QuickBooks is an integrated accounting software package developed by Intuit. With over 5.6 million customers, QuickBooks offers copious help to the accounting staff of small and large business owners. Their software can be used to manage sales and expenses and keep track of daily transactions by invoicing customers, paying bills, generating reports and more.  

Integrating with FileMaker

For FileMaker users and developers who need an outside application, such as QuickBooks, to communicate with their FileMaker App, integration between FileMaker and the other application will help increase productivity and efficiency. Integration will allow the two applications to communicate with each other. This will save users and/or developers tremendous amounts of effort. If a user was using FileMaker along with an outside application, but did not have the two apps integrated, he or she constantly would end up doing double data entry from one system to the next.  

Integration could be useful to companies with a unique workflow. Also, integrating FileMaker with QuickBooks could help companies that want their employees to have access to data on customers, items, inventory, payments, etc., while protecting the QuickBooks file.  

A typical need for integration between FileMaker and QuickBooks is to automate the push/pull of invoice data. FileMaker is used to create a custom solution that allows a team to gather customer invoice data from a desktop, web, or iOS device. Developers would then create scripts to send the invoice data to QuickBooks and pull updates back into FileMaker. It can be set up so that when a customer record is created in FileMaker, a corresponding record is automatically created in QuickBooks.

FileMaker Books Connector

The FM Books Connector plugin, developed by Productive Computing, is used for the data exchange between FileMaker and QuickBooks Desktop for Windows. A notable limitation of the FM Books connector is that it only works for connecting to QuickBooks Desktop on Windows; it is not supported on Mac. It requires an annual subscription to purchase this product, but it allows for adding, editing, deleting, or querying basically any QuickBooks data from inside FileMaker Pro. 

One of the benefits of the FM Books Connector is that you do not need to learn qbXML, QuickBooks Extensible Markup Language, to use it. The website where you will purchase and download the plug-in also contains a download to a sample file for a demo, along with a video tutorial about getting started.  

Integrating QuickBooks Online with FileMaker

Critical to users that are running QuickBooks on Mac, there is another version of the Plug-in, developed by Productive Computing, that works with Mac and QuickBooks online. It is called the FM Books Online Edition, and it is supported on Mac, Windows, as well as FM Cloud. 

The demo file will show you examples on posting new customers or invoices to QuickBooks, pulling customers or invoices into FileMaker Pro from QuickBooks, updating customers in QuickBooks and pulling a customer balance into FileMaker Pro.  

Alternative QuickBooks and FileMaker integration options

The FM Books Connector plug-in is not the only way to integrate QuickBooks with FileMaker, it is just recommended in many situations because it can save time and effort and allows FileMaker developers to skip a large portion of the learning curve QuickBooks will provide to a first-time user.  

LedgerLink, formerly known as fmQBO, is a solution, developed by Geist Interactive, that can be used as a go-between, between your custom apps and your QuickBooks online account. LedgerLink is a solution, not a plug-in or a driver, it phones home to a licensing server, but it runs entirely on custom functions and scripts. The solution includes a connector file that handles the OAuth portion of QuickBooks Online. LedgerLink requires an annual subscription to its users. Prices vary depending on the number of users, but it is significantly more expensive than the FM Books Connector Plug-in and the FM Books Online Edition Plug-in.  

Once the connection is established between LedgerLink and QuickBooks Online, you will sync the data, and all of the customer data from your QuickBooks Online account will be in the LedgerLink tables. The data in LedgerLink and QuickBooks Online will always stay synced. You will then be able to create records such as Invoices, with FileMaker, then see them in your QuickBooks Online account.

Another option for integrating a custom FileMaker solution with a QuickBooks account is the CData ODBC Driver for QuickBooks. This driver includes powerful, fully-integrated remote access capabilities that QuickBooks Desktop data accessible from virtually anywhere. The driver includes the CData SQL Gateway, which grants the ability to accept incoming SQL and MySQL client connections and execute standard database requests. This driver, which requires a similarly priced annual subscription, but also offers a one-month free trial, allows its users to access QuickBooks accounts through FileMaker, as an ODBC. This driver has versions for Mac OSX, Windows, and Linux. 

There is also a way to integrate a FileMaker solution with QuickBooks online, using the QBO API, as well as a different way to integrate FileMaker with QuickBooks Desktop. These methods do not require any plug-ins; everything will be done natively. You will, however, need to create a free Intuit Developer account and authenticate QuickBooks Online using OAuth, for integrating FileMaker with QuickBooks online. 

In conclusion, FileMaker can be integrated with QuickBooks in several ways, and should be if your FileMaker solution constantly needs data from your QuickBooks file. It will be important to thoroughly research the method you intend on using before you purchase a plugin or a driver to make sure you choose the correct method for your equipment and problem. Integrating will grant you the ability to create, delete, update, or query your QuickBooks data from right inside FileMaker Pro Advanced. It will also allow you to automate your accounting processes, prevent duplicate data entry between systems and cut back on human errors. 

If you have any questions about any of these integration methods, feel free to reach out to us!

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