Our customers often use Sugar to generate and manage quotes and proposals; however once the sale is made, orders and invoices are managed via separate accounting software. This leaves sales agents without valuable information about their customers and it requires additional data entry work for accounting.
To solve this problem we created a custom integration of Sugar (Version 7.X) and Xero Online Accounting Software. Xero is a cloud-based accounting system that has established itself as a solid alternative to QuickBooks.
In the screens below, we show Sugar Quote Forms customized for our customer's unique needs. We then show a screen of how a user would convert this quote into a Xero invoice.
We developed functionality that would create records in a custom invoices module in Sugar while simultaneously utilizing Xero’s API to create the invoice record in Xero and link the two via the Xero invoice URL. From the point of creation forward, the two records in Sugar and Xero are synchronized in real-time to reflect payment status.
The new Sugar invoices module contains all of the information needed to create an invoice in Xero, taken directly from the Sugar Quote record including:
- Billing Company and Contact
- PO Number
- Date Issued
- Date Due
- All Line Items and Quantities
- Applicable Taxes, and Grand Total Due
This is nicely summarized in Sugar for the sales agent in an invoices subpanel on the customer record, giving them quick visibility to key invoice details without having to make an inquiry to accounting.
If the user wishes to see the full accounting history there is a quick link that will navigate directly to the invoice in Xero itself as shown below.
Another key feature requirement for this customer was the ability to generate recurring invoices for their orders. To accomplish this, we added a Start and End Date to the Sugar Quote, as well as Contract Length (in months) and Billing Interval (integer), which then calculates the number of Billing Periods.
So, for example, if a yearly subscription plan is sold, starting on November 1, 2015, the customer sets a Start Date of 11/1/2015 and an End Date of 10/31/2016. Contract Length is then set to 12. From here they can decide to generate invoices annually, bi-annually, quarterly, or monthly. By entering a Billing Interval of 1, Sugar is going to generate 12 monthly invoices for this order and push them to Xero.
The Generate recurring invoices process creates a separate Sugar Invoice record for each Billing Period.
The matching invoices are created in Xero on the date specified in the invoice’s Date Issued field.
With this solution, Sugar is used as the front-end for accounting, putting the power of creating invoices in sales agents’ hands, eliminating data entry for the accounting staff, and providing real-time updates on all of their invoices in Sugar. This is a great example of modern web-based and best-of-breed applications speaking together using API's to accomplish a very specific business process.