Happy Thanksgiving, Methodites!
Once again it is I, Alex - your friendly neighborhood documentation specialist - filling in for Lynda this week.
Here in Canada our Thanksgiving has come and gone, but with so many U.S. customers and partners, we feel like we get to sit in on yours - which gives us the opportunity to be doubly grateful for all the good stuff Method enjoys year after year.
Most notably, I’d like to take a moment to shamelessly shout out 9 apps and integrations for which we are thankful every day - whether they’re used in-house here at Method HQ or whether they provide added value to our customers and partners, we want to say a heartfelt THANK YOU!
1. Gmail Integration
Gmail, Google’s ultimate answer to everyone’s email needs, has been around a fair few years now and it keeps getting better. And thanks to our powerful Gmail Gadget, you can combine the power of Method with Gmail’s easy-to-use interface. Open an email in Gmail and Method will display that contact’s CRM activities, QuickBooks transactions, balances, address, and more! Thanks Google!
For companies that focus on professional services and consulting, sometimes you’ll want to keep track of engagements and paperwork unique to your field. That’s where NEXT comes in - by building on Method’s existing CRM power, NEXT allows you to track specific types of engagements, modify permissions, and create total accountability in your professional services staff. Adding value is what we’re all about at Method, so thanks to NEXT for giving us the tools to service multiple industries!
Our field service customers glean a lot of value from SaaSphalt, the CRM add-on that features additional support for business owners in the paving, sealcoating and striping industries. From job costing to one-click invoicing, from production-based estimates to a full suite of customization tools, SaaSphalt really improves the Method experience for contractors on the go. Big ups to SaaSphalt!
Workflow management for QuickBooks online! As QBO becomes more and more the premier version of QuickBooks used by small businesses, Aero is continuing to bring value to your Method experience. Especially for those businesses that are cloud-based or with a lot of remote staff, Aero is a web-based app that works with Method to allow you to monitor and reassign work, set up schedules, and integrate seamlessly with your CRM. Kudos to the good people at Aero for making workflows more flexible and streamlined!
6. You Rang
No matter how ubiquitous email becomes, it won’t replace a good old-fashioned phone call for many businesses. Wouldn’t it be great if your call display not only told you what client was calling, but also automatically brought up their customer information in Method at the same time? Enter You Rang - a QB Desktop add-on that matches an incoming call with a Method contact, can automatically bring up that customer’s information, and can even automatically create a “call incoming” activity within Method! Thanks for letting us call on you, You Rang!
Almost every business can make use out of email blasts and mailing lists, and MailChimp makes it easy! Simple-to-use template builders, analytics tracking, a unique SMTP server and much more combines with Method’s CRM functionality to streamline your emailing for marketing campaigns and more. For those about to email, we salute you - and MailChimp!
All your documents in one convenient location? Sounds like a filing dream come true, and our SmartVault plug-in delivers. Integrating both with Method and QuickBooks, SmartVault lets you scan, attach and otherwise locate documents throughout your Method and QuickBooks databases. It’s like having your own personal filing specialist, right at your fingertips! Thanks for making our paperwork easier to handle, SmartVault!
And we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention what might be our most important integration of all - QuickBooks! Ever since Method started, we’ve prided ourselves on our 1:1 patented sync engine that seamlessly lines up your existing QuickBooks records and lets Method’s powerful CRM tools add value to those records while streamlining your workflow and improving your productivity. QuickBooks is a dominant force in modern accounting software and we’re proud (and thankful) to be able to integrate with them!
That’s it for me, Methoders. Thanks for reading, and thanks for using Method (have you gotten that we’re a pretty thankful bunch yet?) Now go enjoy your festive meals and football!
Hello and welcome to my blog post! A number of people have asked about my screencasts (the Method tutorial videos you all so enjoy), so I thought I would show you exactly how they are created.
My setup is pretty simple - these are the ingredients:
Step 1 - Write Out Script
The first thing I do is write out the script. I will have Method:CRM open in front of me and I will go through the steps of what I want to talk about. I want my videos to be quick, so a script helps me stay succinct and omit the “Uh”, “Um” and “Oooh, a squirrel!”
Step 2 - Record the Script
To record, I need to find a place that is not too large and has no people. Unfortunately, the only place that fits this criteria is the closet. If it was underneath stairs, I’d feel like Harry Potter.
To record, I have a microphone hooked into an Audiobox. The microphone I have is not a USB microphone: it’s a normal XLR microphone a singer would use to record vocals. The microphone plugs into the Audiobox, and the Audiobox plugs into the computer.
The pop filter softens words that have P’s and B’s on them, and the vocal shield tries its best to contain the sound in a localized area so there is less echo.
All of this is recorded in Audacity. There are many other programs I could use, but Audacity is quick, easy and free. You can’t go wrong with that!
When I record my vocals, I do it in chunks. I say a sentence and then I stop the recording; I don’t do it all in one go. Here’s a screenshot of what that looks like in Audacity. Note where the line is flat? That’s where I didn’t say anything.
Once the vocals are done, I save the Audacity file and export this file as a .wav file.
Step 3 - Fix Vocal File
I import that .wav file into Camtasia:Mac. I then cut the audio files where all the silent breaks are and then overlap them as pictured below.
The reason I overlap is to make sure there’s no audio silence. There is no such thing as absolute silence when you record - there is always room tone - so I overlap the audio clips to make sure the non-silence isn’t noticeable.
This also makes edits to the file easy. If I need to fix a mistake, I will record only a partial clip and replace it. (Option+Arrow keyboard shortcut has made my life easier. Look up in Camtasia:Mac what that does.)
After I finish the audio file, I export it as a .wav.
I take this .wav file and bring it back into Audacity. I then do MINOR mixing to it. Mixing is a term used in the recording industry for “making it sound better.” It’s complicated and you can look it up if you’re really interested. I’m not skilled enough to do true mixing so I just do the following:
Effect Remove Clicks - Remove clicks.
Effect Amplify - Make it louder. I usually go past the clipping range (surprised?)
Effect Compression - So I can feel like an audio engineer.
I export this file as a .wav again.
