by Graeme Leo

xlaq_usQSalesData (QSD) and Xact Link for Act! and QuickBooks (XLAQ) are popular links connecting Act! to the desktop accounting product QuickBooks. Commonly this is referred to as workflow or front-office to backoffice connectivity.
Desirable outcomes include the elimination of double entry of data, creation of a customer card in QB direct from CRM, providing important financial data to sales people while they call the customer and the ability to create sales documents such as invoices.
In comparing the two products there is a fundamental difference in feature emphasis and mode of
operation. XLAQ is designed primarily as a live workflow process from CRM to accounting. All processing such as customer card updates, invoice creation is saved to in QuickBooks at the instance of saving in Act!.


There is no requirement to run a daily update between Act! and QuickBooks and there is no requirement to have QuickBooks installed on the users’ workstations to process invoices or link records from Act! to QuickBooks. From that respect XLAQ is a more comprehensive solution. It relies on running reports for indepth sales analysis.
QSD, as the name suggests is focussed on providing essential sales data to sales staff by importing key sales information directly into Act! fields and transactional items to a custom Act! table. QSD uses Act!’s own powerful analysis tools to manipulate sales information and is useful in getting sales data to sales people in the field via Act!’s own ability to synchronise. This does provide for convenient access to data offline.
Relying on an import/export process, QSD updating is initiated manually or by the daily scheduled task at the server. The limitation of having no live connection to the QuickBooks data file means each salesperson needing to create invoices, sales orders etc. or create or edit customer account cards in QuickBooks has to have a QuickBooks license installed on their workstation as well as a copy of QSD. That impacts on the overall cost if additional QuickBooks license is not available and needs to be purchased.

1. Price Comparison:
One user and requiring automated sync and requiring the ability to link to QB records, updating QB records from Act!, create invoices, etc.

    • XLAQ = $89.50 per annum (choosing 24 month subscription option)

 

    • QSD = $189.00 per annum over 24 months (includes maintenance fee) and if you require an additional QuickBooks licence add $199.00



One user basic services

    • XLAQ = $89.50 per annum (choosing 24 month subscription option). Note: XLAQ provides full functionality, there is no reduction in services when QuickBooks is not installed on the users machine.

 

    • QSD = $94.50 per annum over 24 months (includes maintenance fee)



Three users and all requiring automated synch and requiring the ability to link to QB records, updating QB records from Act!, create invoices, etc.

    • XLAQ = $268.50 per annum (choosing 24 month subscription option)

 

    • QSD = $378.00 per annum over 24 months (includes maintenance fee). You may also require additional QuickBooks license for each user.



Three users and all requiring automated synch and requiring the ability to link to QB records, updating QB records from Act!, create invoices etc. and Time and Billing

    • XLAQ = $268.50 per annum (choosing 24 month subscription option)

 

    • QSD = $553.50 per annum over 24 months (includes maintenance fee). You may also require additional QuickBooks license for each user. Time and Billing is not supplied with the QSD product as it is an additional module purchase adding $175.50 to the price including maintenance fees.



2. Installation and Product Footprint:
XLAQ installs quickly, as there are no custom tables or a large number of fields to be created in Act!. XLAQ requires only two fields to be created in Act!. You install XLAQ on each workstation, check field mapping and then import and auto-link your QB customers and you immediately have access to the QuickBooks data, you are ready to go. There is an optional server component included that when installed removes the need to have QuickBooks installed on the local workstation or you can operate with QuickBooks on the workstation.
QSD has a long install process and a large footprint in Act! as the QuickBooks data resides directly in Act!. Half of the 48 page User Guide is devoted just to installing and configuring. QSD creates over 70 new fields in Act! for full integration as well as the creation of a custom table to store the transactions from QuickBooks in the Act! database structure. In smaller Act! sites this will have little impact but will most certainly have an effect where process intensive tasks are run in moderate to large database situations.

3. How they work and the effect:
XLAQ and QSD are quite different in the way they operate. QSD uses traditional techniques of importing all transactional and sales data directly into Act! in contrast, XLAQ connects directly to the QuickBooks file and access the data only as required and writes data directly to QuickBooks.
QSD depends entirely on having QuickBooks installed to write data to QuickBooks for tasks such as document creating or record updating and even linking an Act! record with the QuickBooks equivalent.
A nightly sync process needs to run to keep Act! updated with the new transactions created during the day and re-calculation of sales data. There is a manual update process each user can invoke, but that requires QuickBooks installed on the machine.
XLAQ is a self-contained and complete link without need for a nightly batch process as it is connected directly to the QuickBooks data file. XLAQ provides immediate and up to date data and creates documents directly without need or processes to be handed over to the QuickBooks application to run.
The QSD documentation lists twenty primary functions of which 50% require QuickBooks on the workstation to carry out the tasks.

4. Time and Billing:
There is now, no additional cost for Xact Time and Billing, it is provided with XLAQ.
QSD Billing Module costs an additional $99.00 plus yearly maintenance fee and if QuickBooks is not installed on the machine, an additional QuickBooks licence.
Xact Time and Billing It is installed with the install of the link software. QSD requires an additional install.
XLAQ Time and Billing is more complete and does not require additional QuickBooks licence. Each Ticket item is stamped with a unique number pre-pended by the Act! user initials. You can append completed Tickets to an existing invoice or create new invoice, move ticket items, edit ticket items etc.

Summary:
There are big differences between the products and big price differences. XLAQ is more ‘connected’ as operations happen in real time. There is no sense of having to think about the data having to update, what you see in Act! is how it is in QuickBooks. QSD strength is getting data into Act! for sales analysis, leveraging Act! analysis tools. XLAQ scales better and has way less impact on the database and includes access control..

2014-03-26 01:14:38
 
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