As your business continues to grow in complexity and your systems grow with it, you want to consider how your systems connect to other systems. In the case of accounting systems, one of the most important connections you’ll want to ensure happens is connecting accounting data with the data in your CRM (Customer Relationship Management).
While it might sound obvious to some, I see a lot of businesses that set up software for their accounting and software for their CRM that don’t talk to each other.
There is a lot of synergy between the data in your accounting systems and the data in your CRM. With the CRM being focused on sales type activities, you’ll have loads of great data about your Customers and your selling efforts.
The software in your accounting system is also going to have a treasure trove of data about your Customers. While some of the data will overlap the CRM data (name, company, address, etc.), good accounting software is going to have some additional information in it as well (how long did it take the Customer to pay an invoice, what type of payment was used, Customers with unpaid invoices, etc.).
When you’re able to connect this information together, you’ll be able to gain additional, powerful insights into your Customers’ behavior.
Are there commonalities between Customers that haven’t yet paid you? Can you identify these Customers during your sales cycle and get ahead of them?
Are there trends that you can see in the sales process that relate to Customers late paying or not paying?
Are there trends that you can see that all of your “good payers” have? How can you identify these people in the sales cycle?
In short, any data you have in your accounting system could be used in conjunction with your CRM data to build better Customer profiles and help you better understand and influence your Customers’ behaviors.
How to Connect Data Between System Data
There are lots of options on how to connect data from your sales systems to data from your accounting systems.
First, start by defining the outcomes you’d want to get by combining your CRM and accounting system data. What questions are you hoping to answer? Do you have the right data in the applications to answer those questions or do you need to add some new fields?
If you’ve already got software for both, you’ll first want to look at the data options available for importing and exporting data from each application. Most modern software in both the CRM and accounting spaces support csv file imports and exports at a minimum. Additionally, RPA (Robotic Process Automation) tools like Zapier have pre-built connections to many CRMs and accounting apps to make automating data transfers between applications easier.
Once you understand the options for passing data back and forth, you’ll want to decide one location to house the collective data. For Optimize For Outcomes, I use Zoho One which includes both CRM and Accounting software that are already integrated. All of the data ends up in the CRM and I’m able to quickly and easily see accounting data specific to an individual Customer.
After deciding on where the data is going to live, get to work setting up the applications. This will involve configuration on both sides and potentially some configuration with an additional 3rd tool if you go the RPA route.
If you’re still using something like Google Sheets to capture data, you can still benefit from merging the data and can even still benefit from tools like Zapier to help you automate the consolidation of data.
Once you’ve got everything built, take it for a test drive and double check your data/results. Ensure you’re seeing the right things and that it’s working the way you expected it to work.
I’d advise you to automate as much of this as possible, as I’ve often seen manual reporting processes be used for a little while but often stop getting done after a short while. This will of course lead you to old data/information that isn’t useful.
Spending the time to connect your sales and accounting systems’ data will give you new insights into your business and help you see your business in new and profitable ways!
As always, if you have any questions or comments, you can email me directly at email@example.com.