fmAccounting Link (MYOB AccountRight Edition) Updated for Purchase Orders

An updated version of fmAccounting Link (MYOB AccountRight Edition) has just been released which now includes examples for working with Purchase Orders, which has been a popular request from our customers. fmAccounting Link shows you how you can use FileMaker to:

  • download Purchase Orders from MYOB to FileMaker (all Purchase Orders or filtered by Purchase Order Date)
  • create Purchase Orders in FileMaker and upload them to MYOB
  • update a single Purchase Order from MYOB

This is a free update for all existing customers. You can view the full release notes on our version history page.

Our next update will include examples for working with Bills in MYOB and FileMaker. We’re also planning an update that will be ‘plug-in free’ for FileMaker v16 users, allowing you to use the fmAccounting Link (MYOB AccountRight Edition) solution natively under FileMaker Pro,  FileMaker Go and FileMaker WebDirect without having to install and manage plug-ins. The FileMaker v16 platform introduced some new cURL options and JSON functions which will allow us to perform the same functions as the plug-in provides when using FileMaker v16 – earlier versions of FileMaker will still need to use the plug-in functions.

If there are other features you would like to see in the core fmAccounting Link (MYOB AccountRight Edition) file please get in touch and let us know.

fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) and Public Application Integrations

When we released fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) back in 2014 we developed it to be used with a Xero API Private Application – this made the most sense at the time and still does for most customers who are only concerned with connecting their custom FileMaker business app with their own Xero organisation. Private Applications are just one of the three different types of API Applications available for the Xero API:

  • Private – connected to a single Xero organisation, doesn’t require user authentication
  • Public -connect to multiple Xero organisations, requires user authentication, 30 minute access limit
  • Partner– connect to multiple Xero organisations, requires user authentication, long term access

One of the main advantages of a Private Application is that your FileMaker users do not need to have a Xero account, so you can allow them to perform specific functions (e.g. uploading Contacts, Invoices, Payments etc from FileMaker to Xero) without having to get them access to Xero itself – the Private Application handles the authentication with Xero for them. This means you don’t have to worry about giving access to confidential business information contained in Xero to all FileMaker users.

There may be times however when you wish to only allow Xero users to upload data from FileMaker to Xero – this would require the use of a Public or Partner application. Databuzz recently took part in Xero’s XD HAX Developer Challenge 2017 and we decided to use this opportunity to explore how a Public Application integration could work. We were focussed on integrating with FileMaker Cloud which runs on AWS and wanted to have a native solution that ran on all the FileMaker clients that FileMaker Cloud supports, including FileMaker Pro for Mac/Windows, FileMaker Go for the iPhone and iPad, and FileMaker WebDirect.

As FileMaker doesn’t have the native functions to perform the OAuth 1.0a authentication that a Private Application type uses we have used a FileMaker plug-in to handle the authentication with the Xero API. FileMaker plug-ins are only supported by the Mac/Windows FileMaker Pro client applications which means they cannot be used by FileMaker Go for iOS (though you can use the iOS SDK to create an iOS application based on FileMaker Go that can include the plug-in).

Using a Public Application type integration means we could remove the dependency on the plug-in as Public applications use the standard 3 legged OAuth process where a user can authorise your application – in Xero’s case this is for 30 minutes, at which point the access token expires.

For our XD HAX Developer Challenge entry we changed the authentication method to use a Public Application integration and took advantage of a number of native FileMaker features, such as using a Card Window to handle the Xero authentication window, and the new cURL and JSON functions to handle the encoding/decoding of data and uploading/download with the Xero API. Here’s a brief video demonstrating how a Public Application integration could work with our fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) solution:

We would love to hear if this is something that you would be interested in seeing in a future version of fmAccounting Link. We love that we can provide a native solution that runs on all FileMaker clients without a plug-in but are not sure whether customers would prefer the long term access that a private application provides and the benefit of not having to use a Xero login to authenticate.

Xero User Magazine Custom Integration Article

Issue 12 of the Xero User Magazine was released today in time for Xerocon London where Xero announced they have now surpassed a quarter of a million subscribers in the UK, contributing to the more one million subscribers in over 180 countries.

