There’s little doubt that the cloud has become the clear application deployment choice for small businesses (businesses with 1 to 100 employees). SMB Group research shows that small business adoption of cloud applications has been rising steadily across all application categories since we started conducting surveys in 2010.
In the past year, COVID-19 has only accelerated the trend (SMB Group 2021 Top 10 SMB Technology Trends, #3: The Cloud is the Clear Choice for SMBs).
However, while the cloud has made it much easier for small businesses to access and use new applications, integrating them isn’t always so straightforward. According to SMB Group research, while 62% of small businesses have at least partially integrated some applications, 79% still rely on manual Excel file uploads or brittle, difficult to update custom code for at least some of these integrations.
Integration is essential to helping small businesses get the full value of automating business processes with cloud applications—and to gain a more unified, consistent view of the business. And numerous integration solutions are available. But as the data indicates, many small businesses have yet to integrate key workflows between popular applications, such as Intuit QuickBooks Online (QBO) and HubSpot CRM. Instead, they rely on email, Slack, spreadsheets, and manual processes to ensure data flows between sales and finance—which can result in errors and late payments.
Hitting the Easy Button for Small Business Accounting and CRM Integration
In September 2020, Intuit and HubSpot announced HubSpot for QuickBooks, a new integration for QuickBooks Online (QBO) and HubSpot CRM to help more small businesses integrate their solutions. The goal is to help their joint customers address two challenges that are critically important to small businesses: getting paid faster and improving customer experience.
Both vendors share a deep focus on and commitment to serving small businesses. Intuit has an enormous installed base, topping 5.1M QBO subscribers, while HubSpot has more than 100,000 paying customers in addition to thousands of free CRM users. As a result, there’s likely to be a solid overlap between their customers today—and strong potential to increase the synergy going forward.
The HubSpot for QuickBooks integration replaces manual and patchwork efforts to synch up the two applications. Once a sales rep closes a deal, he or she can create a draft invoice in HubSpot. The integration solution (which uses QuickBooks APIs) automatically moves the invoice draft into QBO, where accounts receivable (AR) can view it, make sure the information is accurate, finalize it, and bill the customer. On the sales side, it can notify reps and managers when their invoices are paid.
Via the integration, companies can also automate tasks such as follow-ups. For instance, it can automate sending reminder emails to customers who haven’t paid their invoices on time. ‘
For customers using HubSpot Sales Hub Professional or Enterprise HubSpot account for workflows and reporting, the solution also provides a HubSpot Hub within QBO, so AR can see all the invoices generated from HubSpot in one place.
Intuit QuickBooks and HubSpot have removed a lot of the friction that can get in the way of integration:
- It’s simple to set up and easy for both sales and accounts receivables employees to use. People never have to leave the application they know and love: sales users stay in HubSpot, and accounts receivable users stay in QBO.
- It’s not overly complex. The integration zeroes in on the most essential workflows instead of trying to boil the ocean. While the two will undoubtedly integrate other workflows over time, they intend to steer clear of bloat—and the resulting complexity it brings.
- The integration is free for QBO and HubSpot users, removing the cost hurdle.
SMB Group research shows that many small businesses have been hit hard in the COVID-19 pandemic, but those that have survived want to build back stronger. They want solutions that can help them improve cash flow, internal collaboration, and customer experience.
Sometimes, the best way to achieve these goals isn’t necessarily by adding yet another application, but by getting more from the ones you already have. By making integration easy, and outcomes evident, Intuit and HubSpot can help more small businesses operate more efficiently and build more resiliency for the future.
Of course, the added value provided by this free integration should also help both vendors increase customer satisfaction and retention. Furthermore, Intuit QuickBooks and HubSpot plan to create additional workflow integrations for “larger” small businesses with more complex needs—serving as an upselling aid to QuickBooks Online Advanced, and HubSpot Sales Hub Professional or Enterprise HubSpot, respectively.
Looking at the bigger picture, the HubSpot partnership signals another step in the evolution of Intuit QuickBooks’ platform as a partner ecosystem. Over time, I expect that Intuit will extend its platform not only to provide more, and more varied services to its customers, but to also offer developer, accountant, and new partner categories additional and more creative ways to add value and reap benefits from the QuickBooks ecosystem—amplifying the value for all involved.
© SMB Group, 2021