If you could use a few extra hours for growing your business or doing something with your family, integrating your Customer Relationship Management tool (CRM) and accounting applications is a game-changer. When your CRM and accounting apps can send data back and forth unhindered, manual data entry becomes a thing of the past. The result is more hours in the day for your entire team — augmenting both their work and home lives.
This is only one of the many advantages of integration for a small business or nonprofit organization that improves productivity. Here are four other ways it helps:
1. Double data entry is time wasted
Accounting apps and the best CRMs for small business, like Keap, need much of the same information to reach their full potential. They both need to know the names of your customers, what they purchased and more. Entering the same data into two different systems clearly wastes time, whether you are manually typing it or downloading CSV files, reformatting them and uploading them into multiple apps.
More than 66% of small businesses, medium businesses and nonprofits report that processing invoices take five days time, every month. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If your accounting and CRM software for small business are integrated, you can use only one app as your hub instead of logging in and out of each application. No more exporting and uploading, just enter a new customer in your CRM and a new profile will automatically be created in your accounting app without ever needing to log in.
2. Errors and bad data are limited
Manual data entry is tedious and error-prone, especially if you’re entering information twice. While it’s easy to accidentally put information in the wrong place or to format something incorrectly, discrepancies between your CRM and accounting will cause huge issues that are difficult to fix.
According to the National Law Review, bad data costs U.S. businesses more than $3 trillion every year. While that number is huge and covers everything from small businesses to megacorporations, let’s also look at it from a more granular level. About 62% of consumers recently surveyed said that a brand will lose their loyalty if they are delivered an impersonal experience. Unfortunately, bad data almost always creates bad experiences for the customers it attempts to target.
Here’s the good news: Integration providers that allow for duplicate control will keep this problem at bay. Not only does the removal of possible human error increase accuracy, but duplicate control ensures that the same email doesn’t get added twice under two different accounts by searching your entire database before creating a new account.
It’s a worthy investment to save yourself from the high price of bad data.
3. Complex systems made easier
If your small business sells merchandise or uses other apps to run a facet of the business, your vital information may be spread out between three to five different apps like Keap, QuickBooks Online, Shopify, Zendesk, etc. You need all of these apps to share information so your customer information, purchase history and marketing efforts don't work against one another. For example, you don't want to have duplicates of a customer and send them the wrong marketing campaign, or miss vital information while providing customer service, because you used the wrong profile.
Integration makes conversations and fluidity between all of your apps easy and automatic. They also open up a full 360-degree view of your business that you can access in minutes. A small business needs to have all purchases in sync with its CRM and accounting for accurate revenue reports — and integration makes this process painless and automatic.
4. Real-time tracking for cash flow
Small businesses and nonprofits are usually running lean, and that means every penny matters. Revenue tracking needs to be easy and immediate so every dollar is accounted for and stretched efficiently.
Manual data-swapping simply doesn't allow for this. It’s too time-consuming to log in, download data, format it (only to log into your other app and upload it), then generate the report. Integration means the data you need will be sitting there in the app you’ve chosen as your hub — or in both if you choose a service with bi-directional sync — always ready to go.
It's critical that a small business or nonprofit keeps on top of its cash flow to manage business finances and grow new business. Integration makes this a breeze.
Kristine Colosimo is an integration evangelist and writer for Workato. Workato began when a group of early integration experts came together to create a no-code integration service with vast enterprise capabilities at a low price for small business users. To read more about Workato’s features, visit their website.