Should I Use The QuickBooks Web Connector or SDK?

by Martin Pellicore
Should I Use The QuickBooks Web Connector or SDK?

What is the right way to integrate with QuickBooks Desktop? The Web Connector and SDK are both great options, and Pell Software can help you choose which is right for you!…

QuickBooks Enterprise is one of the most popular accounting platforms available for small and medium sized businesses. However, by nature of the fact that is is a desktop-based software, it can be difficult to integrate with your third-party systems. Luckily, there are two main options you have available when looking to integrate with QuickBooks Desktop/Enterprise…

The QuickBooks Web Connector

The QuickBooks Web Connector is a Windows desktop application that securely exposes your QuickBooks Desktop data to third-party applications via a SOAP-based API. The software is free to download and comes along with many support articles, how-to’s and guides provided by Intuit themselves.

The fact that this software is distributed and maintained by Intuit means you can rely on it to be supported for the long run. Although, because it also requires a custom SOAP endpoint, tailored specifically to the Web Connector, it also requires a third-party web service to be developed in order to extract the data from QuickBooks.

Think of the Web Connector as a window into your QuickBooks data. Intuit provides the window for you, but you still need to build the “person” (or other entity) to actually look into the window, read the data, and do something meaningful with it!

Here is a quick tutorial, including more information, on the QuickBooks web connector.

The QuickBooks Desktop SDK

The QuickBooks Desktop SDK is a compiled library of code that runs on Windows and allows your software development partner to interface directly with the QuickBooks Desktop data. Just like the Web Connector, the SDK is free to download and actively maintained by Intuit. Therefore, you can rely on this approach to be well serviced and come along with a fair amount of documentation and support directly from Intuit.

Just like the Web Connector, the SDK will require some custom programming work to be done in order to leverage the connectivity into QuickBooks. However, in this case you will want to build a custom Windows desktop application that communicates directly with QuickBooks, rather than over the network via SOAP API requests.

If the Web Connector is a window, the SDK is a door. Using the SDK allows your software development partner to have greater, behind-the-scenes, access to the data within your QuickBooks Desktop database. Just as with the Web Connector, your software developer will still need to build some level of custom program to leverage the SDK, although using the SDK may ultimately give you better control of your data and allow you to build a more secure and robust interface as it will run directly on your QuickBooks server rather than the cloud.

Here is a quick tutorial, including more information, on the QuickBooks Desktop SDK.

QuickBooks Web Connector vs SDK: Which one is right for me?

Both the QuickBooks Web Connector and Desktop SDK allow you to expose and integrate your QuickBooks Desktop data with third-party systems, databases and applications. Each is a powerful tool in its own right, however, you must choose wisely else risk cornering yourself into limited functionality and support. As we have seen, both also require some sort of custom programming work to fully leverage. So, how do you know which is right for you?…

For starters, if you host QuickBooks Desktop with a third-party service/vendor you will want to start by asking them if they support the installation of third-party applications on their server. If they don’t, then you will need to use the Web Connector (assuming they allow the installation of Intuit’s Web Connector application) since using the SDK will require the installation of a custom third-party Windows application on your QuickBooks server.

Next, you should consider complexity and the nature of the workflow you are attempting to fulfil. If the workflow is complex or requires user-input, such as the ability for a manager to review timesheet data before importing it into QuickBooks Desktop, then you may want to lean towards the SDK. The SDK will give you and your software development partner better control over the data types and format that you are entering into QuickBooks. It will also allow your software partner to build custom user interfaces, forms, controls and settings directly into their sync application.

At Pell Software, we have developed hundreds of custom QuickBooks sync solutions with QuickBooks Desktop (also known as QuickBooks Enterprise) using both the Web Connector and the SDK. We can guide you through the process of streamlining your workflows and integrating your data. We have built desktop based solutions, web based solutions, cloud solutions and more! We are capable of syncing your QuickBooks Enterprise data with all of your third-party systems to ensure your business is running as efficiently as possible.

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