A client recently approached me with a QuickBooks Online (QBO) limitation that he couldn’t solve. He has a business with multiple locations and each location has its own budget. Part of the performance review for each manager factors in how the location performs against budget. He asked me how he can quickly and efficiently provide each manager with a monthly report that shows the location’s actual results as compared to the budget.

The Current Process: Very Manual!

The client currently is exporting a profit and loss report for each location out of QBO. Then, he manually compares the QBO data to an Excel file with the location’s budget. There’s a lot of copy and paste work occurring to update the Excel file. This definitely is not an ideal process, right?

For background information, QBO doesn’t currently offer a way to import budgets. You have to manually key in the data into QBO for each location. We’re talking about hours of work here since this business has so many locations. And, let’s not forget, manual data entry is going to increase the potential for errors. My client said it was just easier to keep the budget in Excel since the budget may change, and there’s not an easy way to get the data into QBO.

The Solution: Use Tableau’s QBO connector and Google Sheets

I created a dashboard that connects to his Google Sheet file where the budgets for each location are stored. Each account with a budget has an account number in the Google Sheet which aligns with an account number in QBO.

In a matter of an hour, we connected Tableau to QBO tables to generate the profit and loss report in Tableau. We then connected to the budget for each location from Google Sheets. Since we have an account number in Tableau and Google Sheets, we were able to compare the budgeted and actual results for each account and determine if the location met its revenue and profit targets.

By connecting to the data, we no longer have to rekey numbers – what a time saver for this client. We also have a live connection to the data now which means he can monitor performance throughout the month in real-time.

The end result was an insightful (and visually appealing) dashboard that eliminated manual processes. The manager for each location can now understand in less than five minutes if the goals were met. What a great way to use technology to improve a process and make a client happy.

Quickbooks Tableau integration in action

Thank you, #Tableau, for offering the QBO connector for small businesses.

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