Learning QuickBooks® Online | Focus on Bookkeeping Workflow

LedgerDocs Workflow - How It Works

by L. Kenway BComm CPB

QBO - LedgerDocs Workflow IntegrationLedgerDocs workflow integrates with QuickBooks Online

Today I'm going to review the LedgerDocs workflow and how it integrates with QBO.

You know all those source documents (your business paperwork and receipts, bills, etc.) you receive electronically? Did you know you need to keep them? LedgerDocs helps you take the pain away by letting you automate a large portion of the data collection ... so you can get on doing the stuff you love.

I've been attending webinars and trying out various document management and QuickBooks Online (QBO) data integration / accounting apps these past twelve months (2016). After all, paperless productivity and automated data entry are all the rage. Technological possibilities that were only available / affordable to large companies are now an option for small businesses.

QuickBooks Online is terrific for service-based businesses. One of QBO's features is it integrates with apps. But how do you weed through all the accounting apps out there to ensure they actually increase your productivity and don't eat away your bottom line?

I created very simple criteria for evaluating an app to reduce my temptation to go “app happy”. My criteria are:

  1. Is it Canadian based? Due to Cananda’s complex and specific sales tax and payroll requirements, I prefer an app developed in Canada for Canadian business owners, bookkeepers and accountants.
  2. How has it been tested prior to being released? I want to know it has been tested and is reliable. I don’t want to be the beta tester. Do other bookkeepers like this app? Why?
  3. What level of technical skill do I (or my clients) need to install it, learn it and troubleshoot it when things go wrong … because at some point they always go wrong? If I will need to spend copious amounts of time learning the app or troubleshooting the app, I’d rather just enter the data myself. Never forget that sometimes the “old fashioned” way is still efficient.
  4. Will the app actually make me more or less productive? Will my clients be able to use the app easily?
  5. Is it affordable? Can I subscribe to it in Canadian dollars? I like it when a developer recognizes Canada separately from the United States and prices the product in Canadian dollars. With the exchange rate hovering in $1.30 and up range, this often becomes the difference whether the software as a service (SaaS) subscription is affordable … or not.

With this in mind, let's take a look today at the QBO - LedgerDocs workflow.

LedgerDocs Workflow Evaluation

LedgerDocs is a document collection and management software app created by a Vancouver accounting firm. I LIKE THIS APP for its simplicity and how closely it matches a manual workflow process. 

  • Right away, it meets my first criteria in that it was developed in Canada for Canadian bookkeepers and accounting.
  • Secondly, this Vancouver accounting firm uses the system in their own firm so it lets you use a CPA firm’s workflow that has been tested and works.  Their staff are the beta testers, not me.
  • If you are not a tech person or can’t stand spending time tinkering with the technological aspects of an app (as in … I could have manually entered the darn transaction 3 times already!), I like the simplicity of this app so it meets my criteria of appealing to my level of technological knowledge. Other apps have more tech in them and you spend time fighting with it ... or it is down ... or ...
  • As this app pretty much mimics my own workflow I created before working virtually was popular, I don't think it will make me less productive. I will have to give up some control of my source documents and the file naming conventions I developed to make searching fast and efficient. I like that it keeps the idea of an inbox and that I move the file when I'm done to the electronic "filing cabinet".
  • You can push invoices, sales receipts and bills, receipts through to QBO and it attaches the document to the transaction for audit ready books. Receiving a customer payment or paying the bill must be done in QBO.
  • Multi-currency is handled by posting the transaction with an exchange rate of 1 in QBO which is not great. It means you have to remember to go to QBO, find the transaction ... advance the date one day using the short cut keys ... then reversing the date back for the field to populate with QBO's default rate for the day. I would prefer that LedgerDocs populated a Bank of Canada default exchange rate.
  • One really nice feature I like is that I can rename the file.
  • Because this app was "born" in BC it handles sales tax well. 
  • I prefer apps that have 2 factor identification ... which isn't available yet but they app does meet bank partner security requirements.
  • I would prefer the date entry box to be at the top of the screen rather than the bottom so I don't end up hunched over my keyboard ... but my fix for this is to stop and do chair yoga every 15-30 minutes to stretch out my back.
  • This app is affordable. It starts at $10/month for one company with unlimited transactions and unlimited users. If you are an Intuit ProAdvisor, you receive 1 free subscription. Price is important to me because QBO has a monthly subscription fee. Adding in additional monthly subscription fees for apps takes away from my bottom line which reduces my discretionary spending allowance ... and that just makes me grumpy.

