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Qsales v13 scheduled for release November 11th

After several months of extensive development, we're pleased to announce that Qsales v13 will be released tomorrow on Thursday, November 11th, 2021. So much about this new version of Qsales is different from past versions, including how it connects to the QuickBooks data, and how it can save our customers money on their QuickBooks licensing. 

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Here's a list of fast facts on the new features of Qsales v13:

  • Users no longer need QuickBooks locally installed or open due to the new Qsales Web API
  • Create or Edit QuickBooks transactions from within Act!
  • Create or Edit QuickBooks Customers or Vendors from within Act!
  • Link transactions to Contacts & Companies in Act!
  • Line items or products in transactions are stored as their own custom table for better performance & searching
  • New integrated reporting feature gives users vital customer insights from within Act!
  • Will be Act! v24 (64-bit) compatible, as well as supporting back to Act! v19.2. 
  • Enhanced Qsales functionality for remote users with RDB's.
  • Only one QuickBooks license needed for all Act! users, potentially saving customers hundreds, even thousands annually
  • Qsales v13 will be sold as a subscription instead of a capital cost, plus M&S

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No need to install QuickBooks everywhere
Traditionally QSales connected to QuickBooks locally on each workstation, requiring a license of QuickBooks for each user that wanted all the Qsales integration features like creating and editing transactions. Our new version approaches things differently. This new Act plugin connects to the QuickBooks data through our new "QSales Web API Address", which allows all Act users to share the same Quickbooks connection, meaning QuickBooks no longer needs to be installed or opened on the end-users workstations.

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The advantage of this approach is simple - only one Quickbooks license is needed for all Act! users to enjoy full-functioning QuickBooks integration inside of Act!. This can mean thousands of dollars in saved QuickBooks licensing annually, while limiting direct QuickBooks access to only the users who require advanced QB functions. The result is improved security and decreased costs for your team.

Make QuickBooks changes from inside Act!
With Qsale v13,  basic customer information can now be edited from within Act (see image above - click to enlarge), as well as transactional data. For instance, Act users with Qsales v13 can create & edit invoices, sales receipts, and other transactions right from within Act! (see image below - click to enlarge). We also added support for linking transaction data at the company level in Act!, as well, allowing users to more intuitively find transaction details for the company, and not just the primary contact of that company - which we all know can change over time.

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Qsales v13 also adds a separate custom table for the line items inside a transaction (see image directly above - click to enlarge). Whether these be services or products, having a dedicated custom table for these entities will improve performance and search speed. As past versions of Qsales stored this line item data inside memo fields, existing users looking to upgrade to Qsales v13 will need to upgrade all machines to v13, and update their version of Qsync since the older data is formatted differently and is incompatible with v13.

Qsync Improvements
The nightly QSync service has also been updated to use the new QSales API, which fixes a lot of QB connection issues with the previous sync service. With the addition of the API, and refactoring of the sync code to a single code base, QSales and QSync should now more reliably check for existing transaction records and update as needed, rather than creating duplicates.

Qsales Reporting
One of the crucial parts of any accounting program is the ability to report on the data. By reducing the QuickBooks licensing need with our new Qsales v13, we realized that customers would enjoy having some reporting capabilities inside of Act!, and so we delivered that with Qsales. The new reports feature is now available from the Qsales toolbar, and provides you quick access to Top customer reports for current and prior year, top customers by lifetime sales, as well as a number of useful collection reports. You can even run product reports to see the top-selling products by revenue and quantity sold.

The sales managers will love running Sales Rep reports by week, month, or year, with the option to change the runtime date range on the fly as their needs dictate. Bottom line is, Qsales provides both the data visibility and the insights to help you run your business smarter.


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Act! v24 (64-bit compatibility)
With the QuickBooks SDK being 32-bit, integration with Act! v24 would be challenging. To get around this problem, we created a 64-bit Qsales API. The QsaIes API works as a shim, allowing the 64-bit Act! plugin to work with the Qsales API, which in turn works with the 32-bit SDK of QB.

Existing Qsales Customers
Qsales v13 is not simply a complete rewrite of prior versions, it substantially changes the structure of the data being imported into Act!. As such, existing Qsales customers will have to complete purge their past transactional data and run a complete sync of all the data again. Customers will also need to find a Windows Professional or Server based operating system to install the Qsales API. Like most API's of it's kind, the operating system must support Internet Information Service (IIS) to publish the API. Windows Home operating systems don't have this.

