QuickBooks integration: Sync gifts from LGL to your QB Online account

In this article:


Overview

Watch a recorded webinar from our Video Library that walks through this integration.

Little Green Light's integration with QuickBooks Online (QBO) helps you create sales receipts in QuickBooks (QB) without needing to re-enter any data. You can set default mappings to populate the Product/Service and Class fields in your QuickBooks account, and match or create QuickBooks Customers based on your LGL constituents.

The synchronization is a two-way process that pulls back the deposit information for each transaction, once you’ve connected it to a deposit in your QuickBooks account.

The process looks something like this:

Who should use this integration?

You must be an Administrator or Gift Entry user in your Little Green Light account to use this feature. If you are not an Admin or Gift Entry user, you will not be able to see any of these features when you use your LGL account.

In addition, this integration is recommended if, and only if, all of the following are true. You:

  • Use QuickBooks Online Plus or Advanced* and are trained in using this software
  • Want to enter gifts into LGL first (versus entering them into QuickBooks first)
  • Want to avoid double entry in QuickBooks
  • Want detailed donation entries in QuickBooks (versus lump sum entries)
  • Have the support of your accounting team to either submit transactions into your QuickBooks account, or your accountant will log into your LGL account to push over the transactions

*REQUIRED: You must be using either the QuickBooks Online Plus or Advanced edition. The LGL integration requires you to set Classes for the gifts you're sync'ing over to QuickBooks. Only the Plus and Advanced editions of QuickBooks Online include Classes. The Simple Start and Essentials editions do not integrate with LGL. You can see a comparison here of available features for each of the QuickBooks editions.

Which transactions can be processed through this integration?

Please note that only "Gift" and "Other Income" entries are available to push from LGL to QuickBooks. This means you won't be sending over pledges or in-kind entries. 

Within your "gift" and "other income" transactions, you likely have different process flows depending on the payment type. For instance, the way you handle a check you receive in the mail likely follows a different process than money you receive via online donations. Using this integration may work really well for some types of transactions but not others, and it’s fine to use it for just a subset of your gift entries in LGL. Just make sure everyone from your team who is working on this is clear about which transactions should and should not be pushed over to QuickBooks from your LGL account.

IMPORTANT: It is critical that both your development team and your accounting team agree on exactly which types of transactions will be handled using this integration and which won't be. For example, you might decide that only donations made via checks sent in the mail will be part of this integration.

Setting up your integration

The QuickBooks integration feature needs to first be activated in Settings > Integration Settings.

After activating the integration, you'll see a button to connect your LGL account with your QuickBooks Online account.

Step 1 

Connect your LGL account and your QuickBooks account so they can talk to each other. Click the  Connect to QuickBooks button. If you aren't logged into your QuickBooks account yet, you can do that now:

Once you're logged into QuickBooks, you'll see a request to link your QuickBooks Online account to your Little Green Light account.

Once the integration is turned on, you'll manage it in the Fundraising area of your account:

Step 2 

After you've connected your two accounts, the next step is to set up your default mappings so LGL knows how to categorize your transactions in terms of Products/Services, Classes, and Payment Methods.

Fields in LGL correspond to fields in QuickBooks as follows:

Little Green Light field       => QuickBooks field
Constituent Customer
Gift category Product/Service
Campaign or Fund Class
Payment type Payment method

In the Fundraising > QuickBooks area, use the Settings tab to map your LGL fields to your QuickBooks fields. There are four tabs where you can configure your default settings:

On the first tab you can select if you want a Customer in your QuickBooks account for each constituent for whom you're sync'ing a gift. The alternative is to use a generic customer ("General LGL Constituent").

For each of the other three areas, LGL will pull over your list of active values from your QuickBooks account. And, if you make updates in QuickBooks, you can click the Edit button (see screenshot above) and then click Refresh list (see screenshot below) to pull in the most recent list of values from your QuickBooks account. 

Mapping campaign or fund to Classes

You can choose to use EITHER the campaigns OR the funds you use in your LGL account as the basis for setting the corresponding Class. You cannot use both. The reason for this is that conflicts could arise in which a single gift can have a campaign that is mapped to one Class but a fund that is mapped to a different one.