LedgerDocs reduces the pain for small business owners around gathering all the source documents needed to support business income and expense transactions. I get to nag less which always makes me happy. I don't enjoy nagging.

This document management tool helps bookkeepers. Normally getting client documents is the biggest pain point for bookkeepers. The more a business owner can find a way to easily systematize the capturing of their source documents, the more efficient their bookkeeper can be. It reduces the stop/start cycle that leads to inefficiencies.

LedgerDocs workflow doesn't include OCR which means I'm still doing some data entry, but I'm okay with that. When I first tested this app, it only provided a link to the source document in QBO. This was problem for me because if you ever decided to unsubscribe to LedgerDocs, your QBO transactions no longer had the source document attached to it. LedgerDocs now attaches the actual document in QBO.

An additional bonus is LedgerDocs removed that annoying memo in the QBO invoice field referring back to their app. It meant reading my G/L was useless as every entry said "LedgerDocs #xxxxxxx". Now my memo notes flow through making the G/L readable again.

Remember you can only push your invoices, bills and receipts through to QBO. Customer deposits, payments of bills gets done directly in QBO and you must manually download the paperwork in LedgerDocs to attach into QBO. Once your desktop is setup efficiently you can get a flow going. 

If getting documents from your clients is your pain point, you need a cost effective solution, and don't like fighting with technology ... this app is for you.  I should mention it does remember your last entry for a customer or bill, so over time manual data entry is reduced.

LedgerDocs Workflow Tip

LedgerDocs workflow will let you push manually entered documents to QBO for matching in the bank feed. Here's my work around.

A way around having to manually deal with customer deposits and vendor bill payments is to book them as invoices and bills in the app. For example, LedgerDocs workflow allows you to post invoices ... unlike Hubdoc. I say, "Whoop! Whoop!". I really like this. Now I can create an invoice from the funds received source document (if I haven't issued an invoice) and push it to QBO. This works well for eBook sales. The QBO bank feed then finds a match automatically when the funds are received.

The same goes for an expense receipt. If I have the receipt, I post it from the app as a Bill and the QBO bank feed will match the payment to the bill pushed through from LedgerDocs ... OR ... you can post the supplier invoice as a bill and the payment as an expense. Then go to QBO and open the expense. "Add" the bill from the right hand side, enter the amount paid and you have now connected the two entries with documents attached.

Fetching Is Now Available

In May 2018, automatic fetching (or pulling) of bank statements became available. However, you have to have 5 or more company accounts to access the feature. They also have a limit of 5 pulls per company. This new LegderDocs workflow feature just takes automating your workflow one step further.

What is unclear at the time of writing is whether it will just pull bank statements ... or will it be able to pull credit card statements, utility and phone bills ... and other vendor accounts available online? I'm guessing probably not if it has a 5 pull limit.

