‘Never ask a plumber to fix a leak at home’. For all of our expertise in Salesforce, it always seems like our internal systems are lagging behind those of our customers. Makes sense when you consider that we make our living by ensuring that our delivery team are serving customers as opposed to ‘fixing leaks at home’.
However, I had finally had enough of the extra work involved in manually maintaining separate accounting and CRM systems. Not only was there the inefficiency associated with raising invoices and PO’s/bills in Salesforce and then having to enter them again in Sage, but in addition there was the double entry of cash paid and received so that the team could use Salesforce to see the status of customer invoices or vendor bills. Needless to say we were always running behind in updating Salesforce, dramatically reducing the value of having the information available.
So, we finally made the move to integrate our accounting and Salesforce systems. We needed an interface with our single Salesforce Org that would work seamlessly with multiple companies/currencies. One of the members of the Salesforce User Group in Reno, Nevada, works for a company called Breadwinner who have an interface that connects Salesforce to Xero, Salesforce to NetSuite and Salesforce to QuickBooks Online, so this was an obvious choice for us.
We also took the decision to migrate our accounting systems to Xero for a couple of reasons. Firstly, we were running two companies on different accounting systems (Sage in the UK and Quickbooks in the US) and Xero provided the best mix of price and functionality for us in both locations. Secondly, Xero is a popular choice for accounting in our Non-Profit customers and it made sense for us to enhance our knowledge in Xero and integrating it with Salesforce accordingly.
Having migrated the books, which is actually pretty straightforward if you have a decent grasp of book keeping, it was then just a question of installing the Breadwinner managed package and configuring it to meet our requirements. This was all achieved in about 2 hours with some help from my buddy at Breadwinner. Essentially, Breadwinner creates a link between the Account record in Salesforce and Customer or Vendor records in Xero, and then maintains a ‘joining object’ in Salesforce of all invoices/bills from Xero. You can create invoices and bills in Xero from Salesforce using standard objects (Opportunities/Products and Orders) or custom objects. In our case we manage both processes through custom objects. By following the Breadwinner instructions along with some Salesforce Admin knowledge, it was pretty straightforward to create the required buttons and page layouts to support the interface in a way that worked for us.
Example of a bill in Xero in our live Salesforce Org linked to our custom Payable object
Now, all we need to do is reconcile our bank transactions in Xero each day (flow down automatically using bank feeds) and the invoices and bills on Salesforce are updated automatically. I estimate that this is saving at least a day a month of our time, and what’s more, the information on Salesforce now always represents the latest position from the bank.
If you want to pick our brains on Xero and integration with Salesforce then please don’t hesitate to contact us.