We’re pleased to report that this latest issue of XU Magazine includes an article by Andrew Duncan of Databuzz on ‘The Benefits of a Custom Xero Integration’. You can find the article on page 110 of Issue 12 – you can subscribe for free to the print and digital editions here. The article discusses the benefits of a custom Xero integration, particularly when there is no add-on in the Xero App Marketplace that meets you needs. We also mention examples of integrations we’ve done for customers over the past four years that have helped them eliminate double data entry, for both FileMaker solutions and other applications.

Earlier this year we were approached by an Australian Government agency that was using three different software applications to handle online sales, point of sale merchandise and ticket sales and needed to get the consolidated data into their internal financial accounting software. Xero was used to reconcile all financial data which was uploaded by Vend each night and we developed a custom web application which ran every 24 hours to download the Invoices from Xero and generate a custom XML file which was sent to the internal financial application. This has been running smoothly for many months now and the customer is very happy about the time saved from not having to do any manual re-entry of financial data.

If you would like to discuss a custom integration with Xero please get in touch.

 

fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) Update August 2017

We’ve been busy over the last couple of months working on some updates to fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) that fill in some missing gaps with the examples that we include in the fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) file. For example we’ve always had examples for downloading:

  • Chart of Accounts
  • Tax Rates

from Xero into FileMaker, but some customers have asked for the ability to create and update these from FileMaker to Xero. We’re pleased to report that our latest update – v1.932 – now includes examples for creating Account Codes and Tax Rates in FileMaker and pushing these to Xero. You would typically apply some kind of access privileges around these features so that only authorised accounts users can perform these functions, but the functionality for this is now included in the core fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) files.

We’ve also updated the Bank Transactions endpoint examples to support creating and updating Bank Transactions (spend or receive money) in FileMaker and pushing these to Xero. This update also includes some minor bug fixes – you can view all the changes in the version history notes.

Last month Andrew Duncan from Databuzz attended #XD17 – the Xero Developer Roadshow – in Melbourne, Australia. There were some great presentations on upcoming features for the Xero API as well as some cool demos showcasing some cutting edge Amazon Web Services integrations with Xero. Xero have also announced that Webhooks are coming to the Xero API, starting with the Contacts endpoint first then followed by Invoices (the two most popular Xero API endpoints). Databuzz have been invited into the closed beta of this and we’ve started work on a PHP solution using the FileMaker PHP API that will accept the incoming Xero Webhooks notifications and trigger an update in the fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) file. We will post an article with further details about this when Webhooks becomes publicly available.

Xero have also just announced support for JSON when uploading data to Xero via the API – they have previously only supported JSON for downloads (GET requests). Now that FileMaker Pro v16 supports JSON natively this will allow us to add native support for uploading and downloading data between FileMaker and the Xero API.

We also get a number of questions about Invoice Numbers when pushing Invoices from FileMaker to Xero, so we’ve updated our list of Frequently Asked Questions with some details about the options you can use when pushing an Invoice from FileMaker to Xero and whether to allow Xero to generate an Invoice Number to have FileMaker push the Invoice Number across to Xero to use. We’ve also updated our FAQ to include a note about FileMaker Cloud support.

The Benefits of eCommerce Integration with your FileMaker CRM

 

In Australia and other parts of the world this week marks the start of a new financial year, which is a great time to review your business processes and eliminate any inefficiencies that is costing your business time and money.

One of the most common businesses processes we see in many small- medium sized businesses is the double data entry of orders from online eCommerce systems into the FileMaker custom business application (and sometimes once more into the Accounting software). We work with many small businesses that have an online presence, selling products and services using online platforms such as WooCommerce and Shopify. Many of them are unaware they it is possible to automate the exchange of data between eCommerce systems and FileMaker using APIs (an API is an Application Programming Interface that a company makes available to other software developers to allow you to get your software – FileMaker in this case – talking to their software).