It is possible to switch from using campaigns to using funds instead (as the basis for mapping your Classes). Making that switch will affect only future transactions; no previously recorded transaction will be affected.

Running the integration day to day

Overview of how to push gift records to QuickBooks

The diagram below gives a quick view of the steps you’ll be taking. We cover each in more detail below.

Briefly stated: 

  1. You enter gift records in Little Green Light
  2. You then push them over to QuickBooks, where they create Sales Receipts
  3. Finally, in QuickBooks you create a deposit for those Sales Receipts to move the revenue from Undeposited Funds into the bank account where the money went

High level overview (one-minute video clip)

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Detailed explanation of how to run the integration

1. Record a gift in Little Green Light

When entering the gift record in Little Green Light, select the constituent, gift amount, gift category, campaign/fund, and payment type, as you normally would. Then select "Sync to QuickBooks" and confirm that the appropriate Product/Service, Class, and Payment Type are set. 

After you choose the “Queue for sync to QB?” option, you'll see the values LGL will push over for Product/Service, Class, and Payment Method (based on the gift category, campaign/fund, and payment type you entered for the gift):

You can manually edit (override the default values) for Product/Service, Class, and Payment Method. Your transaction is now queued to sync to QuickBooks.

2. Push gift records to QuickBooks

The QuickBooks queue in Little Green Light

Once you have one or more gifts queued for QuickBooks sync’ing, look in the Queued gifts queue and check that all the information looks correct. All of the QuickBooks fields must be populated before you can sync the gift record over to QuickBooks. LGL will highlight fields that still need to be set.

Linking your constituent to a QuickBooks Customer

Every transaction needs to have a Customer in QuickBooks. 

If your settings are set to use the General LGL Constituent, then this is going to be easy, because every transaction will automatically sync with the one General LGL Constituent record in your QBO account:

If your settings are set to create or match to a distinct Customer each time, then if no Customer is matched yet, you'll see a red warning in the QB Customer column. Click the Set Customer button within the warning to link your LGL constituent to a Customer in QuickBooks. You can either match or create the Customer in QuickBooks. Note that Little Green Light can find matching Customers using name and email address.

Example when a potential match is found

1. If you like the proposed match, click the blue  Link button to connect the two. To search some more for a match, you can click one of the other search options, such as by email or organization name.

2. Or, you can click the "Create Customer in QBO" button to create a new Customer record in your QBO account based on the LGL constituent's name and contact information.

Example when no match is found

When no match is found, you can 1) choose another search option (i.e., search by email address or organization name), or 2) click the "Create Customer in QBO" button to create a new Customer record in your QBO account based on the LGL constituent's name and contact information.

What to do if you inadvertently accept an incorrect match

If you accept a bad match in your QuickBooks queue within Little Green Light, you can undo the match by clicking the Reset link for the customer, as shown below. 

Creating deposits in QuickBooks

Once you push over gifts, they create Sales Receipts in your QuickBooks account, with the funds going to the Asset named Undeposited Funds. You'll then need to move those funds from Undeposited Funds to the bank account where the money is being deposited by creating a Deposit (in QuickBooks). 

You'll see the transactions that came over from LGL as available Sales Receipts when you start to create your Deposit. Check the box on the far left of each row that you want to include in your deposit.

A very important step here is to enter any fees associated with those transactions. For cash and checks, there won't be any fees, but for online transactions you should subtract the fees charged by the online payment processor (because those fees are subtracted from the amounts the processor will disburse to your bank account). 

For transactions coming through LGL Forms, LGL uses the fees for each transaction to record a Deposited Amount (this can be made visible in your LGL account on request). We then calculate the fees and pass that over to QuickBooks on the Memo line for each transaction. See the highlighted section in the screenshot below.

You'll want to choose an account for the online fees and then enter the amount as a *negative* amount. You'll see the net total for the deposit listed at the bottom of the screen (in this example, it's $121.65).

Processed gifts

Back in Little Green Light, the Processed gifts tab shows every gift that’s been sync’d over to QuickBooks. The column on the far right shows the sync date and status. When a gift is first pushed over to QuickBooks, it creates a Sales Receipt. Later, after you pull that Sales Receipt into a deposit in QuickBooks, that status will get reflected back in your LGL account automatically within 24 hours. Or you can use the Pull deposits from QBO button to get a live sync of that information.

