Benefits of Integrated Accounting Software

By Frank Tilleli on March 13, 2024

Benefits of Integrated Accounting Software

On average, today's businesses use at least 130 applications to get the job done. Collecting financial data from those sources can be time-consuming and error-prone, often preventing you from reaching other business goals. That's where integrated accounting software comes in. By linking up your accounting platform with other systems, you can eliminate manual processes and centralize your data in one highly visible location.

Thanks to powerful features and data access, integrated accounting solutions can dramatically improve accounting workflows for businesses of any size.

What Is Integrated Accounting Software?

Integrated accounting software refers to accounting programs integrated with other business systems. Often, these systems are other financial programs, like payment processors, expense tracking apps or payroll software. You can also integrate non-financial systems with your accounting software, such as trading partner portals, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and customer relationship management (CRM) programs.

Integrations allow these systems to communicate with your accounting software and share data in a two-way exchange. Some of the most common uses for integrated accounting systems include automating data entry and creating automatic workflows. Instead of spending time on these manual tasks, integrated software can do it for you.

QuickBooks and Xero are two examples of popular accounting systems you can integrate, but you can also link your apps to powerful ERPs with built-in accounting tools, such as Microsoft Dynamics, NetSuite, SAP and Acumatica. To integrate these platforms with others and create custom connections, an integration partner will typically use application programming interfaces (APIs) or electronic data interchange (EDI). APIs and EDIs often work together, too.

You may need to integrate EDI transactions if you use them to communicate with trading partners. For example, if you send and receive purchase orders via EDI, you'll want your accounting system to reflect the information from those transactions.

What Are the Features of Integrated Accounting Software?

The beauty of integrated accounting software is that you can add many features with integrations. Depending on what programs you connect, these features can range from simple to incredibly powerful.

Here are some examples of integrated accounting software features:

  • Automatic data syncing between platforms: Linking up your platforms can save a ton of manual entry, ensuring information stays consistent across apps. You can use it with financial programs, such as when importing transactions for a general ledger, or non-financial apps, like when changing prices in your accounting platform and a warehouse management system (WMS). 
  • Accounts payable and receivable: This feature is a core accounting function, and integration allows you to track invoices, payments and cash flow across trading partners. It can also generate and send invoices as well as monitor payments.
  • Financial reporting and forecasting: Accounting software typically includes robust reporting capabilities and planning features, but you'll need data from other programs to create valuable insights. Integrations bring this data into the system from nearly any source.
  • Inventory management: Many accounting platforms include inventory or supply chain management modules, and integration with a WMS or third-party logistics (3PL) provider simplifies these product-related tasks. You also get better visibility into your products' movements.
  • Automations for repetitive tasks: Two-way communication allows you to automate manual tasks like creating and sending invoices or reconciling accounts. Create workflows designed for your needs with necessary approvals, notifications and flags.
  • Security and access controls: Depending on the specific program, you can likely implement robust security to protect your financial data. Some systems offer fewer access controls than others — but by integrating with a feature-rich app, you may be able to leverage better security tools like role-based access and automatic logging.
  • Tax management: Tax calculations often depend on many factors, like location, overtime status, product categories, number of employees and many others. You must also submit documents on time, which can be particularly complex if your business spans multiple states or countries. Integration supports comprehensive, accurate tax management by providing greater access to the company's data from your accounting platform.

The specific capabilities will depend on the platform, with some offering more native capabilities than others. Whichever programs you use, integration drastically increases functionality by opening up access to the data and capabilities of other systems.

Why Should I Integrate Accounting Software?

Most businesses use a dizzying amount of apps every day. In today's data-driven industries, connecting your information across platforms is crucial for maintaining a competitive advantage and keeping up with fast-paced business demands. After all, your partners and customers have gotten used to lightning-fast services and digital processes.

Here are a few of the advantages you can expect from integrating accounting software with other systems.

1. Centralized Data

Data centralization is one of the most valuable benefits of integrated accounting software because it underpins many capabilities, particularly automation. When your information is spread across different apps, your team must spend significant time and energy putting it in one place and making sense of the bigger picture.

Integrating systems minimizes those tasks because your data comes together automatically. Your software becomes a single source of truth, so you can:

  • Avoid clunky processes that require logging into multiple platforms and managing their associated passwords.
  • Eliminate time-consuming data entry tasks, like copying information from one system to another.
  • Keep all accounting data and tasks front and center so nothing falls through the cracks.
  • Enjoy at-a-glance and drilled-down views of business data from one app.
  • Prevent duplicated or unnecessary data from taking up storage space or resulting in inaccurate decisions.
  • Simplify auditing with exporting options from one source.
  • Monitor for fraud and errors more effectively due to increased visibility.

The more complex your operations are, the more important centralized data becomes. It is crucial for meeting varying demands across locations, states and business areas.

2. Increased Accuracy

Siloed data often hurts accuracy since you rely on error-prone manual entry to connect sources. Employees are susceptible to typos and other mistakes, which take time to fix and can damage your reputation with customers and business partners. Through integration, digital systems replace data entry to reduce your error rate dramatically. The more you automate, the fewer opportunities you have to create errors.

Integrated accounting systems can also incorporate tools that improve accuracy, such as flagging incomplete information and verifying data against other sources. For example, you could create an invoice that cross-references the prices in your accounting system with those in your inventory management system. You might receive notifications or flag the data for review if any discrepancies appear, helping you catch errors before they become major problems.

Having your information updated in one place can boost accuracy, too. The centralized system improves organization, preventing users from accidentally referencing outdated information stored in another platform or losing track of tasks and data.

