payment processing solutions in North America

What does your mind, QuickBooks and payments have to do with each other? If you run a business and use an accounting tool, then it’s more than you think.

The mind is sophisticated, yet predictable.  Marketers across different industries put in a lot of resources to establish brand recognition through brand association.  The goal in business marketing is to do the thinking for the consumer, so they don’t ask questions; and to develop mental connections between a concept and a brand.  Let’s see how easy it is to do:
     a) Spell the word “silk”, now say “silk” five times. Now answer, what do cows drink?
     b) What’s 2 + 2? What about 2 x 3? And 4 + 2?  Now, name a vegetable.
Jot your answers down, we will get back to them at the end. 

When you think of accounting software, what brand comes to mind? If you answered, QuickBooks, you are among the masses.  Developed and marketed by Intuit, QuickBooks (QB), a financial management and accounting tool, makes it to the top of every list from “best business accounting software” to “accounting software compared.”

#1 Accounting Software

With 80% market share, and millions of users, QuickBooks dominates the accounting software market, but what makes it so popular with accountants and small businesses?

Early entry into the market, successful marketing campaigns, and QuickBooks long track-record, are behind the strong brand association.  Brand messaging that revolves around the software being “easy to use” and “everything a small business would need to manage accounting,” is the connection accountants and business owners make when they are looking to automate bookkeeping with an easy-to-use system.  When choosing software, the answer is already written out for them and it translates to automate bookkeeping with QuickBooks.

But to hold onto the significant market share, QuickBooks needs to stand behind its product, and it does so through the extensive features it offers to manage a company’s financials. Some of those features include:

-Creating and sending invoices
-Inventory management
-Expense tracking
-Employee time tracking
-Financial statements (profit & loss, balance sheet, statement of cash flow)
-Accepting payments

Processing payments in QuickBooks

While QuickBooks is great to manage business accounting, there won’t be much to manage without sales.  Increasing sales is a focal point of every business’s goal, and being able to accept a variety of payment methods from customers is a key factor to processing a sale. In order to capture credit card payments, businesses will have one of two setups. In the first setup, a business using QuickBooks will have a separate merchant account to process transactions.  The workflow will look something like this:

Step 1 – enter payment into virtual terminal (online payment gateway)
Step 2 – enter the same payment information into QuickBooks
Step 3 – realize you made errors during entry and spend time correcting them

In the second setup, businesses using QuickBooks learn that they can tack on and accept payments in QuickBooks by adding on QuickBooks Payments (formerly known as Intuit Merchant Services).  Having payments integrated directly into QuickBooks for automatic reconciliation seems enticing, or does it? Remember QuickBooks’ winning marketing strategy, they make you think “easy setup,” and you say where do I sign up? As a business already using QuickBooks, the only thing that is easy is being tied into QuickBooks Payments; and having everything as one comes at a premium cost.  QuickBooks payment processing fees are among the highest in the industry, ranging anywhere from 2.9% to 3.5% + $0.30 per item on keyed credit card transactions.  For a business using QuickBooks Payments, the workflow will look something like this:

Step 1 – enter payment into QuickBooks
Step 2 – pay high credit card processing fees
Step 3 – realize there is a better way, and contact Cartis Payments

That which we call a small business by any other name would still need to manage costs

How is any of this relevant to setting up and running a successful business?
Thought control influences consumer and business choices, and sometimes the connections we make are to our disadvantage.  The things that connect together because of familiarity or because they seem easy aren’t always the ones that should connect or that we should be implementing.

QuickBooks, while working with all kinds of business and non-profits, tout that they are great for small businesses.  But what is considered a small business? The definition is extensive. In the US, the Small Business Administration (SBA) defines it is a business with revenue ranging from $1 million to over $40 million, and employment size ranging from 100 to 1500+ employees. In Canada, often just called an SME (small and medium-sized enterprises), a small business can have as little as one paid employee.  And finally, Gartner’s definition breaks down small and midsize business (SMB), and describes a small business as one with $50 million or less in annual revenue.

So, for small businesses just setting up and starting out, adding QuickBooks Payments for an all-in-one, full circle accounting and payment solution will meet their expectations.  The problem begins when sales volume is substantial. CPAs might love QuickBooks for accounting, but not so much for the high credit card processing fees from QuickBooks merchant services that they will lose on every sale.

While a logical step for growing companies would be to move to an ERP with built in accounting management, and integrated payments, not every company is ready to take on the implementation of an ERP system. That leaves many companies still bound to QuickBooks, and for those companies every dollar saved on credit card processing fees affects profitability and their bottom line. The good news, is there is a third setup option.

Alternative to processing credit cards using QuickBooks Payments

Until now, there were two options: a) have a separate merchant account where businesses would either need to constantly import and export payment data or do manual keyed entry in both places; or b) process payments using QB Payments at a steep cost.  With many accounting solutions entering the market over the last two decades, QuickBooks had to compete for its market share; and to do so opened up to 3rd party payment integrations. These integrations give businesses the opportunity to use QuickBooks for all their financial and accounting needs, and enjoy payment processing built into QuickBooks at a reasonable cost.

A Cartis Payments merchant account offers three connection paths (Chargezoom, Secure QB plugin, and Verosa) through various payment gateways to setup QuickBooks debit and credit card payment acceptance. This means whether you need to set your business up to accept payments with QuickBooks, or even if you already use one of these connections, letting us handle the payment processing is simple.

QuickBooks offers both desktop-based and cloud-based management software:

-QuickBooks Financial (Enterprise, Pro, Premier, Accountant, Warehouse, Contractor)
-QuickBooks Online
-QuickBooks POS

For businesses that accept in person payments where the card is present, the Verosa connection offers a QBPOS EMV integration solution through EMV PIN Pads.  Depending on the business region and QuickBooks version, different connection paths will be more suitable than others.  Some of these connections also work with other accounting software like Sage 50, and all of them offer the core highlights a business is looking for in an accounting integration, as well as various add-on features:

-Level 1 PCI compliance
-Credit and ACH /Echeck processing
-Live posting of transactions to QuickBooks
-Pre-authorizations, sales, refunds, voids that sync with QuickBooks
-Recurring billing
-Email invoicing

Why payments consulting is necessary

Take a look at the two answers you jotted down at the beginning.  If you answered milk and carrot, with a little help of suggestibility, your mind made a quick decision of what was familiar and most obvious.  And sometimes the answer is not the right one or a good one for you. In this manner, businesses that don’t have time to review, think, and get advice, may not realize there are alternatives.

Businesses seek out specialized solutions for a reason, like accounting management software. But when those solutions start to upsell services that they aren’t focused on (i.e., credit card processing) they miss the point.  Let QuickBooks specialize in financial software to streaming accounting and AR reconciliation, and let Cartis Payments understand your business payment needs, and come up with a strategy that lets you use the systems you need without sacrificing on time, and costs. And as a bonus, we will let you in on a little secret – cows drink water!