Friday, July 18, 2014

Google Apps + Method CRM = Marriage Made in the Cloud


I have been using Method CRM and customizing it for my clients for years. It has been (and still continues to be) the best way to sync QuickBooks for Desktop into the cloud. But it also works with QuickBooks Online, which is a great way to compensate for its shortcomings such as its lack of sales orders. I am a big proponent for moving as much as possible into the cloud, and I have done so with every single file stored and cross-platform apps. The main holdouts on my computer are still Quicken, QuickBooks, and TurboTax. For the longest time, I was such a big Microsoft follower, and I still continue to use Word and Excel for certain features and quick functionality. However, it seems like MS was going into the wrong direction and I stopped upgrading by staying with Windows 7 and Office 2010. I just didn't like the flat graphics of their latest Office offerings and we all know what a disaster Windows 8 is. My last holdout until recently was Outlook. I have used it for so many years and I really loved both the Evernote and Method CRM plugins. But it just seemed so "one-way", as I am now spoiled by the Google ecosystem: apps that sync info to and from the cloud to my PC, Android smartphone, Google Glass, and Chromebook. Yes, I took the blue pill and I love it!


I've had a personal Gmail account for as long as I can remember and nothing beats needing only one login for everything Google. But I could never get the same kind of syncing with my business' own email domain. I've heard about Google Apps before, but I was always afraid of "letting go" of controlling my email via Hostgator, which I think is the best web hosting company for features. I decided to take the plunge a couple of months ago and signed up for a free trial. The only hiccup was finding out that I had Google services under my business email that I must have set up a long time ago, which prevented me from transferring the domain. But then I remembered a cool little feature that shows you everything you have with Google. After I had cleaned that up and signed up again, it was a total breeze setting up the domain in Google Apps. It literally took under 30 minutes. Next, with just a few clicks I was able to set up the Gmail Gadget from Marketplace Apps via the Admin console. Since I already have a Method account, it was free. And then instantly I was able to add contacts and activities within my emails. 




And the best part is that if the gadget recognizes an existing contact via their email address, I can easily add an activity, case, or opportunity or view existing activities, transactions, documents, and more; information that was already in QuickBooks and Method now all available within Gmail!


Now, this is where it gets really fun. Within Method, I can track all my activities and work on them later, such as replying to emails, returning phone calls, working on To Do's.


And I don't have to go back into Gmail to reply to emails, as I can send them directly from within Method and it still shows in my Gmail Sent folder. I could go on and on about how much I can accomplish just with this gadget...




...but there is something even more incredible that I have struggled with for years. I have always preferred creating events in my personal Google calendar so that my business appointments showed across my devices, especially my smartphone and Google Glass, which is great for driving navigation. But I couldn't send invites to my clients using my personal email address. And if I created appointments in Outlook, it was such a pain getting it to sync with my Google calendar. I've used an Outlook add-on, which then no longer became available, and then I added it as an internet calendar. But I just hated the dual calendars in Outlook and it was just too clunky, not very seamless. 

Google Apps solved this problem. Now I can create appointments in my Google calendar, send invites, and best of all, it now syncs bidirectionally with my calendar in Method!


An event created in Google now shows up in Method:



And an appointment created in Method...


...now shows up in Google calendar.


And this is where Google really shines: sharing. By sharing my Google Apps calendar with my personal calendar and vice versus, I can now see all my daily events in just one calendar on my mobile devices. The time that this has saved me is amazing! I could still use Outlook, as I have recently learned of the Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook®. But I had already weaned myself off of it with the advantage of having everything I need in multiple tabs in my Chrome browser, not to mention never having to worry about having to back up that pesky Outlook.pst file or transfer it to a new computer. I can totally understand people's reluctance to change, but I can tell you that I have never missed my Outlook. The same will probably be true when I switch to QuickBooks Online, which would be perfect for my business, but I'll save that migration for later.

So, now the details:

You can get started with Google Apps with a 30-day free trial. After that, it is just $5 per month per user with 30GB of storage. They now have a new plan that is $10 per month per user with all the same features plus unlimited storage, Google Vault, and more. But make sure you ask me for a coupon so that you can get a $10 per-user discount for the first year. And then sign up for Method CRM with a 30-day free trial. After that, it is just $25 per month per user or $40 per month per user for their Pro plan, which includes the ability to customize additional fields and tables not in QuickBooks and to add additional free apps such as Method Field Services. And remember: I can provide major discounts on QuickBooks for Desktop and Online (up to 50% for the life of your subscription!), not to mention get all of this stuff set up for you.









Monday, July 7, 2014

QuickBooks Mobile will be discontinued effective July 31, 2014

Unfortunately, Intuit has decided to kill their mobile app for QuickBooks for Windows product. Even though this app was limited in functionality, it was still a great way to quickly look up customers and create invoices when out and about and away from the office. This is just one more indication that Intuit is focusing their resources on the QuickBooks Online product. 

However, due to the short lead time on this announcement, this will cause a lot of headaches for businesses that have already invested and implemented their processes based on it. And now they will scramble to find replacements. 

Fortunately, I have stuck with Method CRM for all my clients' mobile needs. Not only does it have probably the best sync with QuickBooks, but practically all your data and more is available out of the office on any mobile device. 

Contact us to find out how we can get your business back up and running with the best mobile option for QuickBooks.