It’s much easier to run an efficient and profitable small business when your point of sale system and accounting tool, QuickBooks, are compatible and integrate with one another.

Technology plays a key part in today’s successful small businesses. It’s not uncommon for a small business owner to use multiple pieces of software in their day-to-day work. Common tools for a retail shop, quick-service restaurant, or full-service restaurant and bar include accounting software, an email marketing platform, and point of sale software.

While each of these tools is important on their own, they’re exponentially more helpful when they integrate and work together. But before we get into what that looks like in a practical sense, we’re going to discuss why you should use accounting software like QuickBooks if you aren’t already, and then share a few different POS systems that are QuickBooks compatible.

Why Accounting Software and Why QuickBooks?

There are three main reasons why small business owners should use QuickBooks. First, it helps to simplify what is (for most entrepreneurs) one of the most complicated aspects of running a small business. Second, in simplifying accounting, a tool like QuickBooks can significantly reduce the amount of time spent on accounting tasks. Third, as a byproduct of making accounting easier and more streamlined, QuickBooks also provides significantly more visibility into accounting processes.

It’s important to note that if you have a point of sale system, there’s a good chance that some of the data you’ll get from QuickBooks also exists in that system. For example, it’s common for POS systems to report on profit margins and labor cost. They also sometimes offer invoicing, tax reporting, and payroll tools. However, the wealth of additional data and utility that accounting software provides far exceeds the basics you’ll get from even a modern POS system.

With that in mind, here are some additional QuickBooks features that will help you as a business owner:

  • Bill and invoice management
  • Mileage logging (for tax deduction purposes)
  • Receipt backup and expense tracking
  • Invoicing, including the ability for customers to pay from the invoice
  • Tax document creation
  • Payroll including payroll taxes
  • Advanced financial reporting like profit & loss statement, cash flow, and balance sheets
  • Sales tax tracking

The above feature list covers just a few of the major features that accounting software like QuickBooks can help you with. To get a sense of everything that QuickBooks has to offer, we recommend checking out their website.

SEE ALSO: Best Small Business Apps for Retailers

Why Integrate Your POS and QuickBooks?

Before jumping into why you would want to integrate Quickbooks, let’s briefly explain the two ways that POS systems and QuickBooks can integrate.

Direct Integration
A direct integration is hands-down the best way to connect a POS system with an accounting tool like QuickBooks. Without getting overly technical, this type of integration is typically the result of a partnership between two companies and the connection is made at the API level. In most cases, that means going into an “integrations” section of your POS system and enabling the QuickBooks integration (usually by logging in with your QuickBooks credentials). From there, you may have some ability to configure the specifics of the integration.

The benefits of this type of integration is that data is passed between the two systems automatically with no extra work on your part. Compared to an in-direct integration, the connection is simple and seamless.

In-Direct Integration
One of the nice things about QuickBooks is that it allows you to import data via CSV. So, while you may be using a POS system that doesn’t have a direct integration with QuickBooks, using the tool may be as simple as exporting data from your POS system as a CSV and then importing it into QuickBooks.

The plus is that at least you’re able to benefit from much of what QuickBooks has to offer. The downside is that the process is incredibly manual. Because of this, there are more opportunities for errors to occur. It’s also likely that you’ll either forget or procrastinate and fall behind in importing data, which can lead to flawed decision making and an inaccurate picture of your financials.

Because of these downsides, we strongly recommend that you look for a POS system that features a direct integration with QuickBooks.

POS systems that are QuickBooks compatible ShopKeep point of sale<

POS Systems That Are Compatible With QuickBooks

Now that we’ve explained the benefits you can expect from working with QuickBooks and how integrations between POS systems and QuickBooks work, let’s look at some of the top POS systems that are QuickBooks compatible.

As one of the most popular payments providers across a variety of industries, it should come as no surprise that Square’s POS software is QuickBooks compatible. However, that doesn’t mean Square is a good fit for your business.