3. Powerful Automation

Integrated accounting software is a necessary component of creating automations, as it can remove the need for human interaction. Let's say you spend considerable time invoicing clients. With integrations, your accounting software could automatically generate an invoice when transactions meet specific parameters.

An order comes in, and the system pulls the relevant information — such as current prices and the customer's contact details — to build an invoice from a saved template. Then, it automatically issues the invoice to the client's email or other communication channel. With this approach, you can issue invoices much faster, reduce payment delays and free up your team for more important tasks.

This is just one example of how automation in integrated accounting software can transform your workflow. Combining automations allows you to build hands-off processes, so your staff can focus on reaching business goals. For instance, you could automate the entire sales order process, from sending emails to reporting on data.

Automation is crucial if you plan on growing your business. Growth comes with more processing requirements, and automating them helps avoid costly and time-consuming hiring demands. You can scale rapidly without waiting to hire a new employee or paying additional costs such as training and benefits. It also helps with variations in demand, as you can adjust to temporary spikes, such as a holiday season, without complex hiring processes.

4. Accurate, Detailed Reporting

Your software can't report on data it doesn't have. Integrated accounting systems collect information from all elements of your business. If you use your ERP for reporting and forecasting, linking it with accounting software provides a larger financial picture. Increasing the data in your reports can help you find new areas for opportunity and connect financial data with other details.

With integrations, you can create more detailed reports and boost accuracy thanks to the centralized database. Reporting is also easier since you can do it from one program instead of exporting multiple data sets. You could also generate reports automatically, such as weekly overviews, to further limit manual tasks.

5. Better Decision-Making

Integrated accounting software gives your team access to more updated and complete information to guide decisions. Centralized data supports decision-making across the company, from large-scale questions about the entire organization to smaller decisions like which shipping option is best for an order. Linked software can provide an at-a-glance, updated view of your financials for easy insights, ensuring your staff makes choices based on the most recent data.

6. Easier Compliance

You may need to meet compliance demands from many different entities, like governments and industry regulators. These requirements can include everything from calculating taxes properly and issuing timely payments to keeping records of all electronic invoices.

Integrated software can automatically track transactions and provide auditable records of your activity. Rather than scrambling to compile reports from all of your business systems, you can quickly generate and send information to auditors when needed.

Integration also supports compliance by making it easier to spot discrepancies and problems. Analyze data for anomalies and perform your due diligence. Plus, the increased accuracy of an integrated system can help you avoid hiccups or non-compliance due to wrong or incomplete data.

7. Improved Efficiency and Speed

By eliminating mundane manual tasks through data syncing and automation, you can utilize labor more efficiently and have your team work on value-added projects conducive to the company's goals. Streamlined financials also speed up processes, reducing timeframes like order cycles and fulfillment.

Reduced labor demands can trim costs, while speedy processes often boost customer satisfaction.

8. Ease of Use

An easy-to-use system has many benefits, like improving the employee experience, reducing errors, streamlining workflows and lowering costs. Hard-to-use software increases complexity for users, who may need to contact IT departments and spend time figuring out how to do things. This slow process often comes with errors. Multiple systems also increase onboarding requirements, leading to longer training periods as employees learn each program.

Integrating other apps with your software system drastically reduces the learning curve by providing access from one familiar tool. Instead of working from your clunky accounting program, team members can access information in the intuitive interface of your ERP — or the other way around, depending on your systems.

9. Improved Collaboration

If your data is spread across systems and departments, your teams might not work together as well as they could. Data siloes are a major problem for businesses, preventing collaboration, accuracy and positive experiences. Integrations and centralized data help break down siloes.

Say you're looking into why you've overspent on payroll. Integrating data from your HR and accounting platforms provides a more holistic picture. Maybe you find that a specific tax rate is entered incorrectly in the HR program, thanks to your connected accounting software flagging the error. Integrations also support collaboration by eliminating unnecessary back-and-forth conversations between teams. No one needs to delay a process while waiting for an email with the necessary data.

Another way your accounting system can promote collaboration is through shared financial data. For example, if you include a customer's financial history in a CRM or other sales enablement tool, your representatives can use that information to inform their strategies. A customer with a history of high-value, on-time payments might be a more attractive target than one with a significant outstanding balance. Or perhaps a customer spends a high percentage on add-on services, and representatives know to offer plenty of these options.

10. Cost Savings

These benefits all contribute to significant cost savings. One of the most prominent is reduced labor demands and increased efficiency, but some of the less direct cost savings include:

  • Avoiding the costs of errors and non-compliance, like regulatory fines and expenses associated with fixing the mistake.
  • Making more profitable business choices through improved reporting and data visibility.
  • Increasing customer satisfaction and gaining a competitive advantage from better tools, like automated order updates, and faster, more reliable service.
  • Boosting employee satisfaction through easy-to-use tools, supporting a more engaged, productive workforce.
  • Identifying areas to save or boost profits via improved analytics.

Integrating systems can offer a high return on investment if used effectively.

Explore Integrated Accounting Solutions With ConnectPointz

Integrated accounting software can transform financial operations and help you achieve higher efficiency, scalability and profitability. Whether you need to simplify complex processes, work faster or prepare for rapid growth, integration is essential.

ConnectPointz specializes in system integration, using the right technologies for your workflow and goals. We'll work with you to explore your goals, then integrate business systems and automation. With decades of experience, we know what it takes to link information in siloed business environments. Our connectors include popular and less common programs across software categories like ERP, inventory, shipping, WMS, CRM, accounting, 3PL, sales channels and more.

Reach out today to learn more about working with ConnectPointz and see how we can revolutionize your financial processes.

Share this article
Share this article

Get the best insights, strategies and tips delivered straight to your inbox.