Deposit date is updated in LGL

Once you deposit a sales receipt and the deposit info has been pulled back to LGL, the deposit date for that gift in your LGL account will also be automatically updated.

Example 1: Checks

Your particular process flow might vary from this example, but here's a common approach for depositing checks, before and after using the LGL-QB integration:

Before using the LGL-QB integration

  1. As checks arrive in the mail, the development director enters them as gifts in Little Green Light
  2. The development director places the physical checks in an envelope on the bookkeeper's desk labeled "to be deposited"
  3. On Friday afternoon, the bookkeeper takes the checks to the bank and deposits them
  4. The bookkeeper enters the details of each check in QuickBooks using a Make Deposit window (duplicating the data entry from step 1)

After switching to use the LGL-QB integration

  1. As checks arrive in the mail, the development director enters them as gifts in Little Green Light
    1. For each gift entry, the development director marks the gift to sync to QB and uses the Pending gifts tab to push them to QB (either one by one or in a batch)
  2. The development director places the physical checks in an envelope on the bookkeeper's desk labeled "to be deposited"
  3. On Friday afternoon, the bookkeeper takes the checks to the bank and deposits them
  4. In QuickBooks, the bookkeeper opens a Make Deposit window, selects the Sales Receipts for that deposit, and marks all as deposited into the bank

Example 2: Online donations via LGL Forms

Little Green Light customers don't always use LGL Forms for payment processing, but for this example we will be using LGL forms as the example, with Stripe as the payment processor. Note that Stripe assesses its transaction fee at the time of each transaction. 

Before using the LGL-QB integration

A likely approach would be to wait until a transfer occurs from your Stripe account to your bank, and then use the transfer report that Stripe provides to record the transactions in your QB account, noting the net amount transferred by Stripe (after transaction fees are deducted).

After switching to use the LGL-QB integration

When using the LGL-QB integration, you can push transactions from LGL to QB anytime after they're recorded in LGL. As with all such transactions, they go into QB via the  Sales Receipt and the revenue is booked to Undeposited Funds.

Now, rather than having to enter the transactions from the Stripe transfer report, you can simply select the appropriate Sales Receipts for your deposit. LGL includes the Stripe fee information in the gift memo field. You can use this to calculate the fees to add into your deposit.

Add gifts donated through your LGL form to your QuickBooks sync list automatically

To save the hassle of needing to edit a gift collected through an LGL form to set it to be added to your QBO sync list, you can enable the "Add gifts to QBO sync list" radio button option for your form to do that for you, as shown here:

Questions and Answers

Q. Will LGL also integrate with the installed desktop version of QuickBooks?
A. No, we do not currently have any plans to build that integration.

Q. Can I use something other than Gift Category to drive the Product/Service selection for QuickBooks?
A. Gift Category is the only LGL field you can use for mapping to the QB Products/Services field. However, you could manually set the QB Products/Services selection on each gift (meaning LGL will not pre-select a value for you).

Q. Can I edit a gift entry in Little Green Light after I've sync'd it to QB?
A. Yes, but only by choosing to unlock the gift record. On the gift detail page, you’ll see a warning message saying that the gift needs to be unlocked to edit:

Q. Can we push in-kind gifts from LGL to QB?
A. No. We have purposely not integrated in-kind gifts from LGL to QB, because in LGL it's common to enter a dollar value for your in-kind gifts, but you wouldn't want that pushed to your QuickBooks account since it's not going to result in money in the bank.

Q. Can we push pledges from LGL to QB? 
A. No. We have purposely not integrated pledges due to the complexity of tracking pledge payments to the proper Invoice in QuickBooks. We know this won't work for all organizations, but we believe it makes most sense to track your pledges in your Little Green Light account and sync only your actual pledge payments to QB. 

Disclaimer

The QuickBooks service is completely separate from Little Green Light and carries its own pricing structure, terms of service, and privacy policy. Please see the QuickBooks Terms of Service for details.

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