Step 4 - Record Video
With the script, and NOT the audio file, I record the computer screen and what to do. To make sure it’s HD, I have the resolution of my monitor to 1920x1080. I don’t normally record a whole session in one go. I try to break it up into manageable bites.
After I have recorded the session, I then bring in the final audio file. I then match up the video to the audio.
If I speak for too long, I cut the video clip and extend the frame.
If I am too fast, I isolate the clip I am talking about and speed it up.
If there is a lot of wait time, I cut it out.
In the end, it will look a bit like this:
Step 5 - Add Transitions, Text and Animations
After I am happy with how the video turns out, it is then I add all the animations, and transitions, and extra bits which highlight parts of the screen. Sometimes I will draw pictures and add them here because someone should see my failed art.
In the end the final project looks similar to this:
And I’m done! Huzzah! I export this file and then upload it to YouTube!
Then Val takes a look at it, tells me things I’ve done wrong, and I patch it up.
And now we’re done in five (relatively) easy steps! I hope you found this interesting and maybe even helpful! Have any questions? By all means, tweet us! Or email us. Or comment below.
Thanks for reading, and have a great day.
Video Tutorial Specialist
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After meeting William Estes at QuickBooks Connect, I wanted to sit down with Woodard Consulting’s Chief Operating Officer to learn more about his role and the Woodard/Method relationship. More importantly, I wanted to know what advice he had for accountants looking to evolve into more of a small business advisor.
Myself, William, and Danny at the Method Social in San Jose
What does it take to go from being an accountant to being a successful small business advisor within the QuickBooks ecosystem?
I’m all about relationships in business because relationships create trust and trust creates success.
And when you enjoy working with your partner, it creates an even greater desire for mutual success. From a sales perspective, it helps when you’re enthusiastic about the product you’re selling.
When I’m meeting with a client about Method as a solution, I can’t help but think back to the fun memories I have from various conferences and industry events. I get excited about the possibilities for this client because in my mind, I’m associating their needs with my friends, who I know have a good product and with whom I love working. And they can sense that!
Members of Woodard Consulting, VARC Solutions, and Method dining in San Jose
At what growth stage do businesses come to you looking for a solution like Method?
We've been very successful at identifying what we call "stretchers" - a business that has grown to the point where it's painful to do something in QuickBooks and who can really benefit from a QuickBooks integrated app like Method.
What kind of pain points do “stretchers” come to you with?
Companies come to us when they feel they're getting 90% of what they need in QuickBooks and they need help with just the last 10%. But with Method, once we show the client what’s possible with customization, the client sees how many more problems can be solved. What was intended to be a small engagement turns into something 10x bigger - and the client is ok with that because they see the value of Method really quickly.
Method is a salesperson’s dream, from a solutions standpoint because for the most part, the answer is “YES”. There are very few occurrences where we're able to disqualify Method as the solution for a client.
What are some examples of the last 10% clients need help with?
It has a lot to do with work flow and especially automation. We've been very successful at rolling out automated work flows for complex billing cycles and aggregating a lot of data from different sources that get pushed out into one single transaction in QuickBooks. Those are the top areas that Method really sings like a canary when it comes to that 10%.
How do you consult a client on adopting a QuickBooks-integrated app?
I really relate to a client when I’m helping them find a solution for their business. I relate to their frustrations and what they're going through, and it’s real because I’ve gone through it myself. I usually say, "just give me an hour with you or with your client just to qualify them" and by the end of that hour, the accountant or the client is usually saying "Yup - let's go forward with this. I want to know more. I want to know what else this solution can do for me".`
For showing a client Method, I walk them through the product and show them the value and they really have that "Aha!" moment and they really get it. It's a salesperson’s dream to sell. It's really easy to demo and get the point across, especially when you have experienced the value of Method yourself.
What advice would you give someone looking to partner with Method or other apps within the Intuit ecosystem?
As with anyone making a sizable investment in a solution, a small business is not just looking for a business consultant who can sell something. They’re looking for a consultant who believes in what they are selling. I’ve had many people tell me they can see I really believe in Method as a company and as a solution. And in the end, that’s why the client wants to move forward with us.
It sounds like recommending Method to small businesses, and even customizing Method, is a significant part of Woodard Consulting. How did the Woodard/Method relationship begin?
When Method got introduced into the Intuit Ecosystem, Method was one of Scaling New Heights’ first sponsors, so there's a long standing history between the two companies.
Before the first Scaling New Heights conference, Joe Woodard was introduced to Method and saw the potential to take his business to the next level. He learned Method for his own business, put it into action, and began using it as a highly customized CRM.
Joe went on to actively engage with Method from a consulting standpoint and become one of the top Method developers in the US very quickly. Joe was the first person to create a third party app on the Method platform, become the only Method bootcamp provider, and even helped write a lot of certification materials with the Method team.
Does Joe Woodard have a computer programming background?
No, he doesn't! Which is a testament to the Method platform. Joe comes from an accounting background, was an Intuit trainer, and worked for a CPA firm for years before going off on his own. He was able to pick up customizing Method:CRM very successfully, put it into play in his own business, and then turn that into a very profitably consulting division.
Method Community Manager
[3 min read]
1. You need to speed things up for your team and your customers
Whether it’s sending out service quotes or processing product orders, the speed and efficiency of your operations slows to a crawl when there are too many people involved. And, if tasks are bottle necking because a business owner or accounting department are the only ones with access to QuickBooks, serving customers or trying to win new ones is even slower.
With a CRM for QuickBooks, your team has the freedom to create and send out estimates as well as check a current customer’s outstanding invoices, all from the same system. Your customers are served faster, which will keep their loyalty, and your leads receive quotes faster, which puts you first in line to win their business. Having the various roles of your company working within a CRM for QuickBooks like Method empowers your operations with speed and efficiency. And if you create customized automated workflows in Method:CRM, you’re off to the races!
2. You’re managing business contacts in spreadsheets and email programs
For each of your customers and vendors, QuickBooks provides you with one “Contact” and one “Alt Contact”, which doesn’t allow you to manage multiple relationships from one organization. But managing your business contacts in a spreadsheet or your email account makes conducting business needlessly complicated.
