ACCOUNTS and QuickBooks Integration

Hello DONATION advisors.

I’m going to be working on a feature in DONATION to export summary donation information from each bank deposit to a transaction, for import either into my new ACCOUNTS fund accounting program that I am developing, or into QuickBooks. I wrote to the DONATION advisors in early 2009 for advice on this, and got the answer that it’s not worth doing such an integration, because it’s so easy to enter summary bank deposit information into QuickBooks without any integration.

However, it is clear to me that I must do this for ACCOUNTS, so that there is at least a small integration between the two programs. And if I’m doing it for ACCOUNTS, I might as well do it for QuickBooks (the most commonly used accounting program in my survey earlier this year) as well.

So, I’d very much appreciate your thoughts on the ideas and questions below, because there are a lot of complicated issues about this, and I want to do it in a way that will work for at least a large majority of users who use ACCOUNTS or QuickBooks.

I will need to add a maintenance/setup window for ACCOUNTS or QuickBooks transfers, where the user enters the name of the bank account to deposit to, and for each DONATION category, a matching accounting program category. (For QuickBooks, that might be a sub-category.) I think QuickBooks users would also need to optionally have a QuickBooks class or tag attached to the DONATION category. (Classes/tags are generally used for fund accounting, which admittedly QuickBooks doesn’t do very well, and which will be completely unecessary in ACCOUNTS.)

The really hard question is, how does DONATION decide which donations to include in a bank deposit transaction?

  • When they choose to transfer the transaction, it could prompt for a range of donation dates to include. However, that might require users to enter cheques with the date they are to be deposited, rather than the date on the cheque. (I think some, but not all, DONATION users already do this.) If they didn’t do that, a cheque that had been mailed late might have a date in a date range that had already been transferred to QuickBooks, and so would be omitted if you were only doing a later date range.
  • And/or, do we need an option to transfer “all since last transfer”, just like most online banking systems have an option to download “all since last download”? That would require that the program in some way mark donations as having already been transferred. It would probably also require providing a way for the user to see and change which transactions were marked as already transferred, since things could go wrong with this process and they would have to fix things. (And on first use, all prior transactions would have to be marked as already having been transferred!)
  • And/or, do we need an option to hand-select the donations that should be included in the current bank deposit?
  • Might there be some donation categories that should never get transferred?

There also seem to be several issues in relation to whether donations are included, based on the value the user entered into the Cheque # / Paid By field:

  • “Gift in Kind” should never be included, because it’s not cash.
  • Other values get into the bank a different way, like “Credit Card”, “Debit Card”, “Direct Debit”, “MasterCard”, “PAC”, “PAR”, “PayPal” and “Visa”, so they shouldn’t be included.
  • Most likely “Pre-Receipted” would get into the bank a different way, though that might vary. (How would we deal with that?)
  • What about other values that the user just types into this field? Ones starting with numbers would be considered to be cheques, and thus included, but it’s not clear how to do the others.
  • We might need checkboxes added to the Maintenance -> Donation Paid By Values window, to indicate whether each value was to be included in bank deposits / ACCOUNTS/QuickBooks transactions.

Might there be parts of the actual bank deposit that the user wouldn’t normally bother entering into DONATION, because they aren’t really charitable donations and/or don’t need receipts? Is it reasonable to insist that the users enter those amounts into DONATION anyways? Or, before transferring the transaction to QuickBooks, do we show what will be transferred, and have an option to add further split lines to the QuickBooks transaction, to cover parts of the bank deposit not entered into DONATION? Or should I just say that a user should change the transaction in QuickBooks afterwards instead, if not everything was entered into DONATION?

It seems to me that there should also be a new report to go with this, which would be a printout of the transaction to be entered into QuickBooks, which could also be used as input for the hand-written bank deposit slip. People keep asking about the program printing bank deposit slips, but I have the impression that at least in Canada, banks require you to use their own printed format. So I don’t see how this could realistically be done. Printing bank deposits also could require another new feature to separate out the cash into counts of coins and bills (or that could be omitted for now).

Answers to any or all of the questions stated or implied above, about how this should work, would be most welcome! Thank you.

8 thoughts on “ACCOUNTS and QuickBooks Integration

  1. Hi Dan

    I believe it is not worth your effort to try to integrate the summary with Quickbooks. However, it would be beneficial, and a selling feature, to have it integrated with ACCOUNTS.