If you’re using FileMaker as your CRM (Customer relationship management) application to track your customers, sales, invoices and payments there are a number of advantages of integrating it with your eCommerce software, including:

  • no more double data entry in FileMaker. The order and customer details have already been entered by the customer in the eCommerce system – with the click of a button the order details can be downloaded to your FileMaker custom application in a few seconds
  • no more double data entry of Product details in your eCommerce system. If you’re using your FileMaker application as the central repository of product data you can push/upload data from FileMaker to your eCommerce system (including images) at the click of a button
  • less errors between your eCommerce system and your FileMaker custom application. Being able to download and upload data between your eCommerce system and your FileMaker application means there is less likelihood of data entry errors between the 2 systems
  • free up staff time for more productive work. Rather than having staff spend countless hours each week doing double data entry they can be freed up for more productive (and enjoyable) work, such as following up on sales leads, customer service, marketing etc.
  • it also allows staff to upload and download data to the eCommerce software without giving them direct access to the eCommerce software

We’ve helped customers save between 1-2 hours of time each day for staff that were previously manually entering online orders into their FileMaker application. Now they download all the orders in the morning for the previous day and the whole process takes under a minute. We’ve even helped some customers use the power of Webhooks to have new orders pushed directly to their FileMaker Server so they don’t have to download any new orders – they instantly appear seconds after being placed online.

If you would like to discuss integrating your FileMaker solution with your eCommerce system please contact us for a free initial consultation to discuss your requirements. We also have a number of products which allow you or your in-house/external FileMaker developer to do the integration yourself with the WooCommerce and Shopify eCommerce platforms:

PayPal launches PayPal Business in a Box (United States)

As part of National Small Business Week in the United States PayPal today announced PayPal Business in a Box aimed at U.S. small business owners who would like to take the leap into online sales. You might be just starting a business for the first time but you don’t have web design capabilities to develop an online store or know how to set up online or point of sale payment methods, or an established offline business looking to move online.

PayPal have partnered with two of our favourite companies WooCommerce and Xero to deliver a simple, integrated solution that gives you the tools you need to start an online business. If you’re using the FileMaker platform to run your existing business you can also take advantage of our solutions that integrate WooCommerce and Xero with FileMaker:

FileMaker, WooCommerce and Xero make a great combination when it comes to running your business – we should know as we’ve been using these platforms for many years to manage our business, online store and accounting needs. We’ll be publishing a new article shortly about the benefits of integrating FileMaker with WooCommerce and Xero and how you can save time and money and avoid unnecessary double data entry.

fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) – Tracking Categories Updates

If you’ve been using Xero for a while you’re probably familiar with their use of tracking categories to categorise transactions such as Invoices and Bills to suit your business needs and allow you to generate reports by tracking category. For example you might setup tracking categories for different areas of your business (e.g. departments, cost centres, or locations) so you can track their performance over time.

A typical Xero tracking category might be named Sales Regions and have the following tracking category options:

  • North
  • South
  • Eastside
  • West Coast

 

There are some limitations to tracking categories in Xero – a Xero organisation can have a maximum of two ACTIVE tracking categories and four tracking categories in total (ACTIVE and ARCHIVED). You can enter up to 100 category options for each category.

We’ve always had some basic support for tracking categories in the fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) solution – you could download all your tracking categories from Xero at the click of a button and also add them to Invoices and Bills when uploading to Xero. Over the past 12 months we’ve had more and more customers request additional support for tracking categories, including the ability to manage tracking categories completely in FileMaker.

We’ve just released an update to the fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) solution that includes full support for Xero Tracking Categories. You can now enter two tracking categories for the following items:

  • Invoices
  • Bills
  • Purchase Orders
  • Overpayments
  • Prepayments
  • Receipts

Both tracking categories are also downloaded from Xero for each of the above items. We’ve also added the ability to do the following from the fmAccounting Link file:

  • create a new tracking category and upload it to Xero (as well as update existing ones, e.g. change the name or status)
  • add new tracking category options and upload them to Xero
  • delete a tracking category from both FileMaker and Xero
  • delete a tracking category option from both FileMaker and Xero
  • download an individual tracking category, including all tracking category options

We currently support a single tracking category in our Timesheets module – we’re working on a few changes to Timesheets and tracking categories which will be included in the next update to fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition). Timesheets uses the Payroll API and you enable Timesheet tracking categories separately to the general tracking categories, but we expect them to work in a similar way to Invoices, Bills etc.