Method:CRM users appreciate having unlimited contacts per customer or vendor, allowing them to keep contacts secure, organized, updated, and accessible to everyone on the team from wherever there is an internet connection.
3. Your team is wasting time entering everything twice
Between sales, order fulfillment, and accounting, there’s a good deal of time wasted entering the same data multiple times. But if you’re suffering through this, you’re not alone: thousands of small businesses are afflicted with Dreaded Double Data Entry Syndrome each year.
Customer info should only be entered into a system once if not to reduce time, then to avoid the chance of human error. With a QuickBooks-integrated CRM, customer, lead, and vendor information only needs to be input one time. Once in your CRM, a contact’s information is accessible to the whole team and mirrored in QuickBooks for those folks taking care of the money.
4. You need to delegate tasks but don’t want to hand over the keys to QuickBooks
Allowing your team to perform accounting tasks, such as creating and sending an estimate, frees up your time as the business owner. But you’re worried about giving too many non-accountants access to your QuickBooks, aren’t you?
Worry not. In a CRM for QuickBooks, your team can perform accounting-oriented tasks and have the task mirrored in QuickBooks, without them ever logging into the accounting software. In Method:CRM, small business owners get to set up “rules” in Method to safeguard what their team is able to create, edit, or send out - so they still get final say.
5. You’re inflating your QuickBooks with customers who aren’t customers
Your accountant will be the first to agree you shouldn’t be filling up your QuickBooks file with potential business. The reality of any service-based business is you’re not going to win the business of every estimate you send out. So, if you’re managing your leads in QuickBooks, you end up with “customers” in QuickBooks that have never brought in a single dollar of revenue!
By managing leads in a CRM for QuickBooks, you’re able to check off the “Is Leads Status Only” field for a lead contact, which holds off syncing them over to QuickBooks until they’ve converted into a paying customer.
Still not convinced? Check out these small business success stories to see how a landscaping company, a wholesaler, and a health care equipment provider all benefited from moving their team onto a CRM for QuickBooks.
Until next time,
Method Community Manager
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I love going to industry conferences - meeting up with old friends in a fun city, getting re-energized from inspiring keynotes speeches, and endless learning opportunities.
But the early mornings, late nights, action-packed days, and travel time can take a toll!
So, if you’re like me and want to feel energized throughout your conference and to be ready to get back to work afterwards, here are three travel tips I’ve come to learn, often the hard way...
1. Choose an ai sle seat so you can stay hydrated on your flight
Tincreases your risk of a respiratory virus
, which this is the last thing you need before a high energy conference! Before getting on the flight to QuickBooks Connect, I pretty much dehydrated myself to avoid having to get up during the flight. Wrong move on my part - I felt awful!
he air on flights has significantly less humidity than what you’re used to, causing you to become dehydrated. Dehydration saps your energy, puffs you up (do your shoes feel tight?), and even
To avoid this, drink a healthy amount of water before you board your flight to ensure your body is already well hydrated. In his article 5 changes i made to improve productivity while traveling, Jason W. Womack also suggests drinking eight ounces of water for every hour of your flight and booking an aisle seat, so you’re able to get up as often as you need to. (He also notes you’ll get off your flight quicker with an aisle seat. Bonus!)
2. Just pack a carry-on!
When you’re heading to a conference, sometimes you’re only away for a few days. If this is the case, and you can manage it, Paul and Danny (Method CEO and COO) recommend traveling
light with carry-on luggage. I know this first hand because they challenged me to do so when we were on the same flight to San Jose!
The verdict? I loved it! We could get off the airplane and be on our merry way without impatiently waiting at the luggage carousel. This made such a difference to our schedule and significantly cut out the irritation I often experience at an airport. Less stress = more energy!
3. Write down your hotel room number
When I was with the Method:CRM team at QuickBooks Connect, I was running back to people’s hotel rooms to grab Method swag, advil and candy for the Hackathon team, or party favors for our social event. There were several times I found myself running between different hotel floors, with several different hotel room key, but couldn’t remember the room number I was meant to go to. In fact, one day I was trying to get my own key card to work, and was using quite animated language when it didn’t, only to realize I was at the wrong room!
So, as Dorie Clark recommends in her Entrepreneur article on business travel, record your room numbers in your phone or in your notebook - the last thing you want is to blank on your room number (or try and get into someone else’s, in my case) after a long day of sessions and maybe a few cocktails.
Conferences are a blast, so I hope these tips will help you enjoy your next one energized and healthy. If you’re looking for even more tips on business travel, I’ve provided a few more great articles to check out below. Otherwise, happy travels!
Successful People Share Their Best Travel Tips
The 10 Best Travel Tips
10 Best Apps for Travel (& They’re Free)
Method Community Manager
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When you think of Las Vegas, accountants may not come to mind.
But come next week, Caesars Palace will be hosting these party animals for The Sleeter Group’s Annual conference, Solutions14.
Solutions14 is a fantastic opportunity for accounting professionals to learn how leveraging technology can strengthen their practice and turn them into the business advisor clients can’t live without.
I know the Method team is excited for this event - we’ll be showing off our QuickBooks integrated CRM, meeting up with friends from our Method Partner Program, and even hosting one of the sessions on Tuesday!
Looking at the various learning tracks and plethora of sessions, I thought I’d share some of the ones I’m most excited about:
Presenter: Doug Sleeter
Technology has significantly changed the accounting profession and small businesses are relying more and more on their accountants to become business advisors. In Doug Sleeter’s keynote, he’ll discuss the tech-driven opportunities in front of accountants and how to pivot your business model to deliver the services your clients really want.
Method:Making accounting invisible for your small business clients
QuickBooks ProAdvisors know their clients love many of the areas of running a business, but accounting is often not one of them. However, because business owners don’t want too many cooks in the kitchen when it comes to their accounting software, they’re often unable to delegate and speed up internal workflows. In this session, you’ll learn how to empower your clients to perform accounting related tasks, such as creating and emailing out a work order, with Method:CRM and QuickBooks Online without being “in the books”.