Stay tuned for more updates on Qsales, as we hope to release a QuickBooks online version by the end of the year. Join us on November 24th for our Deep Dive Webinar on these exciting new Qsales v13 features.

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Qsales v13 will be launched as a subscription product next month

As we approach the release of Qsales v13 (expected in early November 2021), we have to acknowledge a few lessons we've learned during this process.

The first is this project evolved into a much larger undertaking than we initially imagined. With the QuickBooks SDK being 32-bit, making Qsales compatible with the new 64-bit version of Act! required us to change everything about how Act! and QuickBooks talked to each other, which in turn led us to rewrite over 85% of the program.

Qsales v13 is not only faster and more feature-rich than before, it will also save most customers on their QuickBooks licensing. The new Qsales API requires only one QuickBooks user account, and it will support creating QuickBooks transactions from within Act!. What's more, our new Link2cloud service allows remote Act! users to connect to their office QuickBooks, and get updates instantly.Qtransaction2

In short, this is not the Qsales you knew.

The second acknowledgment is that the only constant in the software world is change. And if we’re to continue to innovate in an ever-changing software environment, and deliver updates with services like Link2cloud & the Qsales API, we cannot do so by selling perpetual licenses anymore. It has to be a subscription service.

Yes, Qsales has historically been sold as a perpetual license for $159.95 (with Maintenance & Support available at $48 annually per user as an optional plan for customers). Still, this commercial model afforded little re-investment in the product, and as a result, few significant program changes were introduced in the past decade.

As we look ahead to the release of Qsales v13 and later a version compatible with QuickBooks Online before the end of this year, we’ve concluded that a commercial change to a subscription model is necessary. After all, if the software we integrate with, namely Act! and QuickBooks, are sold by subscription, and both change each year, it only makes sense to deliver the integration by subscription, as well.

To that end, Keystroke plans to launch Qsales v13 strictly as a subscription product for only $99.95 per activation, per year for new customers. Existing customers already on an active M&S plan will be converted to subscription, as well, but grandfathered in at half the regular subscription rate of $50 per year, per activation. This grandfathered rate, which is only $2 more than what they’re paying now for M&S, will remain available for as long as their account remains active.

So to recap, these are the changes being introduced:

  • Qsales v13 will be launched next month as a subscription product for $99.95 per year, per activation.
  • Existing Qsales customers on an active M&S plan will be grandfathered in at $50 per year, per activation.
  • Qsales v12.2 will cease to be sold after the release of v13, but past customers on an active M&S plan can continue to use it for as long as they wish, but additional licenses will not be available after next month (existing Qsales M&S customers will have until the end of November 2021 to purchase additional seats of 12.x)
  • The Link2cloud service, which connects remote Act! users to the office QuickBooks through the Qsales API, will be available to subscription customers at no additional charge (more will be explained on this service in a separate blog).
  • Qsales v13 introduces a new Qsales API that will require only one dedicated QuickBooks account to cover ALL Act! users with Qsales. This new API integration will save most QuickBooks customers between $450-$850 per year, per user, while delivering enhanced data access to more Act! users. Internally, this saved us $3600 per year in QuickBooks licensing, so this was huge.
  • Qsales v13 will NOT require QuickBooks to be open, and Qsales users will not need access to the company’s accounting program to create or view transactions.
  • Qsales v13 will be compatible with the desktop versions of Act! v24 - both Pro and Premium, as well as all Act! versions back to 19.2, and QuickBooks v17 or later.

Qsales is like no other CRM-accounting integration product that we’ve seen. The way it pulls in all past transactions into Act!, allowing unprecedented data access for its users on a contact, company, or even a global level is unparalleled. Features such as overdue alerts, custom table enhancements, and quoting have been added to the program to round out the experience for our customers.

We’re confident users will love the increased performance, features, and savings Qsales v13 delivers for their business, making Act! the perfect CRM for QuickBooks users.

Qsales v13 is now in beta, and it's a game changer for QuickBooks users

Since we acquired Qsales from Effective Solutions in May, we had a vision for the product that would both improve the integration between Act! and QuickBooks, while reducing costs. After several months of extensive development, we're pleased to report the new Qsales v13 has fulfilled that vision, and has just entered the first stage of beta testing.

