The adage goes, "If you want something done right, do it yourself."
That's the thinking behind Intuit's recently announced QuickBooks Merchant Service for Web Stores, which is designed to help small businesses accept and process credit card payments online and to manage Web store finances and merchant accounts using QuickBooks accounting software.
It's not a new concept, but something that Intuit has until now relied on third parties to handle. But with e-commerce sales expected to climb from $81 billion in 2005 to $95 billion in 2006, based on JupiterResearch estimates, Intuit decided it was time to get involved directly.
According to the small business software leader, the service saves time and reduces possible errors by letting you track credit card deposits and fees, update prices, and reduce the need to manually reenter information by exchanging your data between QuickBooks software and Web store.
|QuickBooks Merchant Service for Web Stores lets you manage your online transactions using Intuit's accounting software.|
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QuickBooks Merchant Service for Web Stores is also designed to handle Internet-specific functions such as managing sales tax liabilities, tracking inventory for both your e-store and your physical store, and accounting for transaction fees and expenses associated with credit card sales through your Web store.
QuickBooks customers have been able to wed their electronic transactions with their accounting software through third-party integration options based on Intuit's QuickBooks Software Developer's Kit (SDK). However, even with those options "customers have struggled with creating e-commerce sites that work with Quickbooks," said Dan Wernikoff, director of product management for Intuit's QuickBooks Merchant Service.
Wernikoff said while developers had used the QuickBooks SDK (software developer's kit) to offer a way to automate transferring data between an electronic storefront and their accounting software, the company was finding that many implementations weren't being maintained, so Intuit started "thinking more aggressively" about integration. "Customers told us 'we need that bad.'"
"PayPal has an amazing SDK and does a great job," Wernikoff said. "We want to do a similar thing for integrating stores with QuickBooks."
Wernikoff admits that Intuit has not done a great job itself to ensure e-commerce-to-QuickBooks integration. "We had kind of thrown the SDK out there and let [developers] figure out how to get it to work," Wernikoff said. "Now we're looking for more of a partnership with storefront providers."
Intuit initially is working with a handful of what it describes as preferred providers to offer QuickBooks-ready Web stores. Those providers include Affinity Internet, ProStores (owned by eBay), GoDaddy.com, Homestead Technologies and WebSite Pros.
What does it cost? The Web store fee will depend on the provider and features you choose (the amount can range from a few dollars to a few hundred a month). Setting up your merchant account costs $59.95 and a monthly fee of $17.95.
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