    With that in mind, it would be more feasible to transfer entire deposits, rather than only certain items. The important point is that the ACCOUNTS destination, be set up to match the deposit designations in DONATIONS. i.e. only cash donations go to the bank account, and gifts in kind (and other non-cash items) go to their respective pre-established destinations. That ensures continuity between the two programs, which the auditor will definitely want to see.

    The option to transfer all deposits since the last transfer, or individual ones, would be good, especially for a larger church or charity.

    re the dr card, cr card entries, it would be good to have the ability in the ACCOUNTS program to adjust an entry that has come from DONATIONS, in order to add service charges and fees, exchange on foreign currency, etc.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “pre-receipted” donations? Do you mean donations that are not eligible for receipts? If that is what you are referring to, you already have it in DONATIONS, so it would have to go to a specific destination in ACCOUNTS. All receipts should be generated from DONATIONS so a separate account would suffice.

    re the “other values” typed into this field, is it possible to add one more box for “receiptable” vs “non-receiptable”? This is similar to your idea of adding a checkbox to indicate if it should be included in the bank deposit or not.

    I wouldn’t mess with your 2nd last paragraph. Simply transfer the entire transaction and let the Quickbooks user change it as necessary in Quickbooks. Chances are they will have to make an adjustment anyway.

    re the printing of bank deposit forms I think it is a waste of your time, considering that each bank does like their own ways of processing. If they were all the same, it would be a good feature of either one of your programs.

    Hope this helps a little, Dan.

    Believe . . .


  2. I must be honest (as usual). This is a waste of your time and something I doubt the user would take the time to set up. I would much rather see you spend the time figuring out how to do online versions of your software… or adding complexity to ACCOUNTS.

    As far as a “linkage”.. let it be ease of use, excellent support and similar interfaces.. not a transfer of data..

    Sorry to be harsh, but I just can’t see it getting much use and it would be pretty tough to implement.

    • David, I think you are right at some level, and I certainly appreciate your honest opinion. But at another level, I really think that from a marketing standpoint it’s just not defensible to not have a data transfer from DONATION to ACCOUNTS.

  3. Pingback: DONATION 3.44 – Bank Deposit Exporting « Software4Nonprofits Blog

  4. I export via a report the contributions to import into my accounting package.
    I have adjust the contribution categories to be the Fund codes my package will use
    It needs
    Envelope number, Amount, Fund, Check Number, and a memo(is use DONATIONS name, but could you Description)

    The only problem I have is I need to rearrange the columns from the DONATIONS export.

    My accounting packages maps the Fund number to the actually fund account number, and creates transactions for each account number, summing all the donations for a given date and fund into a single debit and credit entry

    For a given Sunday say there are 10 donations into three different accounts
    The contribution module gets 10 transactions but the accounting module only gets three. It is then easy for me to sum the three and compare that with the deposit entry at the bank, verifying that the totals have made it into the system. I have other checks to help insure the individual donations are posted correctly in Donations, so mostly I am interested in the sums

    • Thanks Connie. If you saw my blog post today (which is not the one you just replied to) you will see that my exporting is only targetted at ACCOUNTS and QuickBooks at this time, because ACCOUNTS is my program, and QuickBooks seems to be the most commonly used program by my DONATION program users.

      The exporting is only by category/account total, not individual donation details.

      If you read the Help about the Bank Deposits in the new beta version of DONATION that includes it, you will see that you can associate accounts with donation categories. Then even if exporting isn’t supported for your accounting program, you can use the bank deposit report to see the totals by account, which hopefully will give you the input you need to make the transaction entry in your program.

  5. Fyi, I use Donations to records ALL income for the Church. But I review the export data before import to the accounting pacage in case there are items that need special attention. I think you very well need the ability for the Donations to your Accounting transfer for the user to edit before transfer.
    I operaton on a cash basis, so normally date is a suffienct sort. We do except contributions for future year, There are FUNDS set up to take care of this.

    • I think it makes more sense to just tell the users to make any required adjustments in their accounting program, after importing the bank deposit transaction. That’s what my Help says. Otherwise I would need to add some user interface to DONATION for something that is already easy to do in every accounting program.

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