QuickBooks by Intuit is the #1 rated small business accounting software. WooCommerce by WooThemes is a free, powerful, and very popular WordPress eCommerce plugin. As of this writing, WordPress.org reports that WooCommerce has been downloaded 950,802 times.
I use WooCommerce primarily for my publishing business, A FontLife Publication, LLC, and selling books I've written on my other websites. It works fine for selling and helping to market my inventory of self-published and used books. On the back end, I use QuickBooks 2012 for my accounting. QuickBooks isn't specifically designed to run a publishing business, but with a few work-arounds, it handles my needs nicely, albeit clumsily.
One of the best things about WooCommerce is its extensibility. There are 248 WooCommerce extensions available on the WooThemes website. Some are written by the WooCommerce developers, but many are from third party authors. They are categorized as "unofficial" extensions meaning if you want support, contact the plugin's developers. I purchased the QuickBooks WooCommerce Integration Plugin by 61 Extensions to tie the front and back ends together. One of the selling points of this plugin is time reduction. Their sales pitch states:
The nice thing about the QuickBooks Connector extension is that once you get it dialed in with your settings, it’s pretty much hands off and you can set it to run as often as you’d like. By reducing the amount of time you’re stuck doing data entry, this extension lets you focus on what matters most – growing your sales.
My time is valuable to me and I very much dislike duplicating work. Time reduction appeals to me so I took the plunge, but what a nightmare getting this up and running in my environment!
QuickBooks WooCommerce Integration Plugin
A FontLife Publication, LLC is a single mapped domain in a multisite environment. The plugin installed without issue and once activated for the mapped domain, it shows up on the WooCommerce admin menu:
I followed the instructions on the Webconnector tab and created the QWC file.
Once the QWC file is created, the next step is to import it into the QuickBooks Web Connector. Unfortunately, I can't show you seen prints of the process because I run QuickBooks in a virtual machine in Parallels on my retina MacBook Pro. QuickBooks is not designed to run at such a high resolution and quite frankly, the images are horrible.
QuickBooks Web Connector
My first attempt didn't work. Web Connector complained that my site didn't have a SSL certificate. Shared SSL certificates work so there’s no need to run out and buy one. But, and this is a big BUT, if the domain you’re setting up is mapped to any domain name name other than your primary domain, Web Connector will not authenticate against your site. You'll get an error similar to the following:
20121015.04:44:11 UTC : QBWebConnector.SOAPWebService.do_authenticate() : QBWC1012: Authentication failed due to following error message.
The error message continues to explain a blank response was received. To work around this, you have to search for AppURL key for QuickBooks Web Connect in your Windows registry and change it to reflect the correct domain name. It works without the https, but keep the query string intact.
It took several hours for me to troubleshoot all of this and finally, somewhere around 2am, I achieved success! Once I had the domain connection working right, I double checked the plugin's mappings to my chart of accounts and attempted to import the products I had in WooCommerce. I spent days adding inventory to the store. My expectation was that the products would import without me having to edit them. I was wrong. Importing the products didn't work as I expected.
The SKU in WooCommerce maps to the name field in QuickBooks. Inventory counts and selling prices come across correctly, but every description is blank. Also, you can only map products to a single Sales and Cost of Goods account in QuickBooks. For example, for reporting purposes I have multiple sales accounts depending on the type of product I’m selling. They all roll up into the general sales account. I have the same configuration for Cost of Goods. After the import, I still had to edit each and every one of my products. I thought the purpose of the plugin was to reduce duplicate work. Sure, while it saves entering some fields twice, it doesn’t save from doing the work.
Will I recommend this plugin? The jury's still out on that one. I'm waiting to see how it works with importing sales orders.
Soon after I wrote this article, Intuit released a new version of their Quickbooks Web Connector. While the instructions explained here are correct, there are some additional steps that need to be taken. Feel free to contact me and I'll help you get this setup. It takes about 1 hour and my fee is $75.00 payable in advance. As an alternative, you may also purchase the step-by-step troubleshooting guide below for $5.00. The Guide is a .pdf file that you can download immediately upon payment.