American Express OPEN: Snap, Tag, Transfer
If your clients use Business Cards from American Express OPEN, this is an ideal session for your to attend. You will learn how your clients can streamline the way they track and manage their American Express Business Card transactions with ReceiptMatch
and QuickBooks. The result? They will no longer be frustrated by a pile of Business Card receipts and you can find the financial data you need at the end of the month.
Work Smart. Transferring Data into Your Accounting System
A small business owner can find themselves drowning in spreadsheets, but as their Accountant or Bookkeeper, you can help them properly manage their data, so they can get back to managing their business. By reviewing 3rd party applications and QuickBooks built-in functions in this session, you’ll learn how to speed up your write-up work or support clients with multiple systems, that export data in Excel and CSV.
Intuit: Realize the Benefits of End-to End Workflow with QuickBooks Online
Presenters: Kevin Kirn and Heather Kirkby
Want to keep up to day on everything QuickBooks Online? Intuit Product Managers Kevin Kirn and Heather Kirkby will showcase the newest edition to the QuickBooks Online Product Lineup. They’ve demonstrate an end-to-end workflow between you and your small business clients.
Navigating the POS (Point of Sale) Waters
Do you have retail clients? How do you know which retail software to recommend when the playing field has become so crowded? David Glantz will moderate a panel of experienced retail software consultants, to provide context on current offerings for a better understanding of which application best fits your client’s needs.
Lastly, I would like to mention the Monday night session with Terry Hicks and Jim McGinnis Intuit: Partnering with Accountants to Unlock Small Business Success. This session will highlight QuickBooks Online growth and the role accounting professionals play within Intuit’s online ecosystem to ensure small business success, so definitely one worth attending!
Otherwise, I hope you enjoy all that Solutions14 has to offer this year and also be. And be sure to stop by the Method booth (#800) to say “Hi!” and check out the new Method!
Keep in contact with me via Twitter to be kept up to date on everything Solutions14 :)
Method Community Manager
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It has been quite a month at Method, so it only seems appropriate for the team to close out October dressed up in crazy costumes, eating treats, and even performing interpretive dances...I’ll explain that in a bit.
Why such a great month for the team, you ask?
Prior to October, Method’s development team has been hard at work preparing the new Method for beta. There were all nighters and lots of red bull, but they did it. Our developer team got the new Method ready for beta this month and we couldn’t be more proud of their incredible hard work and dedication.
Leading up to October, the team was also hard at work preparing for our journey to San Jose for Intuit’s inaugural conference, QuickBooks Connect. We knew signing up to be a Main Street exhibitor was the perfect opportunity to show off the concept behind the new Method platform. So, our Main Street store was turned into a “Made for Me” cafe, where customers could order a small business CRM solution with just the right number of apps for their business.
And while most of the Methoders were manning the “Made for Me” cafe, members of our executive team were invited to speak at QuickBooks Connect sessions.
Paul on the panel of Learn from Your Peers: How Other Developers Found Success
Danny in Running your entire business with QuickBooks Online with Kevin Kirn
Overall, QuickBooks Connect was an incredible event that featured world class keynote speakers and provided fantastic learning opportunities for small business owners, accountants, and developers looking to join the Intuit ecosystem. Needless to say, we’re already excited for next year’s event.
The Hackathon - Method:Donor
There were many big wins this month, but one that really struck a chord throughout the whole company was the QuickBooks Connect Hackathon win. The challenge? To design, build, deploy and pitch an app within 36 hours at the QuickBooks Hackathon. The Method Team created Method:Donor, a non-profit app designed to provide an easy way for donors to send charitable gifts and for non-profit organizations to accept and process those gifts within the QuickBooks environment.
"This win is a huge validation of the possibility that Method can provide its users with. Our winning app was designed using Method’s drag and drop app creation and customization environment. It is a great example of the level of depth and personalization our solution can provide users and partners. We can't wait to see the app go live on Apps.com so our not-for-profit customers can get as much as enjoyment and satisfaction out of using the app as we did in creating it."
- Paul Jackson, Method Founder and CEO
There was much celebration following the Hackathon win, including a series of photos taken of the giant check, cake and shots back at the office, and even an epic "new Method" inspired Halloween dance by our sales team.
November also promises to be a busy month for us Methoders. In addition to bringing the first wave of beta participants onto the new Method, we’ll be in Las Vegas for the Sleeter conference Solutions14. The team will be showing off the new Method and welcoming new QuickBooks ProAdvisors to the Method Partner Program.
The team will also be preparing for Method’s 2014 Partner Retreat, taking place this year in our home town of Toronto! If you’re a Method Partner and haven’t registered yet - what are you waiting for?! Register here - we’d love to have you join us.
Method Community Manager
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At Intuit’s inaugural event QuickBooks Connect, I had the pleasure of attending Robin Hall’s session “Consulting strategies for the Intuit-centric accounting professional”. Even as a non-Accountant, I learned a lot and was really inspired by one of Robin’s stories around how she cultivates a healthy corporate culture at her accounting firm.
I asked Robin if she would re-share the story for the greater Method Community. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
About a year ago, the Method team delivered a couple of pizzas to my office so my team and the Method team could enjoy a virtual pizza party. It was really cool. Even though we were separated by a few thousand miles, it was a great customer and partner
Since that time, I have tried to do things with my staff that are unique, personal, and not found at any other company. We have done things like pedicures, dinners, limo rides, bowling nights, laser tag, and more. Some of these activities have included spouses and some have been just for the team. I want my staff to be a team that knows and trusts one another, not just professionally but also personally.
For my company’s 15th year anniversary, I took everyone out for a nice, steak dinner. As the appetizers were arriving, I passed around hundred dollar bills and instructed everyone to take one - they just couldn’t take the one that had their own initials on it. I went on to explain to my rather perplexed team that it takes 30 days to create a new habit, good or bad. The challenge was for each person to pick a habit they wanted to break or create, and they had 30 days to do so. The habit could be personal or professional; either way, I knew it would affect their professional well-being.
The goal or habit had to be peer-reviewed and approved by the other staff member holding their hundred dollar bill. Everyone was responsible for encouraging everyone else, but especially to encourage the person whose initials were on the hundred dollar bill they possessed. You see, after the 30 days, the results would be peer-reviewed; but the keeper of the person’s hundred dollar bill had the final say on whether that person achieved their goal or broke their habit. Everyone’s goal or habit was written on the office white board where they were seen and talked about daily in passing. It was a great way to keep people on their toes, and notice when they weren’t meeting their goal.