So much about this new version of Qsales is different. Here are some fast facts...


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Fast Facts about the New Qsales v13 Features:

- No longer need QuickBooks locally installed or open due to the new Qsales Web API
- Create or Edit QuickBooks transactions from within Act!
- Create or Edit QuickBooks Customers or Vendors from within Act!
- Link transactions to Contacts & Companies in Act!
- Line items in transactions stored as their own customer table for better performance & searching
- New integrated reporting feature gives you vital customer insights from within Act!
- Will be Act! v24 (64-bit) compatible, as well as supporting back to Act! v19.2. 


No need to install QuickBooks everywhere


Traditionally QSales connected to QuickBooks locally on each workstation, requiring a license of QuickBooks for each user that wanted all the Qsales integration features like creating and editing transactions. Our new version approaches things differently. This new Act plugin connects to the QuickBooks data through our new "QSales Web API Address", which allows all Act users to share the same Quickbooks connection, meaning QuickBooks no longer needs to be installed or opened on the end-users workstations.

Qedit2

The advantage of this approach is simple - only one Quickbooks license is needed for all Act! users to enjoy full-functioning QuickBooks integration inside of Act!. This can mean thousands of dollars in saved QuickBooks licensing annually while limiting direct QuickBooks access to only the users who require advanced QB functions. The result is improved security and decreased costs for your team.

Make QuickBooks changes from inside Act!
With Qsale v13,  basic customer information can now be edited from within Act (see image above - click to enlarge), as well as transactional data. For instance, Act users with Qsales v13 can create & edit invoices, sales receipts, and other transactions right from within Act! (see image below - click to enlarge). We also added support for linking transaction data at the company level in Act!, as well, allowing users to more intuitively find transaction details for the company, and not just the primary contact of that company - which we all know can change over time.

Qedit2

Qsales v13 also adds a separate custom table for the line items inside a transaction (see image directly above - click to enlarge). Whether these be services or products, having a dedicated custom table for these entities will improve performance and search speed. As past versions of Qsales stored this line item data inside memo fields, existing users looking to upgrade to Qsales v13 will need to upgrade all machines to v13, and update their version of Qsync since the older data is formatted differently and is incompatible with v13.

The nightly QSync service has also been updated to use the new QSales API, which fixes a lot of QB connection issues with the previous sync service. With the addition of the API, and refactoring of the sync code to a single code base, QSales and QSync should now more reliably check for existing transaction records and update as needed, rather than creating duplicates.

Act! v24 (64-bit compatibility)
With the QuickBooks SDK being 32-bit, integration with Act! v24 would be challenging. To get around this problem, we created a 64-bit Qsales API. The QsaIes API works as a shim, allowing the 64-bit Act! plugin to work with the Qsales API, which in turn works with the 32-bit SDK of QB.

To achieve these changes, we had to rewrite over 80% of the program code, which was quite an undertaking, but it's been worth it. The new Qsales v13 has been deployed in our production environment of 30+ Act! users and 10+ QuickBooks users for over two weeks and the performance and feature improvements have been noticed by everybody on the team. This week we're expanding our beta testing to a select group of external QuickBooks consultants and we hope to get their feedback in the coming weeks, with an eye to releasing this upgrade in late October or early November (based on beta results).

Stay tuned for more updates on this exciting new release of Qsales.

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Handheld Contact now includes vital accounting data

The world is opening for business again, and people from all trades & professions are becoming more mobile. With this in mind, Keystroke is pleased to announce that we’ve added features to Handheld Contact that will give you more data at your fingertips than ever before.

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Handheld Contact now includes one-button accounting integration for both API and Classic products to support the syncing of essential accounting fields (see right-side illustration - click to enlarge). These seven fields come standard with all Qsales for Act!  installations, and include the fields you see listed below. For those not familiar with Qsales, it's a time tested QuickBooks integration for Act! that syncs more accounting data into the customer's database than any other add-on of its kind, and a product Keystroke recently acquired.

  • If you're a past Qsales customer who has let their maintenance & support subscription lapse, check out details of our June Winback promotion.

Both Handheld Contact API products have been updated, and are available for download from their respective online stores. The Windows Console for HHC Classic has also been updated and is available down download HERE. For the API products, these fields have been added to the current 75 custom fields available, while Classic has been configured to use seven of the remaining available fields for mapping.

