Document Management & Workflow Alternative to SmartVault?
If you are working virtually with your clients, you may have heard about the powerful and easy-to-use program called SmartVault. The following is a question sent in by a fellow freelance virtual bookkeeper regarding this type of online SaaS (software as a service) program and how you can use it to maximize your efficiency and profitability…
I live in Canada and most of my clients use Simply Accounting.
You mentioned SmartVault, but that seems to be compatible with QuickBooks only.
Do you know of a similar online SaaS program to SmartVault that works for Simply Accounting? Do you have any recommendations based on some
technologies you have heard of?
This is an important question!
Yes, SmartVault integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks (and actually got its start as a QuickBooks add-on program), but we must first consider the different functions this program can provide virtual bookkeepers, and whether those functions can be emulated by “cobbling” together one or more other online solutions for similar functionality.
What function(s) do you need that SmartVault does for QuickBooks that can work well with Simply Accounting (or other bookkeeping software popular with your clients) ?
If it is the document management feature of attaching electronic source documents to each transaction, I am not aware of a product that does that for other accounting software programs. But that’s because I am not familiar with how Simply Accounting (or Peachtree or MYOB, etc.) works specifically, since I’m a QuickBooks specialist. But you might want to check with Sage directly (or the maker of whichever software program you are using) to find out if there is an add-on or built-in feature that works similarly for their program for the paper trail / documentation function.
Doing a quick search online, I did find a program called QCDocs which says that it does document management and integrates with both QuickBooks and Simply Accounting, though I’m not sure how much integration is involved. But you might want to look into it if that’s your focus.
On the other hand, if you are looking for a program where you can streamline the functionality of how your clients’ source documents are converted to digital format and sent to you via a convenient and secure inbox along with storage folders and/or backups, there are other SaaS programs that can do much of what SmartVault does. But from a workflow perspective, I have not found another program that does it so seamlessly. If this is your priority, I would still recommend SmartVault over other programs, since this functionality can be completely independent of QuickBooks.
The workflow capabilities and ease of use for both you and your clients is actually what I see as most valuable with SmartVault, far superior to any other programs I’ve found so far.
That being said, if you would like alternatives to consider, DropBox and SugarSync are two document sharing / storage solutions that come to mind. There is also Shoeboxed, which may help your clients go paperless more easily and help you get a jump on the entry of financial information, whether you are using QuickBooks or another program. You just need to design a workflow that will be efficient and convenient for both you and your client to “drop off” information easily and securely.
Technology is moving quickly and we will likely see more solutions appear in the near future. I also see the emergence of SaaS bookkeeping programs (especially suited for small service-based clients) such as Xero and FreshBooks, which help to streamline document management and workflow too.
But as of now, I don’t know of another product that provides the same combination of functions as SmartVault for non-QuickBooks accounting software. However, with a little research and innovation, you can probably find a combination of solutions that will work the way you do, for a reasonable cost.
Part of our role as virtual bookkeepers truly is as a technology consultant! Therefore, we need to continue to keep our eyes open to the new and emerging online software that will help us work efficiently and profitably. This in turn makes us invaluable to our clients. That is a win-win situation worth pursuing.
As online technology charges forward, our services will become much like putting Lego blocks together to build the perfect (customized) bookkeeping system for each client, using online solutions.
We are truly on the front lines here.
If you are new to virtual bookkeeping and would like to learn more about how you can take your bookkeeping services online, OR you would like a complete step-by-step training for how you can use SmartVault with or without QuickBooks as an efficient, paperless workflow solution, I have created a complete training program, which includes a full-length SmartVault tutorial included as a free bonus.
Get the details here when you’re ready to step up to the next level with your freelance bookkeeping business:
What online tools have you found helpful to your workflow when working virtually with your clients?
Please leave your comment below!