Salesforce and accounting: from automate to integrate

Salesforce and Accounting

After years of using Salesforce to improve and streamline many businesses, I now tend to see certain Salesforce and accounting related questions formulating in an executive’s mind before they even say it. A common one is: “So if we’re using Salesforce to store client info, contact info and sales info, can we use it to bill them?”

In short, the answer is yes. We can automate that. Taking a deal and creating an invoice for the full amount? Yes. Monthly invoices for subscription services? Yes. Invoices based on actuals? Yes. COGS? Sure, why not!?

Drawing the line between Salesforce and accounting solutions

In my opinion, a good rule of thumb is that when we start to use accounting terms like “credits and adjustments” it’s time to switch over to a full-fledged accounting solution. Inquiring whether Salesforce can perform more granular or technical functions such as recognizing or deferring revenue, journal entries, p&l reports, balance sheets, etc., means we have firmly crossed that line, where we shouldn’t be rebuilding these functions within Salesforce. There are accounting solutions available either on the platform, or off, for all budgets and sizes, that natively allow you to manage your business quickly and effectively.

When to integrate your Salesforce and accounting solution

This brings us to the topic of integration. So, why integrate Salesforce with your accounting solution? Quite simply, it makes your sales reps more effective by enabling them to focus on what matters: paying accounts!

The decision to integrate your accounting solution with Salesforce really is a numbers game (pun intended) based on two things. First, are you dealing with a high volume of Orders or Line Items? If so, you can simply work out your ROI by comparing what it costs to have someone (or maybe many people) manually enter these items against the cost of building and maintaining an integration. For most companies, it’s a worthwhile investment, especially as they look to the next five years.

Second, does Salesforce integrate with other systems that house the information you need for billing? For example, our digital media clients are often billing on actuals and not on what was sold. So if they are housing this data inside Salesforce, it makes sense to flow this information into an accounting system.

Using Salesforce to transition from order to invoice

In sum, Salesforce is not an accounting solution, but can assist with providing the data points required to seamlessly transition an order to invoice. Salesforce can act as the hub for housing all the key billing data points that would easily flow into your accounting solution.

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