Your invoicing and accounting are most likely based on the data and information from your CRM. However, these two areas are usually separated, which means that the same information always has to be inserted in different places. However, a CRM with invoicing is not only rare, but can also quickly become expensive. Most likely, you also already use separate applications for CRM and accounting, which are difficult to replace. So instead, how about linking the two applications together to complement your CRM with invoicing?
This is exactly what can be helpful not only for invoices, but also for offers or evaluations. What do all these documents have in common? They are PDF files that concern CRM and accounting and are usually standardised. If you want to create such a PDF automatically, for example for invoices, evaluations or quality analyses, and then make them available to other people, a connection between CRM and accounting brings great advantages. We explain it with 3 examples and numerous tools that are possible for this.
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Invoices, offers or evaluations always contain the same information and usually have to be available as PDF files - the core is customer information and master data from the CRM: What is the address of the company, who is responsible, what services are billed? Instead of copying this recurring data manually from CRM to accounting, we can automate such data flows and have PDFs created automatically. This saves you a lot of time and reduces errors.
As mentioned above, your CRM and your accounting are based on the same data. And it is important that they are correct and always updated. For this data maintenance alone, it makes sense to integrate your CRM with your accounting software. By linking the two tools, we ensure that all information is always up-to-date and correct. But you still don't have automatic invoicing.
To do this, we need to transfer the relevant information from your CRM and possibly other tools, perhaps your webshop, customer portal or project management (more on this below) into your accounting software. Based on this information and a ready-made template, we then automatically generate invoices that contain the correct information on customers, scope of services, services or products and invoice amount. These are then sent automatically.
First of all, you need an accounting tool, who would have thought it? It is important that this application is cloud-based, for example Lexoffice, bexio, Easybill, Fastbill or sevDesk, but many other tools are also possible. This can then be connected to your CRM. Here, too, the keyword is cloud tool: Pipedrive, Hubspot, Salesforce, 1CRM, FreshSales and many more are conceivable. If we integrate these two tools with a so-called iPaaS software, such as Make or Zapier, we complement your CRM with invoicing and save you a lot of manual work.
We mentioned it briefly above: For your CRM with invoicing, it is of course necessary that the information on projects and orders is also available from other data sources. For example, from your project management tool such as Plutio, Monday, Asana or Trello. These are all cloud tools that help you to keep track of everything. From these applications, we receive information on the scope of services, invoiced hours including descriptions or the service period. This information is transferred to your accounting department and flows into the invoicing. In this way, we connect not only CRM and accounting, but also your project management.
By the way: even without accounting, we can realise valuable automations on this basis: for example, reports and evaluations can be created according to a predefined schedule and give you an overview of your projects. The data for this comes either from project management or financial accounting. These only have to be bundled and inserted. We can also automate this: This way, reports are created weekly, monthly or individually that reflect the current status without costing you a lot of time to create.
As before, all that is required for this automation is that you use cloud tools. We then automate these via Make or Zapier, allowing the different applications to automatically exchange data and complement your CRM with invoicing.
The previous examples are really simple, but that's why we put them there: it doesn't take much to extend your CRM with invoicing. These examples should show you that it doesn't take much magic and you don't have to replace the software you are already using. Rather, the solution comes via programming interfaces, so-called APIs, which enable us to exchange data between applications.
Once automated, your CRM and accounting can save you a lot of time and manual work. And let's face it, who likes copying data from one application to the next? It's exactly those copy and paste tasks that are ideal for automation.
Are you curious and would like to learn more? Or are you wondering whether your tools and processes are suitable for automation? Together we will find individual solutions that are flexible and scalable.
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Cloud Integration, iPaaS, SaaS, BPA… Ough, hard to keep track of all these terms. They are currently used frequently (and increasingly) in the context of automation, and it is sometimes difficult to make a clear distinction and distinction. We have already written blog posts on the terms iPaaS, SaaS and BPA, but we’ll take them up again here to make the difference.
But let’s start with cloud integration, because that’s the central umbrella term in which we embed all the other technologies in this blog post.
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To illustrate these advantages, an example is suitable that we know well from our everyday work as an automation agency:
The central data to be used here is the data of a major customer. This can be the simplest information, such as the address. This address is required in numerous but completely different processes in the company: on the one hand, for correct invoicing in accounting. On the other hand, in the CRM system, where all the data of the large customer is also stored. But the address is also important in sales, for example, when employees go to the sales meeting on site.
Now the customer announces that the address of the company has changed after a move. This information will reach you by e-mail. There are now two options:
01. The e-mail is forwarded to all affected departments, accounting, sales, customer service, marketing… All persons open their corresponding program, CRM, accounting software, marketing tools (such as newsletter marketing) and change the data already stored there of the customer. This means that in multiple applications, different people do exactly the same thing: change one address.
02. But there is also an alternative: By connecting your applications, thus by integrizing them, the customer’s e-mail, or rather the information it contains about the address change, is automatically passed on to all affected applications: CRM, accounting, marketing, ERP. This does not require any clicks, because the cloud integration detects a trigger, i.e. address change, and thus automatically starts the process.
What sounds unimpressive in a single process becomes more effective when such a process occurs several times a day or weekly. Because there is a lot of data that is available in different applications and should always be correct. If these applications are cloud applications they are suitable for cloud integration.
But cloud integration doesn’t just happen. There are now a variety of applications that enable and implement this. Such tools usually allow us to link the relevant cloud applications on a central platform and define clear rules on when, how, where, how much data should be passed on and what happens to them.
To realize cloud integration, there are various applications and technologies that are sometimes used interchangeably.
We have made a first distinction between iPaaS and BPA here.
We explain the term SaaS in more detail here.
Cloud integration is rather an umbrella term that includes numerous technologies, such as SaaS, iPaaS and BPA, and this is also absolutely necessary. Cloud integration is a concept that is made possible by appropriate technologies.
However, all terms share the commonality that they are cloud-based and thus offer enormous potential for growth and scaling. In addition, they are often cheaper to implement and maintain because changed requirements are easy to implement.
As an independent automation agency, we implement cloud integration according to your requirements. We use a variety of SaaS tools and iPaas (strictly speaking BPA) software. Together we find individual solutions that are flexible and scalable.