If you’re like me, you hate data entry. If I can avoid it I will. I make lots of mistakes and its time consuming. One of the most time consuming tasks for a lot of businesses is entering their Invoices and Purchase Orders into their accounting software or Excel.
I’ve used Quickbooks and Excel for quite some time now and could never understand why with everyone in the business world creating their documents with some kind of software (even the same software in a lot of cases!) why the world can’t agree on one format to exchange data. There has been many attempts but they all seem to fail because something new/better comes along before the old standard gets adopted.
Early versions of Quickbooks and Simply accounting created a interchange format (IIF for Quickbooks and TXT for Simply). This seemed like it would solve the problem but neither were fully supported, nor did they gain widespread appeal due to the complexity of creating the formats.
To solve this problem a handful of companies came up with some utilities that would allow you to enter or cut & paste your information into an Excel worksheet and then it would create the correct Quickbooks/Simply format for you. These work reasonably good but the problem is still double entry which doesn’t really solve the problem entirely.
Recently, a friend showed me a service that shows promise as being a true solution to this problem. It’s called EDI Link Connect for Quickbooks. They also have a version for Simply,Excel and possibly other software. Thinking this would finally solve my hatred for data entry I figured I’d give it a try.
I was impressed right off the bat that the software is not software at all but rather a service. I didn’t have to install anything. I only had to sign up and then wait for my account to be created.
Once I received the email letting me know I was ready to start I gave it a try, and here is what I found.
To use EDI Link connect, you simply send an email to the EDI Link Robot (known as Eddie…clever), To this email you attach either the PDF or Excel files that you would like to import into QuickBooks,Simply Accounting or Excel.
Within 5 minutes, I received an email back from the “Eddie” robot with my QuickBooks IIF file attached. It also attached my original PDF invoice which makes sense because the service can also be used by customers emailing a special email address they setup for you so you can have all of your documents come in automatically delivered as the original PDF plus the IIF/TXT/Excel file. If you want a PDF file turned into an Excel file, then that’s even easier because it will email you back a working Excel file.
I immediately fired up Quickbooks and tried the IIF file on a sample company that I have for testing and sure enough, the invoice was posted! I simply choose File|Tasks, import IIF file. I was quite impressed to say the least. So now that I saw this working I thought I’d find out how this little piece of magic worked.
I talked to EC Dynamics, the creator of EDI Link and first asked them if they had little elves (named Eddie) quickly entering my data into a program and emailing me back. He said he gets that question a lot and assured me that no Eddie was a very smart robot. As it turns out, they create a “template” for each type of PDF you submit. Once Eddie learns the PDF, then you can submit that PDF over and over. As well, I’m told the Eddie understands Excel documents too for conversion to IFF/TXT.
So there you have it, with this tool you can finally turn all of those PDF and Excel documents into something that can be imported into Quickbooks, Simply Accounting or Excel with no re-keying.
I also learned that EC Dynamics also has a “pro” version that gives you a control panel allowing you to manage the Invoices & Purchase Orders coming in and it pushes them directly into Quickbooks or Simply. They say that it has more flexibility because Quickbooks & Simply limits what you can post and they are not going to change the IIF format.
You can check out more info at this link:
Thats all for now. Check back soon for more e-commerce tips.