaningful financial intelligence to a growing number of strategic CEOs and CPAs around the globe.


  • Stephen,

    Thanks for the article. I have a question that maybe you can help with. Do most e-commerce firms processing several thousand orders a month import each order into their QB or do they just do summary entries. A summary entry might be as a receipt, and include the various items sold and quantities plus the price for each line?

    We are at a point where we do summary entries, but I would benefit from data analysis. I am wondering what is your experience here? I am not in a position to engage your firm, but I have put you in my accounting notes in OneNote for future consideration should we grow a bit more.

    • At the last Accountex conference, ecommerce expert Scott Scharf explained that his firm generally approached the problem by posting summaries to the accounting software. His firm uses Xero, but the same concepts would apply to both QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks desktop. These kinds of products aren’t really designed to handle a huge influx of detailed transactions. You are usually better off trying to analyze and manage the details of the transactions in the software that is designed to manage the ecommerce traffic.

      Some people might not agree. I happen to agree with Scott in this case, at least for the majority of situations.

      • Thank you. I will be checking Zoho Reports to use for data analysis. If it works, and we decide against importing transactions, then I will come back and comment in case others can benefit.

  • I agree with Charlie. The best practice is to use the e-commerce system as your sub-ledger and just record summary entries in the general ledger. That keeps the GL clean and eliminates the need for another account reconciliation that adds no value.

    Btw, this is generally true for all POS systems, not just e-commerce engines…I hope that helps.

Leave a Comment