Over the next 30 days, the office-wide encouragement was great to watch. At the end of the 30 days, we went to a pumpkin patch with our kids and spouses in tow, took the pumpkins back to my house for a “family” dinner, and even carved the pumpkins. As the team ate together, we all went around the room and talked about each of our goals. It was amazing to hear everyone on my staff open up to report honestly about how they had met their goal and what they personally found to be the most difficult part of the challenge.
I am pleased to say that everyone received their hundred dollar bill, but everyone also received something more valuable than money. They all received an awareness of how their actions are perceived by others and a starting point to seeing themselves in others’ eyes. As the business owner, I know this challenge benefited everyone on a personal level, but I also understand how the positive outcomes will be felt exponentially by my customers in the days, weeks, and even years to come. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. I believe sometimes the opposite reactions can be felt from light years away.
Robin Hall is the Principal Consultant at VARC Solutions; she is an Advanced Certified ProAdvisor and has been consulting on QuickBooks products since 1999. Not only can she be seen helping her clients but she often teaches other Intuit Consultants at various Intuit centric conferences around the country.
If you have had success with a team exercise or event, let me know in the comments below! And if you're interested in becoming a Method Partner, like Robin, check out the Method Partner Program page.
Method Community Manager
As a software company that specializes in managing small business relationships, we greatly value our customers and partners and take their input on our CRM to heart.
You, our customers and partners, have told us how Method could be better for your businesses and we listened.
This week, at Intuit’s QuickBooks Connect conference, I am extremely proud to reveal what our team has been working on, as we officially enter into beta for the new Method.
3 things that define the new Method
Made for Mobile
You’re constantly on the go, which means your business is as well. So, designing and creating the new Method as a mobile platform was top priority. Whether you’re at a customer’s house providing a service quote, or sitting with your team at the office, you’ll enjoy working in Method on a smartphone, tablet, or laptop.
Sleeker, Simpler Interface
You asked for a better user experience, so we have redesigned Method’s User Interface (UI) to be modern, sleek, and intuitive.
You asked for a faster CRM, so we’ve put stronger horse power behind Method. You’ll find it faster and more responsive. And, as always, our sync engine will mirror your work from Method into QuickBooks in real-time.
What does it mean to be “in beta”?
Beta is an exciting time! We’re inviting customers and partners into our beautiful, new platform and showing off the experience built by our team of incredible software engineers.
You’ll get to be the first ones to test out a small business software that will change the game of small business applications!
And when the Method:Beta is complete, we’ll open the doors so all small businesses can simplify the unique way they get their work done.
Your invitation to beta and what to expect
If you’ve ever used software during its beta phase, you’ll know that beta is the next chapter of the software development story As a guest of Method:Beta, you’ll be invited to look around, explore with all that the new platform has to offer, and provide us with robust feedback.
Bare in mind, with any beta there are going to be hiccups. Method is not yet perfected. But this is where your feedback as a beta guest comes into play - the Method team will listen intently to your first hand experiences so we can improve our platform prior to public availability.
If you’re as excited about the new Method as we are, and are up to the challenge of participating in Method’s beta, we’d love to have you!
When you sign up to participate in beta your invitation will be sent to you via email. To ensure proper sign up processes are in place, we will be inviting customers, partners, and other small business owners into Method Beta in waves, so don’t fret if you aren’t emailed with your login link right away.
New to the world of CRM?
If you’re new to the concept of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and what it can do for your business (especially when synced with your QuickBooks Online account), watch this short video
- it’s informative, and quite cute.
What separates Method:CRM from the rest?
Sometimes it’s best to hear from someone who has really reaped the benefits of Method’s real-time sync
with QuickBooks, so I encourage you to check out these Small Business Success Stories
or head to the Intuit’s App Marketplace to read
. reviews of our application
For those of you attending the QuickBooks Connect conference, I look forward to hearing about your small business and showing you around the new Method.
Method Founder & CEO
P.S. If you’ve been working closely with a Method Partner to customize yo ur Method:CRM check in with them as to whether the Beta is suitable for you before signing up.
As I sit writing this at Method Headquarters, there is a distinct buzz in our office. Between deliveries arriving and the sound of coworkers high-fiving, you can’t help but feel a giddy excitement for next week. In a few days time, a troupe of Methoders will arrive in San Jose to support our Intuit partners at their inaugural event, QuickBooks Connect. For the last few weeks leading up to QuickBooks Connect, I could tell this event would be like no other, and with every new keynote speaker announced, my excitement grew.
But famous speakers aside, there will be individuals at QuickBooks Connect whom we’re even more psyched to see - our customers and partners.
And, since it’s a rare occasion for so many of our customers and partners to be with us in the same city, the Method team is hosting a party on Monday, October 20th.
So, if you’re a Method customer or partner planning to attend QuickBooks Connect, we’d love to see you Monday night!
And when you’re at QuickBooks Connect, be sure to swing by our booth on Main Street (M4) to say “Hi!” and see what we’ve been cooking up. If you’re keeping busy at the conference going to sessions and networking, don’t worry - our store will be open during the Wednesday night Main Street Party.
So grab a cocktail and swing by!
Stay in-the-loop through social media
We understand that not everybody is able to make it out to San Jose for QuickBooks Connect, but don’t worry - I’ll be tweeting up a storm to keep you updated on all the announcements coming out of this event. Connect with me through Method’s twitter handle @MethodCRM or through our Facebook Page and don’t be shy! Say hi!
With so many of my fellow Methoders at QuickBooks Connect, it’s going to be a blast. You’ll see the usual suspects as well as the winners of the Method App Contest! And you better believe those smarty pants will be competing in the QuickBooks Connect Hackathon.
So, what is our Founder & CEO, Paul Jackson, the most excited about for QuickBooks Connect?
“I’m excited to meet Method:CRM users face-to-face and see their eyes light up when we show them what we’ve been working on!”
See you there!
