Accounts Receivable Software
Discover Upflow

Integrating with Your Finance Tech Stack: Getting the Most Out of Your Accounts Receivable Solution

Accounting and Software

Alex Louisy

Apr 18, 2024


The Trouble with Disconnected SystemsFlat File vs. Native (& Pre-Built API) Integrations: Choosing the Right PathKey Considerations for Effective Integrations: Choosing the Right Path for Your Business

Your accounts receivable (AR) software should be a central hub, seamlessly connected to your billing and accounting systems. But without proper integration, it can become an isolated island, hindering your ability to optimize cash flow. Let's dive into why integrations are crucial, explore the two main options available and discuss which is best.

The Trouble with Disconnected Systems

Imagine sending out overdue payment reminders for invoices that have already been paid. That's a potential reality when your AR software operates in a silo. Disconnected systems lead to manual data entry across platforms, a time-consuming and error-prone process.

Without real-time data transfer, gaining valuable insights into your financial health becomes impossible. Integrations are the bridge that connects your AR solution to the rest of your financial ecosystem, ensuring efficient data flow and accurate information.

Flat File vs. Native (& Pre-Built API) Integrations: Choosing the Right Path

There are two primary approaches to AR software integration:

  • Flat File Integration (Structured Data Transfer): This method involves flat text files (think spreadsheets) being transferred via a secure file transfer protocol (SFTP) or uploaded manually. While seemingly straightforward, it has limitations. Data updates typically occur twice daily, meaning your insights may be lagging behind. Additionally, flat file integrations often require customization when data models change, potentially leading to delays and inaccuracies.

  • Native or API Integration (Direct Communication): This is the gold standard. Native integrations leverage Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to establish a direct line of communication between your AR software (like Upflow) and platforms like NetSuite, QuickBooks, and Xero. This translates to real-time data transfer, ensuring your AR system always works with the most current information. Need to track your Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) for a clear picture of your collection efficiency? With a native integration, you have access to accurate, real-time data to make informed decisions.

Key Considerations for Effective Integrations: Choosing the Right Path for Your Business

Not all integrations are created equal. Here are some key factors to prioritize when choosing the integration method that best suits your needs:

1. Low Setup Cost: Saving Time and Resources for What Matters Most

Flat file integrations often require a significant investment of time and resources during the setup phase. IT or engineering involvement is typically necessary to customize data models and troubleshoot any connection issues. This can be a burden for businesses with limited IT staff or tight budgets.

Native integrations, on the other hand, are designed for ease of use. They typically follow a "plug and play" approach, requiring minimal configuration. This means your IT team won’t need to dedicate any time, and will be able to focus their efforts on higher-level projects and strategic initiatives. Additionally, the reduced need for ongoing maintenance frees up resources that can be better allocated towards core business functions.

2. Accuracy: Ensuring Data Integrity

In finance, data accuracy is important. That goes without saying! Errors in your AR system can lead to a domino effect of problems, impacting everything from customer relationships to cash flow forecasting.

Flat file integrations introduce an additional layer of risk when it comes to data accuracy. Manual manipulation of data files for customization purposes can lead to errors. Debugging any data inconsistencies can be time-consuming and complex. Added to that, the inability to check whether balances are correct can cause major headaches. This results in a lack of visibility into where you stand today, and can make planning for the future difficult.

Native integrations eliminate these risk factors. They pull data directly from the source system in its original format, ensuring a seamless and error-free transfer. This not only reduces the likelihood of errors but also streamlines the overall data management process. With accurate data at your core, you can make confident decisions, be fully confident that your balances are correct and work to optimize your AR performance over time.

“Our Netsuite and Upflow systems are really talking to each other. There's no double entry. Everything we indicate in Upflow gets transferred to Netsuite. Every time we get a client that pays into NetSuite, it automatically uploads and the information is in real-time in Upflow.” - Francis Poirier, President of Pedlex

3. Scalability: Building a Foundation for Future Growth

As your business grows, the number of invoices you process will likely increase. This requires an AR solution that can scale effectively to accommodate your evolving needs. Flat file integrations can struggle with high data volumes. Increased data loads can lead to errors, delays, and system instability. This can significantly hinder your ability to manage your cash flow efficiently.

Native integrations, on the other hand, are built for scalability. They are designed to handle large volumes of data without compromising performance. Additionally, they automatically update as your needs evolve, ensuring a future-proof solution. Data models change from time to time and this is bad news if your integrating via flat files. With a native or API integration, any changes or evolutions will be akin to simply updating an app on your phone. Instead of the integration breaking down you’ll have the peace of mind to know your systems are always up to date, at no extra cost. This gives you peace of mind knowing your AR system can grow alongside your business, supporting your financial journey every step of the way.

4. Real-time Data Transfer: The Power of Up-to-the-Minute Insights

Flat file integrations, which update data typically twice daily, can leave you working with stale information. This delay can negatively impact your decision-making capabilities. In today’s day and age, real-time data is crucial for effective cash flow management.

Here's where native integrations shine. By leveraging APIs, they establish a direct line of communication between your AR software and other financial platforms. This translates to real-time data transfer, ensuring your AR system is always working with the most current information. Need to track key metrics like Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) to assess collection efficiency? With a native integration, you have access to accurate, real-time data at your fingertips. This empowers you to make informed decisions regarding resource allocation, collection strategies, and potential discounts for early payments.

Choosing the right integration method for your AR software is a critical decision that can significantly impact your financial efficiency and future growth. By prioritizing low setup cost, accuracy, scalability and real-time data transfer, you can ensure your AR solution becomes a powerful tool for optimizing cash flow and achieving your financial goals.

The future is about natively interconnected systems, not clunky and manually integrated tools that cause more headaches in the long-run than real benefits.

Ready to explore all the powerful integrations Upflow offers? Visit our Integrations pages to discover how Upflow can seamlessly connect with your existing financial ecosystem and unlock the full potential of your AR software.

cta for webinar

Latest articles