How to “date” a QuickBooks 3rd party developer may seem to be a silly topic for a blog post; but as I reflect on the last 12 years of being one of those “developers” the more I think that the title is appropriate – because in reality dating is a fair way to describe the relationships between Developers, ProAdvisors and QuickBooks users.
- Intuit released QuickBooks in the fall of 1991 (I’ve been using the program since that time).
- In January 1997 Intuit initially launched the ProAdvisor program and the first Certification exams were created for QuickBooks Pro 99. To become a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor a bookkeeper, CPA, or other accounting professional could take a written multiple-choice test and if passed (initially after multiple tries – I think it was 25); would become “certified” to help others in setting up and using QuickBooks (I’ve been a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor since then).
- In 2001 Intuit announced the creation of the Intuit Developer Network (IDN) which allowed 3rd party developers to access QuickBooks data through a Software Development Kit (SDK) created by Intuit, and in
- January 2002, Intuit launched the Developer Network and a multitude of QuickBooks integrated applications without much of any notice to the ProAdvisors – who up until that time were the “shining stars”.
So, what are the benefits of working with a QuickBooks 3rd party developer?
- For ProAdvisors/Consultants – consulting opportunities, practice growth without expensive advertising, the ability to make their consulting business “stand out in a crowd” by providing end-to-end software solutions to clients.
- For Developers – a referral source and support network of industry-specific knowledgeable Consultants to whom the developer can refer customers desiring QuickBooks services – from simple set-up and training to tax preparation.
- The Customer – is overall the biggest “winner” because they feel secure in the knowledge that they are working with a group of people who are committed to the success of their business.
Tips for dating or working with Developers:
Do your own due diligence or homework about their applications and their business. Below are five (5) basic steps for performing your own evaluation of a developer and/or their products. You should perform your own research before picking up the phone to call the developer to ask the most basic of questions – or posting on a networking group to ask if anyone has any experience with the developer or the software.
- Visit the Intuit Marketplace (marketplace.intuit.com), is the developers application listed there? Are they Silver or a Gold Developer? Read the customer reviews; download the customer case studies and the ProAdvisor review (if available).
- Visit the developer’s website to see what they have made available in the form of technical white papers, sample reports, video or on-line demonstrations, and training materials.
- Read the About Us page of their website.
- Read their Support Policy.
- Review product pricing.
The first date or the initial phone call to the developer:
So, now you’ve done your initial homework about the developer and are ready to contact them. It’s important to distinguish yourself from being just “another” pre-sales inquiry – you know about them but they have no idea about you! Identify yourself and indicate that you are a QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Accountant, or Integration Consultant. Tell the Developer about yourself:
- What types of clients you support
- How long you’ve worked with QuickBooks
- If you specialize in the industry that their products serve (Construction, Manufacturing, Retail, etc.), indicate that fact.
- The level of involvement you have in recommending and or implementing solutions.
The courtship or establishing a healthy relationship with a Developer:
In reality, dating is a fair way to compare this relationship. Let’s start with mutual respect. Respect for each other, respect for the client, respect for our various corners. The customer isn’t “your” client, just as the customer isn’t “their” client – the customer becomes “our” customer and each party has a responsibility to them.
A healthy relationship occurs when you both work together – but how can that happen? Communication is the Key! Talk to the Developer and they will talk to you. Communication enables you to get to know each other. Getting to know each other establishes a feeling of closeness and trust in each other and your respective abilities. No longer are you just “some” Advisor and just “some” Developer – you are a trusted and respected colleague. Someone that you know you can trust if something goes wrong and feel comfortable referring to others.
The Developer should have the first and last word on support, training, or problems regarding the software:
Developers create their applications to accommodate how “most companies” perform a task; as an Advisor you too are well aware that no two companies perform a task in exactly the same manner.
So, if there is a need for support, training, or a problem……………
Call, email, and leave a message! But don’t say as I’ve heard before – –
“This absolutely will not work with QuickBooks or there is NO WAY that the software can do this”
Respect starts small and grows over time in a healthy relationship.