Fours+ Ways to Upload Documents to LedgerDocs

LedgerDocs Document Management Workflow4 Ways to Upload Documents To LedgerDocs

There are four ways to securely upload your documents to LedgerDocs (LD):

  1. My favorite - A unique email account can be assigned so you can email your documents directly to your LedgerDocs inbox ... or you can setup rules to forward specific documents which effectively automates your LedgerDocs workflow. No more time spent searching for and manually downloading that emailed invoice.
  2. You can directly upload the documents to your inbox using your web browser. Sign into the app, click on the green "upload to inbox" icon ... then just drag and drop files straight from your browser into the upload box. I LOVE this feature. It is quick and easy for someone like me who can be technologically challenged sometimes. LD accepts Word and PDF documents as well as Excel spreadsheets.
  3. Never lose a receipt again by using the free LedgerDocs mobile app to capture images of your receipts instantly and sending it immediately to your inbox. If you don't want to use the LedgerDocs mobile app you can still send photos from your smart phone directly to your LedgerDocs "inbox".
  4. Sync your DropBox documents with your LD inbox by creating a LedgerDocs folder within DropBox with the company subfolders.

When selecting apps ... 
"strive for efficiency and convenience over bells and whistles."
Gabrielle Fontaine, PB

What I like about LedgerDocs is its simplicity and basic workflow. If you feel frustrated and confused by all the apps out there but still want to reduce your physical paperwork and collaborate online, this app is for you. I found the workflow intuitive to how you would do it manually.

The document management app is searchable making it easy to retrieve a document when you need it.

I have to say, of all the apps I looked at, the price point on this app is PERFECT for small businesses. It's where all the app pricing should be in my opinion as it is affordable.

As I mentioned earlier, LedgerDocs workflow doesn't include OCR image processing of your receipt, which at time can be a bonus in my mind ... depending on what your objectives for the app were. This allows me to keep my existing QBO workflow if I want and just have LedgerDocs open to process the documents. There's a place to add notes. I can also rename the image or PDF to something more meaningful if I want ... unlike Hubdoc. If you like tags, it can handle that too.

New in 2018, LD has the option to auto re-name the document after you have posted based on the posting date, the supplier, and bill number. A renamed file will still be searchable.

Another new LedgerDocs workflow improvement in 2018 is the ability for finding duplicate documents by clicking on the "Filter by Duplicate Documents". It will be able to identify duplicate documents even if they have different file names! Wowza ... I'm going to love that feature because clients often like to upload the same document 2 or 3 times.

LedgerDocs Workflow - Default File Folder StructureLedgerDocs Workflow

As you process each document in your LedgerDocs inbox, you file into folders that you can customize. The default filing folders are:

  • Banking
  • Data (I'm not sure what they had in mind for this folder so I change it Correspondence)
  • Financials
  • Payables
  • Payroll
  • Permanent
  • Receivables
  • Tax Returns
  • TODO List

LedgerDocs workflow handles SIMPLE data integration with QBO. I had to play around with my workflow when testing the various document managers. I finally decided to just do whatever I have to in the document manager to get it to push the document over to QBO. then I just select the transaction in QBO though the search bar to open and edit the transaction so it is booked accurately.

I've been testing these types of apps for about a year now and I'm still not convinced they have saved me time. I find I am just spending my time differently. Now I spend more time clicking stuff rather than manual data entry ... and way more time verifying data. 

LedgerDocs Workflow Conclusion

I like this accounting app. It is simple, affordable and "made in Canada" for Canadian bookkeepers. US bookkeepers would also have no problem using this app if it fits their workflow.

It easily allows me to collaborate with my clients because it is in the cloud and you can create customized email addresses making it effortless to for the client to upload the data. My clients don't need to be "techies" to use it as it draws on computer skills they already have.

For my part, I don't spend my time troubleshooting why the darn app is not working the way I want it to because the LedgerDocs workflow matches the workflow I had already implemented years ago.

And they have great customer service ... always willing to assist me when I'm stumped.

I have always been slow with every step I've taken going paperless. When I started working virtually in 2010, I took baby steps so I didn't become overwhelmed. Now there are some processes that I can't even image going back to the old way of doing things. I expect that as I work with this document organizing service, I will reconfigure and refine how I am using this service ... but for me I'm comfortable taking baby steps. If you are like me, start using the basic features of the LedgerDocs workflow and once you've mastered those, try another feature.

It's been great chatting with about bookkeeping today.

It's been great chatting with you .
Your tutor Lake

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