Linking CRM and Accounting
Streamlining business processes to achieve greater efficiency and cost savings is important for many businesses. However, integrations between front-office and back-office systems are often overlooked or dismissed due to high up-front costs and security concerns. This whitepaper discusses why businesses should consider integrating CRM (front-office) and Accounting (back-office) software, and how they can do this in a cost efficient and secure way.
Within a typical business it is common to have a number of separate databases each serving a specific purpose, such as a CRM database (for qualitative data) and an accounting database (for quantitative data). Within such environments there is a need to enter and maintain the same information across the different databases, and herein lies a problem – dual entry of data.
Each time the business acquires a new customer, information must be recorded in two databases; and any changes to this information need to be applied twice. But what if the customer changed their contact details and the changes were not made across the board? What if the accounting system kept the old billing address? Having disconnected processes gives the potential for a multitude of errors that can cause disruption and inefficiencies within the business.
Another thing to consider is from time to time staff may need access to information which is not typically available to them, for example sales staff may require real time access to a customer’s transaction history. Within a disconnected environment sales staff that do not have access to accounting software would need to get this information from the accountant(s). This can be problematic, especially for smaller organizations that usually employ one or two accountants part-time, as staff may not get the information to the customer when needed. The loss of productivity as a result of acquiring this information can also be quite significant.
There may also be situations when your staff also require access to certain business functions which are not normally available to them. For example, consider the process of raising quotes or invoices; when a customer requests a quote sales staff would require an up-to-date pricing list, and when a quote is generated it must be forwarded to the accountant to get converted into an order and then an invoice. In a disconnected environment the risk of sales staff using outdated pricing is high and can cause problems for the accounting department.
The solution to this is to find a way to provide staff with access to both sets of information from one place so they can see the “big picture” without having to jump between multiple systems. This can be achieved through the integration of CRM and accounting processes.
Integrating disconnected processes provides organisations with a number of benefits. Including:
- Reducing or even eliminating dual entry of data, saving time and minimizing data entry errors by pushing data changes between CRM and accounting systems
- Giving sales staff access to vital financial information within the CRM system so they can provide a higher level of service to customers
- Reducing the workload on accounts and close more sales by allowing sales staff to have controlled access to accounting functions such as estimate and invoice creation, and
- Streamlining business processes and improve workflow to enable your business to become more agile and responsive to your customers and changes in the marketplace.