The Qsales for Act! fields we selected include the following:

  • Total Balance
  • Past Due Balance
  • Lifetime Sales Amount
  • Payment Terms
  • Credit Limit
  • Last Invoice
  • First Invoice.

Qsales has many accounting fields in the Contact table to choose from, but these seven have been blocked together for easy mapping based on their general day-to-day importance. Arm your users with the accounting data they need to better manage customers in the field. Integrate your Qsales accounting data in Act! with one click.

Available in both IOS and Android. Classic IOS has been updated but is waiting on AppStore approval.

 

Why Accounting & CRM go naturally together

With over one hundred Act! add-ons in our inventory, many might ask why we wanted to acquire QsalesData recently, an add-on that integrated QuickBooks and Act!. The reason is this we believe that accounting and CRM are meant to be intertwined together, and a product like Qsales provides a much fuller picture of contacts as customers.

Understand your contacts as customers
Having access to a contact within a CRM application without visibility on their transaction history gives you little or no insights on them as a "customer". For instance, what's their lifetime business value? How frequently do they purchase or pay? Or even if they are a credit risk? All these questions go into better understanding a contact as a customer, yet few CRM's provide that level of detail. 

Most CRM's will show communication histories between your company and the contact, including times you've quoted them products or services, but they will seldom reveal the full transaction history. And that full history not only completes the picture, it must be visible to everyone on your team to be useful.

Imagine a customer calling into one of our customer care reps complaining about an interruption in their service, and that rep not knowing the customer had been cut off for non-payment? Or a technical support rep trying to solve their issues without knowing the account had declined their renewal? In our world, "context is king", and you cannot fully manage a customer's account without full details on their transaction history, and Qsales for Act! provides that.

Laptop 061Reduce the barrier to entry to CRM
Another reason Qsales appealed to us as a product was it can help bring people to CRM. Too often small businesses of 1-5 users rely heavily on QuickBooks to be more than an accounting program. They use it for quoting, scheduling, correspondence, you name it. The trouble with this practice is it clutters the accounting file with prospects you may never do business with, has no pipeline management or marketing capability, and in general it performs non-accounting functions poorly. Qsales can help bridge that gap by creating a CRM database directly from their QuickBooks accounting file, and then linking all the contacts with their transaction history in one step.

Recently during a demo I created a blank Act! database and used Qsales to migrate 6600 customers over to that database, complete with all their contact information (company & contact name, email, and mailing address), and then imported & linked all their transaction history. In less than an hour, I had created an Act! database rich with contact & customer details that I could start using on day one. This level of integration not only leads to higher and faster user adoption with your team, it reduces the barrier to entry and implementation time most businesses face when considering a CRM.

Add to that Qsales powerful quoting tools, overdue alerts, mobile access with Handheld Contact integration, and the ability to convert closed Opportunities to invoices, and you have a happier, more efficient, and productive sales team 

It saves you time and money
The final reason is simple. Integrating your CRM and accounting saves you time and money. QuickBooks generally costs between $40-60 per month depending on the package you select, whereas adding Qsales for Act! to your business costs a little more than $13 per user in the first year, and $4 per user each year after that. If you can save the cost of just one QuickBooks license, it would pay to implement Qsales for most of your team in the second year, without really denying them access to the accounting data they previously had.

The human cost savings is also real. In our company sales and support would ask the admin team on a daily basis questions relating to sales reporting, customer payment status, or even if a client had renewed their service. Since we deployed Qsales internally, those daily inquiries have disappeared, meaning all parties have more time to do their actual jobs, and they can act on accurate accounting information faster. Even our remote users with subscriber databases have full access to a client's transaction history, including invoices, payments, sales receipts, credit memos, you name it. Our sales people can even use Qsales to calculate their sales and commissions with accuracy never previously imagined, and yes, all within Act!.

Summary
By anyone's estimate, accounting details complete the picture of any contact in a CRM.  By integrating them together a business can reduce their barrier to entry for CRM, deliver more useful and complete information to their team, increase user adoption of the CRM, and reduce their overall software cost and labour overhead. And Qsales for Act! delivers on all these fronts, which is why we're so excited to acquire this time-tested product, and why we're so committed to its continued improvement like we did recently with version 12.2.

If you'd like to learn more about Qsales for Act!, and how it can help deliver a richer Act! experience for your team, click HERE.

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