Xero Surpasses One Million Subscribers

Xero today announced that it has recently surpassed the one million subscriber mark on its global accounting platform, doubling subscriber numbers in less than two years. We’ve been closely following the growth of Xero over the past five years and knew it was only a matter of time before they hit the magic million mark, becoming the first cloud accounting platform to achieve this milestone.

When you consider they had only 50,000 subscribers just five years ago the growth rate has been phenomenal – in April 2015 they had 475,000 subscribers and in March 2016 that had increased to 717,000. Xero has added almost 300,000 subscribers in the past year alone.

As a Xero customer, Xero Approved Developers and developers of the fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) add-on we’re extremely pleased to see the rapid growth of Xero around the world. We’re getting more enquiries each month from the North American market and it appears Xero is starting to gain some attention and market share in that tough market.

Here’s some other numbers about Xero that demonstrate the size of the size of the Xero ecosystem globally:

  • in the last 12 months Xero has processed more than $1.2 trillion of global economic activity
  • the Xero API receives more than 10 million calls per day
  • there are over 35,000 developers in the Xero ecosystem
  • there are over 100,000 business advisors – accountants and bookkeepers – empowering small businesses as they join the cloud accounting revolution

Every day our fmAccounting Link customers around the world are uploading Contacts, Invoices, Payments, Purchase Orders, Bills and more from their FileMaker solutions to their Xero accounting software, removing the burden of double data entry and saving them tens of hours each week in manual processing. If you have any questions about integrating Xero with your existing FileMaker solution please get in touch or visit the fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) page for more details.

Downloading the Xero/MYOB Invoice PDF

Whether you’re using Xero or MYOB AccountRight for your business accounting software there are times when you would prefer to send your customer the Invoice that Xero and MYOB generate natively. For example if you have added an online Payment option to your Xero Organisation you might prefer to send the customer the Xero generated Invoice with the “View and pay online now” link in the PDF for customers to click and pay online with a credit card. Similarly if you’re using MYOB AccountRight you might to send your customer the invoice using one of the MYOB M-Powered layout forms.

For our fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) solution we’ve already given users the ability to:

  • get the Online URL for an Invoice and include that in an email etc that they send to clients so they can choose the “View and pay online now” option
  • download the Xero Invoice PDF into a FileMaker container field and then save that to the desktop etc or include that in an email to the customer in place of a FileMaker layout based Invoice

We’ve been working on creating a similar feature for our fmAccounting Link (MYOB AccountRight Edition) solution and it will be included in the next update. Like the Xero solution it will allow users to click a button to download the MYOB PDF invoice into a FileMaker container field and then save that to the desktop or include that in an email to the customer. We currently have the ability to download all the Form Templates setup in your MYOB Company File:

and then specify the Printed Form for each Customer in the fmAccounting Link (MYOB AccountRight Edition) file:

 

This is then used as the default when you request the MYOB Invoice PDF, however you can specify a different form template to be used by passing a parameter with the request for the Invoice PDF. Here’s a quick video that demonstrates creating an Invoice and then requesting the PDF from MYOB:

fmAccounting Link (MYOB AccountRight Edition) Now Supports Jobs

We’ve just finished an update to fmAccounting Link (MYOB AccountRight Edition) which now includes examples for working with Jobs, one of the most requested features from our customers. fmAccounting Link shows you how you can use FileMaker to:

  • download Jobs from MYOB to FileMaker (all Jobs or filtered by Start Date)
  • create Jobs in FileMaker and upload them to MYOB
  • update a single Job from MYOB
  • enter a Job against an Invoice Line Item or a General Journal Item
  • download a Job Budget from MYOB to FileMaker and send an updated version back to MYOB

This is a free update for all existing customers. You can view the full release notes on our version history page. If there are other features you would like to see in the core fmAccounting Link (MYOB AccountRight Edition) file please get in touch and let us know.