Method Community Manager
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This is a guest post by QuickBooks Advanced Certified ProAdvisor, Victoria Cameron.
Are you starting a new business and wondering which Intuit accounting package to choose?
Or, as a QuickBooks Desktop user, are you wondering if you should switch your business over to QuickBooks Online?
At Cloud Consultancy, we love QuickBooks Online and encourage our clients to go with this platform, but sometimes QuickBooks Premier or Enterprise is the better option for certain businesses.
However, the beauty of QuickBooks Online is the Ecosystem Intuit has created around it.
So, issues that often force a company to choose QuickBooks Desktop can be solved by subscribing to Intuit partnered apps, like Method:CRM - a customizable Customer Relationship Management solution for QuickBooks users.
To help you with your decision, my team and I have put together 9 considerations to weigh during your decision making process:
1. How many people need to access QuickBooks and where are they located?
If you have a distributed team, as we do at Cloud Consultancy, QuickBooks Online offers anywhere, anytime access to up to 25 people. Additionally, you can give access to two accounting firms and have unlimited time-entry and reports users.
If more than 25 people need to access core accounting functions, QuickBooks Enterprise is a better choice. However, if you sync Method:CRM with your QuickBooks Online account, you can give access to unlimited users for all sales and customer service related functions.
2. Will you want to restrict access to certain users in QuickBooks?
QuickBooks Enterprise has much more granular permission settings than QuickBooks Online, so if you need to restrict who can access what, desktop is the better choice.
However, Method:CRM handles user restrictions even better. Method allows you to restrict not only who can access what within QuickBooks, but it also permits restrictions on what data your staff can enter, such as only having access to a particular set of items, or a particular class.
3. Do you have advanced inventory needs?
QuickBooks Desktop, especially Enterprise, is often touted as the only choice for companies who need to build assemblies, use units of measure, or track Sales Orders, back-orders, or drop-shipments. But QuickBooks Online combined with apps like Method:CRM and/or Exact Online or SOS Inventory can be perfectly adequate for many businesses.
4. Do you need mobile access to QuickBooks data and forms?
If you and or your employees are on the road often, this is where QuickBooks Online really shines. Their mobile app, particularly the tablet one, allows mobile staff the ability to create an estimate or invoice, get a customer signature, and accept payment - all from a simple interface on the go.
5. Do you need detailed job costing?
While QuickBooks Online is a great choice for contractors who are usually out in the field, contractors who manage larger jobs want to allocate all expenses to each job, such as payroll costs and worker’s compensation. QuickBooks Online payroll options do not yet sync job details for reporting purposes, so a QuickBooks Desktop version combined with QuickBooks Full Service payroll is a better choice.
6. Do you have sales reps?
In QuickBooks Online, you are not able to track sales by a particular sales rep, other than co-opting the class or location fields.
However, in Method:CRM you can easily customize your account to track and report on sales by rep. Plus, you can build a portal in Method for your reps to log in and place their orders themselves - really cutting down on the work for your accounting staff!
7. Do you want to customize your forms or create detailed custom reports?
QuickBooks Desktop has many more options for customizing sales forms and creating detailed reports. But again, using Method in conjunction with QuickBooks Online gives you the ability to create custom forms to look exactly the way you want. And the custom reporting capabilities of Method:CRM are even greater than the QuickBooks Desktop versions, even with the new Advanced Reporting feature of QuickBooks Enterprise.
8. Do you dislike using Windows?
Using QuickBooks Online gives you the option of using Macs or Chromebooks to do your accounting, so you can stay away from the complexities of Windows updates and syncing issues.
9. Are you cost-sensitive?
It is difficult to discuss cost at a high level like this, because cost can depend on many variables: number of users, applicable discounts, and add-ons for inventory management, importing, and reporting.
There is a general perception that Intuit’s online subscription model is more expensive, particularly when compared to keeping the same desktop software for two or three years. We disagree, given the other advantages of using cloud based software.
For example, the functionality of QuickBooks Online continuously improves; on average, updates are released from Intuit every two weeks. In fact, some of the feature limitations discussed here may not be relevant in a few months time.
Here are a few things included in QuickBooks Online, which we think makes it a more economical accounting software choice in the long run:
Also, keep in mind that the Enterprise version of QuickBooks Desktop recently changed to the subscription model: you’ll need to pay an annual fee or your software will stop working. For more details on this, check out Charlie Russell’s post from the Sleeter Group.
When you’re making your decision between QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop, make sure you’re evaluating the latest version of QuickBooks Online and steer clear of outdated articles. While my team and I at Cloud Consultancy urge our clients to use QuickBooks Online, the decision comes down to what is best for your unique business.
But, remember that adopting an Intuit partnered app like Method:CRM will remedy any QuickBooks Online limitation you may come across, and provide you additional functionality to improve how you run your business.
Victoria Cameron is a partner at Cloud Consultancy, LLC, a company founded by three Advanced Certified Method Partners. Cloud Consultancy provides a range of customized business process solutions andis the publisher of the AERO Workflow Manager. Victoria is a long time QuickBooks Advanced Certified ProAdvisor, is certified in Enterprise Solutions, POS, and QuickBooks Online, and provides QuickBooks consulting as the principal of Victoria Rehrig Cameron, LLC. A Mac user since 1984, she loves that QuickBooks Online means she rarely has to use Windows anymore.
QuickBooks was created to provide you with a robust understanding of your small business financials. It was not built to manage every area of your business.
So, just like you don’t expect a server to also be the chef and dishwasher it’s also unrealistic to expect your accounting software to manage all areas of your business.
Think of your business management system as a meal at a fancy restaurant with QuickBooks as the protein and integrated apps, like Method:CRM, as the side dishes. You could just have the steak, but it’s really not the same without the sauteed mushrooms and roasted veggies. Am I right?!
I really shouldn’t write while I’m hungry. Anyways…
The point I’m trying to make, is your financial data will always be the meat of your small business, but it does take a few sides (or side kicks) to have a more well rounded solution for your business.
With that being said, it’s best to look at Intuit’s partner apps for your small business management needs, such as tracking sales leads. Because, while I love QuickBooks, leads deserve a better home and you deserve to a clean, streamlined sales process.
