PayPal Syncs with QuickBooks Online

By Pedro Hernandez | Posted May 19, 2015

QuickBooks Online and PayPal are now in sync, allowing small business owners to spend less time on data entry and more time on their customers.

Intuit, the Mountain View, Calif.-based accounting software company, announced today a new app called Sync with PayPal that helps entrepreneurs reclaim valuable time, according Rajashree Pimpalkhare, director of partner solutions at Intuit QuickBooks. "Time is money, and the average small business owner spends an inordinate amount of time in terms of backend bookkeeping."

For merchants and service providers that rely on PayPal for their payments processing, at least in part, that means carving out several hours a week to import their transactions into QuickBooks Online. It's not uncommon for small business owners to devote eight to ten hours a week squaring away their sales data.

In some cases, they can spend up to "four hours a day just entering sales data," Pimpalkhare remarked. Others lost an entire day. During the app's beta, "we were talking to customers who blocked off Fridays to enter their sales information into QuickBooks," she said.

Ending Error-prone Data Entry

Mistakes can also rob small businesses of their precious time.

Manual data entry is notoriously error-prone, requiring employees to double check their work or that of others with access to their accounting software, Pimpalkhare added. And frankly, not every entrepreneur dreams of spending his or her days wearing out the keyboard and poring over sales data.

"Accounting is tedious; not everyone is an expert in accounting," she said, echoing the feelings of anyone who has stumbled away from their desks bleary-eyed after balancing the books.

Sales receipt: PayPal and Intuit

Sync with PayPal brings PayPal payments and receipts into QuickBooks.

Lately, there's no desk at all, reminded Pimpalkhare. Mobile- and cloud-enabled work styles are quickly becoming the norm. Small businesses "are moving very rapidly to the cloud. They're no longer stuck to their applications on the desktop," she said.

Intuit and PayPal: Better Together

Sync with PayPal is "one of the first integrations that we focused on, and worked closely with, a partner," Pimpalkhare revealed. "Customers had asked for an application that can show detailed sales information" and Intuit teamed with PayPal to address the need.

A significant number of QuickBooks Online customers also use PayPal, approximately 25 percent, she noted. The cloud accounting platform has attracted roughly 841,000 subscribers thus far, according to Pimpalkhare.

The partnership symbolizes Intuit's new, more open approach to the market for small business software. The company has its own payments processing offerings, Pimpalkhare noted. "We compete and work together, because we essentially serve the same small business customers," she said.

In that spirit of "coopetition," the companies have cooked up a free app that goes beyond the basic integrations of the past.

PayPal Transactions, Fully in Sync 

Importing PayPal data was possible prior to today's release, but it was hardly what anyone would consider a comprehensive solution. QuickBooks Online would display "very simple transaction information, a one-line description of the transaction," Pimpalkhare said. The burden of categorizing those transactions and making sure that the proper accounts reflected them rested squarely on a user's shoulders. Taxes, fees and other calculations were also the responsibility of the user.

After a quick set-up process, Sync with PayPal automatically imports transactions, and accounts for taxes, discounts, tips and even the fees charged by PayPal. "Everything starts flowing automatically," said Wei Wang, solutions architect at Intuit QuickBooks, during a live demonstration of the product.

After linking a PayPal account, the setup process was fast and reassuringly anticlimactic. QuickBooks Online then instantly displayed the impact of PayPal sales in its visually-rich, Mint-inspired user interface.

Every 15 minutes, Sync with PayPal fetches the latest information, presenting you with a complete picture of your financial health. Customers can also edit individual transactions in the event that a transaction was wrongly categorized or if other hiccups that may occur.

Ensuring that people don't have to start from scratch, the app can import up to 18 months of past PayPal data at any time. Moreover, the app not only frees up a small businesses owner's time, but it provides a "sense of confidence that this integration is working for you behind the scenes every day," Wang said.

"From an accounting perspective your books are completely accurate," added Wang.

Sync with PayPal is available now in the U.S. Intuit plans to release the app in Australia, Canada and the U.K. later this year.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Small Business Computing. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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