Square got their start by simplifying credit card processing for very small merchants, often called micro-merchants. A micro-merchant is a part-time business owner that might exhibit at a local craft fair or flea market. Their business isn’t their full-time job; instead, it’s more of a side project.

Because this is their primary target audience, Square’s POS software lacks many of the features that a full-time business is going to expect from their system. It’s important to note that for many businesses, Square’s flat rate credit card processing is also going to result in higher processing fees than they would get from a merchant services provider that uses interchange-plus pricing.

Based on customer reviews, it’s also fairly common for Square to freeze merchant accounts or withhold funds due to activity that appears fraudulent, even when it often isn’t. A common example is when a merchant’s business starts to take off, their sales volume will ramp up. To Square, this looks like fraud and the merchant’s account ends up frozen. The merchant is basically being penalized for being successful. Not only will they find themselves unable to accept transactions until the issue is resolved, but they won’t have access to the funds that they’ve worked so hard to earn.

Toast POS
Toast is a popular POS system in the hospitality industry. It’s particularly popular with full-service restaurants and bars, as well as franchises. This popularity is in large part due to Toast’s many features that are specific to the needs of the hospitality industry, particularly larger businesses and restaurant groups.

A few examples of these features include:

  • Robust tableside ordering capabilities
  • Built-in menu management
  • Online ordering capabilities
  • Payroll and employee scheduling tools

There are two major downsides with Toast. First of all, it’s a hospitality-only POS system. If you’re running a retail business, it won’t work for you. Even if you’re primarily a hospitality business but also offer a retail component, you may still have difficulties with their tools.

Second, Toast is a very expensive POS system. With a monthly price that starts at many POS systems’ mid-tier pricing plans, Toast’s can get very expensive quickly. While the payroll and employee scheduling tools I mentioned are nice to have, each incurs an additional monthly add-on fee. Additionally, Toast charges a $499 installation fee, which is a significant hit to pay before you even start using the system.

SEE ALSO: What to Look for in a Restaurant POS System

We may be a little bit biased, but we believe that of any QuickBooks compatible POS system, ShopKeep offers the most bang for your buck for the widest variety of merchants. With a wide-ranging feature-set and affordable price, ShopKeep can help small business owners across the retail, quick-service, and full-service restaurant and bar industries grow their businesses and run them more efficiently.

Perhaps most interestingly, unlike some of the other POS providers mentioned, ShopKeep has no issues serving businesses that straddle multiple industries. For example, a plant shop that also sells coffee will have no issues finding success with ShopKeep. Additionally, a restaurant that also sells shirts and other merchandise will find ShopKeep an excellent fit as well.

Outside of this ability to serve hybrid businesses, ShopKeep offers a variety key features that merchants love:

  • Fast, Easy Transactions – Your waitstaff and cashiers can speed through their day-to-day with ShopKeep’s easy to use register.
  • Advanced Reporting – Understand all areas of your business from sales volume to employee performance at a glance.
  • Seamless Inventory Management – Stay on top of your stock levels automatically and never run out of your popular items.
  • Built-In Marketing Tools – Reach new customers will local SEO tools and keep them coming back with loyalty and email marketing programs.
  • Affordable Payment Processing – Save money with the lowest integrated payment processing rate guaranteed.
  • Popular Integrations – Connect ShopKeep with popular tools like QuickBooks and MailChimp to grow your business and run it efficiently.

While there are many point of sale systems that integrate with QuickBooks, many of them only make sense for very specific businesses in very specific situations. There’s a reason that over 25,000 merchants choose to work with ShopKeep as their POS. We offer the best combination of affordability and capability for the widest type of businesses. If you’d like to learn more about ShopKeep, please visit our website to get started.

Ryan Gilmore is a writer at ShopKeep.

Ryan Gilmore

As Inbound Content Marketing Manager at ShopKeep, a leading iPad Point of Sale System, Ryan Gilmore uses his extensive experience in small business technology to create educational content that helps merchants run and grow their businesses more effectively.