To demonstrate my point, here are 3 savory reasons why you should stop trying to manage your leads in QuickBooks:
There really is no reason to have non-paying business contacts living in your accounting software, and your accountant or bookkeeper will be the first to point this out. If you run a business that provides many leads with estimates, you’ll end up with a significant number of “customers” in QuickBooks that have never actually brought in revenue.
With your leads in Method:CRM, there is no more cluttering up your QuickBooks file with Leads posing as Customers. When a Lead converts into a Customer, the bi-directional sync between Method and QuickBooks will transfer the appropriate information of that Lead into QuickBooks. You’re now ready to start invoicing from QuickBooks or Method!
When you manage your leads in QuickBooks, how can your team access a Lead’s info if they call the office with questions on their quote? Or, if you want someone on your team to be following up on quotes, you don’t want to be giving out the QuickBooks password to someone who doesn’t know their way around the accounting software.
When you have a QuickBooks integrated CRM, your team can perform accounting tasks without giving them access to your QuickBooks file Method users LOVE this feature! Your sales team can perform the tasks necessary to close a sales, such as creating and sending a lead a quote, without you worrying that too many cooks are in the QuickBooks kitchen.
When you’re managing Leads in QuickBooks, you’re manually notifying other teams for an order to be processed once a Lead converts to a Customer. But, if you’re busy doing other tasks you can be delayed or totally forget to pass along the information to get the order processed.
When you manage your Leads in Method:CRM, you can create automated workflows that kick start the order processing engine as soon as you get the “go!” from a client.
For example, as both a B2B and B2C company, Dean Markley had multiple people involved in processing orders for their industry renowned guitar strings. With a high volume of orders being placed, and without a QuickBooks integrated CRM workflow, orders were falling through the cracks and they were losing business.
“Before, an order touched 11 different hands, but now we create one order and the necessary information is generated and sent to all the right people,” John Weaver explained.
“A salesperson can input an order, but only one person can send it out. We put these safeguards in place to make sure that consistent discounting was being offered throughout Dean Markley.”
Properly managing and nurturing Leads is crucial for growing a small business. The next time you see non-revenue generating “Customers” in QuickBooks, ask yourself how you’re doing more harm than good by managing Leads in your accounting software.
It may be time to adopt a small business CRM and give your leads the attention they deserve.
Method Community Manager
This is a guest blog by QuickBooks Advanced ProAdvisor and Method Partner, Fran Reed
The lifeblood of any company is Sales, Order Fulfillment, and Accounting.
Sales gets a lead and spends time nurturing that contact into a customer. Order Fulfillment receives the sale, processes and ships the order to the customer. Last, Accounting receives the information on the sale, invoices the client, and eventually collects payment.
Sounds pretty simple. Right?
Well, often it isn’t. Each of these roles juggle multiple leads, orders, and accounting tasks each day - and complexities and complications on sales orders inevitably arise.
In large businesses these functions tend to be handled by distinct departments that operate within robust programs that integrate Sales, Order Fulfillment, and Accounting. On the flipside, smaller businesses have smaller teams and operate without the same luxuries as the big guys.
A hacked together system
In small businesses, it’s common for these tasks to become disjointed, costing companies time and money. The lack of internal “flow” also creates disharmony amongst team members with everyone getting in the way of the other.
As a result, a small business “system” that passes around crucial sales data tends to be made up of Excel spreadsheets, scraps of paper, and archived emails. Or, worse yet, they attempt to invent ways to use QuickBooks, their accounting software, to fulfill these processes.
But who could blame them? Up until recently, the efficiencies achieved by strong, integrated tools and automated workflows were not in the grasp of small business owners.
Without integration or automated workflows, data is re-entered, printed, or passed around for approval between each area. These manual processes are a huge hidden corporate cost and leave data open to human error.
The ability to electronically pass data between co-workers, to automate routine tasks, and to set up forms and screens that reflect company policy not only saves a company time, it allows a team to work together more harmoniously.
More and more, automated workflows between small business departments are no longer just nice to have - they’re vital!
Enter the customizable small business CRM
A Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) creates a central system for a Sales team to manage business opportunities and customer relationships, while integrating with Order Fulfilment and Accounting systems. The three business functions operate within an automated workflow, keeping everyone on the same page, reducing time spent on each sale, and eliminating double data entry.
But, the real magic comes in when the CRM can be customized. Even small tweaks within a CRM can make a huge difference for the day-to-day operation of a small business. Deep customization has been out of the reach for most QuickBooks-centric business, until now.
Imagine…Sales has a robust CRM to track leads and opportunities and generate orders, which automatically get sent to Accounting and Order fulfillment electronically. The status of the order is monitored and all parties can check on its status at any time, from anywhere. Rules required by one arm of the system can even be electronically checked and appropriate actions taken.
No double or triple data entry or order confusion. No pieces of paper. Electronic forms are available as the departments want to see them. Sales documents go to Accounting filled out correctly, and also integrate with QuickBooks in real time!
Getting back to workplace harmony
Because of my years of business and QuickBooks experience, I am equipped to recommend process improvements for my clients and I often demonstrate the positive impact automated workflows have on their bottom line. This is when I turn to Method:CRM. I rely on Method for a completely customized solution for my clients to get them back to workflow harmony.
For thousands of small businesses, Method is a unique, cloud-based CRM with an industry-renowned QuickBooks sync engine. By adopting Method, you can reap the benefits of integrated systems, typically available only to large companies, for a fraction of the cost.
And Method’s industry recognized QuickBooks sync engine is like no other. With it’s two-way sync, the information required by QuickBooks gets mirrored in your QuickBooks file, while other data important to Sales and Order Fulfillment remain only in Method. Isn’t that sweet?!
Method out of the box is ready to do work - it’s a fully functioning CRM. But, the real value of Method is in customizing the screens and workflows to mimic the language, processes, and uniqueness of their business.
How can some of these changes help your business?
Develop workflows/approvals as data flows from one area to the next
Use your own language (i.e, Donor instead of Customer)
Set up alerts when there is action to be taken by another group
- Enter in new leads or customer communications right from Gmail or Outlook
Put information that is important to Sales upfront and clearly visitble
Develop “Order Pads”’ which make it fast and easy to set up quotes and orders for clients
Show sales reps what’s on hand and available to be sold
Add custom notes to Estimates, Sales Orders and Work Orders
For Order Fulfillment:
Tag sales with Order Status so it's clear what the next action is
Set up portals so customers can check on their orders
Set up ability to process several orders at once
Automate workflow approvals
Email documents to customers
Customize sales orders and invoices based on company specs
Develop special pricing and costing
To see how Method:CRM can create harmony for your organization, click here.
Until next time,
Fran has over 35 years of professional experience in accounting, financial analysis and reporting.
Owner of Freedup Data Optics
, Fran has a passion for helping companies move forward to excellence by removing inefficient practices. Fran has an MBA from Pepperdine University, a BS in Accounting and she is a custom report designer and expert in Microsoft Excel. As a QuickBooks Advanced ProAdvisor, Fran has been working with the Method team since 2009. She has even organized a Method Partner group where Method Partners meet and share tips and tricks and assist each other troubleshoot technical issues.
You’ve paid for a local mailer to go out with your latest promotion, and overnight leads are flooding in.
Of all the problems small businesses face, this is my favorite one!
You now have an influx of potential business emailing your team asking for quotes, but how are you tracking all these new leads? Let me guess - you're managing leads in Excel?
If you track leads in Excel spreadsheets you're not alone. But, there’s good reason to consider using a Customer Relationship Management solution (CRM), which will give you back time and will keep potential revenue organized. After all - what’s the point of spending marketing dollars if you let the resulting leads fall through the cracks?
What’s more, a CRM that integrates with QuickBooks will be the sharpest tool in your sales team’s toolkit. And when it comes to increasing your customer base, you certainly don’t want to give them anything old and rusty. Afterall, the “Relationship Management” portion of “CRM” begins way before a contact is even a paying customer.
Here are 3 ways getting your leads out of Excel spreadsheets and into a CRM will benefit your bottom line:
1. Time is not longer wasted on annoying double-data entry
You didn’t set out to be an entrepreneur only to spend your nights performing administrative tasks, but that’s the harsh reality if you’re managing your leads in Excel. More importantly, the time you and your team spend on double data entry is costing you money, because it’s costing every one of you time.
But, when your team all works in Method:CRM, which is integrated with QuickBooks, lead information is captured, organized, and protected all in one place. No more frantically sharing lead info through emails and spreadsheets. Your lead is input into Method (or even better, captured from your website portal), and an estimate is quickly created and emailed out. And when the lead becomes a paying customer, Method converts the lead into a customer and even turns their estimate into an invoice, all of which is reflected in your QuickBooks file.
2. Your sales team will prioritize leads who convert
You’re doing a happy dance because your recent marketing campaign is bringing in new contacts, but your sales team is looking at the leads spreadsheet wondering who they should prioritize. Well, one of the most commonly known uses for CRMs is helping sales teams effectively manage and nurture qualified leads. And as a small team, you most definitely need to know who your “hottest” leads are so you can spend your time wisely.
Now - when I say “hottest” leads, I’m not referring to how attractive your potential customer might be, but the likelihood of that lead becoming a paying customer. In Method, you rank leads with simple temperature terms: the ones are most likely to convert (“hot”), those who are you’re not 100% sure of their interested in your product/service (“warm”), and those who you feel won’t convert (“cold”).
3. You’ll have a clear view of a marketing campaign’s ROI
As a small business, you probably struggled to decide where to invest your marketing budget. Years ago, it might have been difficult to measure the success of an ad campaign - in fact, when I watch the show Mad Men I wonder how they accurately tracked campaign success.
While it may have worked in 1968 for Heinz Baked Beans to use advertising to cast a wide net (and hope for the best), that’s not an option for small businesses. You need to know what works and what doesn’t. And it’s not only easier to measure the success of marketing campaigns these days, it’s crucial.
In Method, your leads are associated with the campaigns you create - for example, if you collect 200 business cards at a recent trade show, you would associate those 200 new leads with a “2014 Trade Show” campaign in Method. This way, you can view the overall success of your campaigns a few weeks down the road and make future marketing decisions based on real sales metrics.
Your leads are the gateway to increasing your bottom line. So, if you find yourself struggling to manage these contacts accurately and have your team serve them in a timely fashion, it might be time to retire your Excel spreadsheet and adopt a small business CRM. Not only will you save time and money, you’ll increase productivity and make sure no lead is left behind!
Method Community Manager
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really excited—to be going to ( and having a Main Street booth at) the inaugural QuickBooks Connect c onference this October.
There will be awesome keynotes and tailoredHackathon - Huzzah!
sessions for both entrepreneurs, small businesses owners, accountants and developers. There will even be a
(If you've already booked your ticket, don’t forget to let us know you’re going!)
Scaling New Heights.
And the team will get to catch up with some of our Method Partners, whom we last saw at
In fact, some of the Method Partners will be speaking at QuickBooks Connect, so be sure to catch their sessions at the conference - Double huzzah!
QuickBooks Connect Main Street booth.
As I mentioned above, we’ll have a
I can’t say what our booth theme will be yet—besides fun!—but I can say we’re working hard to create an experience to show off our products, partners, and customers in a way that’ll rival what the other premium sponsors will have (LinkedIn, Facebook, Visa…we’re bringing our A-game).
Please don’t kill my accounts.
Gu ys, it’s a friendly competition.
My fellow Methoders in dev and product are super stoked about the Hackathon because they get to build some awesome new apps (and hopefully walk away with one of the prizes).
Whatever it is they end up building will work in the Intuit ecosystem and will solve small business problems we haven’t tackled before. Good luck guys! I’ll be cheering from Toronto.
Method's 2014 App Contest Winners
So after all that palaver, are you going? If so, let us know! And if you haven’t registered yet, go and do it . There’s still time to sign up.
@MethodCRM on Twitter and the event hashtag, #QBConnect.
One more thing… Don’t forget to stay up-to-date with all things QuickBooks Connect by following
Customer Happiness Architect
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