While Tailwind offers many administrative and accounting tools, it is not fully-fledged accounting software. To help businesses that require a more powerful accounting solution, Tailwind offers integration with QuickBooks Online.
Getting Started — What is a Chart of Accounts?
A Chart of Accounts is a table that lists all the accounts you will be using to run your business – and a key reference point when it comes to setting up Tailwind to sync with your QuickBooks Online account. Bank accounts and AR/AP accounts in QuickBooks will have corresponding Accounts in Tailwind, and Income and Expense accounts in QuickBooks will have a corresponding Revenue and Expense item in Tailwind. Mapping those accounts (covered below) is a crucial step in setting up your sync. This will be easiest if you set up both systems from the same Chart of Accounts, but it is not necessary that they match exactly – as may be the case if you have been using QuickBooks separately from Tailwind up to this point.
[fig 1. An example chart of accounts]
This help article assumes that you have already set up your accounts in QuickBooks. If this is your first time using accounting software like QuickBooks, we have provided a suggested Chart of Accounts, linked at the bottom of this article. This default CoA provides a fairly standard, baseline set-up for organizing your business accounts.
Set Up & Configuration — QuickBooks Accounts
Before we begin the set up in Tailwind, we need to ensure that our Chart of Accounts is set up in QuickBooks, and that we can see the account number that corresponds with each account
In QuickBooks Online, navigate to the Account and Settings page via the settings icon in the top right corner. Once there, click on the ‘Advanced’ tab on the left. Locate the ‘Chart of accounts’ setting and click the pencil on the right to Edit the setting. Check off the ‘Enable account numbers’ and ‘Show account numbers’ boxes, then click Save.
Next, navigate to the Accounting section in QuickBooks. You should now see a ‘Number’ column that shows a number for each of your accounts. If you do not currently have any numbers assigned, use the ‘Batch Edit’ control at the top right of the list – this will allow you to enter the CoA number for each account, following accepted accounting series numbers.
We will be referring back to these numbers during the Account mapping process below, so consider leaving this page open in a secondary tab or window for reference.
Set Up & Configuration — Tailwind Accounts
We must now ensure that the corresponding accounts, expense items, and revenue items exist in Tailwind. First, navigate to the Configuration page via the in the top right. Once there, click on the ‘Financial’ drop-down and select Accounts. This will bring up your Accounts page.
You will need to have a Tailwind account for every bank account, AR account, AP account, and credit card account that you are using in QuickBooks. Use the ‘add Account’ button located at the top of the page to add any missing accounts. It will probably be easiest to give both sets of accounts the same names, but this is not strictly necessary. Note that if you use multiple currencies, you will want to ensure you have bank, AR and AP accounts created in both currencies.
Set Up & Configuration — Expense and Revenue Items
Once our accounts are set up, we need to associate each Expense and Revenue item used in the Tailwind system with its corresponding QuickBooks account. This is where the numbers column we added earlier in QuickBooks will come in.
Open the Configuration page (via the ), click the ‘Financial’ drop-down and select Revenue Items. This will bring up a list of all the Revenue Items you have configured in Tailwind.
For each Revenue Item: click on the to edit the item. Then, in the field labeled ‘GL Code’, enter the number that corresponds to the related QuickBooks income account. Click ‘Save’ to save the changes and return to the list.
You can map multiple revenue items to one GL account in QuickBooks. For example, your freight charges, tarp charges and Fuel Surcharges can all be dumped into one GL account in QB, perhaps called your ‘Trucking Income’. Alternately, you can put each revenue item into its own individual GL account in QB. This is completely dependent on how detailed you want your financial statements to be. While Revenue or Income can be dumped into one bucket, we definitely recommend you create multiple buckets for your expense, as this will allow you to do cost analysis and better manage your expenses.
Once you have entered the GL Code for all your Revenue Items, you will need to do the same thing for your Expense Items, mapping each item to the appropriate Expense account in QuickBooks.
Note: GL Codes
The GL Code (‘General Ledger Code’) numbers on your Expense and Revenue items will let QuickBooks know where to assign related income and expenses when you sync your data across from Tailwind. It is therefore essential that these numbers are correctly assigned. Expense and Revenue items without GL Code data will not sync to QuickBooks at all.
Synching Your Data — Initial Steps
Once you have configured all your Accounts, Revenue Items, and Expense items, it is time to start syncing your data. To do so, navigate to the QuickBooks module, available under the Tools section of the left navigation. This will bring up the QuickBooks sync tool.
The first step in every sync is to ensure that you are logged in to your QuickBooks Online account, and that you have authorized QuickBooks to share information with Tailwind. To ensure this is the case, click on the ‘Connect to QuickBooks’ button – this will open a pop-up window, where you will either be asked for your log-in information or, if you are already logged in, be asked to ‘Authorize’ communication between the two applications. Once you have completed this authorization process, return to the Tailwind page and click ‘Next’.
Next, select the Branch you want to sync. If you have only one branch, you can safely skip this step.
You can also choose whether to use QuickBooks’ or Tailwind’s exchange rates for your sync.
Earliest Transaction Date
Select the earliest Transaction date you want to sync across. By default, Tailwind will sync all available data, but if necessary you can set a cut-off date to avoid sending across earlier data.
This is useful if you have been using QuickBooks Online already, and have been manually entering your data up to this point. In this case, you will want to pick a date from which to switch over to using the synching tool. Otherwise, you may end up duplicating some of your manually-entered data.
You may also want to periodically move this date to ‘lock down’ data for particular periods, e.g. at financial year-end. This will ensure that data prior to the date is never ‘updated’ in QuickBooks, even if for some reason adjustments are made on the Tailwind side.
The first time you go through the syncing process, you will need to map your Tailwind Accounts to the corresponding Accounts in QuickBooks. To do so, use the Local Financial Account and QuickBooks Account drop-down menus to select the two corresponding accounts, then click the ‘Add’ button to add the mapping. Continue to do this until you have mapped all your Tailwind Accounts – at this point the option to map new accounts will disappear, and you will simply have a list of your mapped accounts.
You will only need to create this mapping once. If you need to change these mappings in the future, you can use the to remove a mapping, and replace it with an updated association. Once all your accounts are mapped, click the ‘Next’ button to proceed to the final step.
Synching Your Data — Last Step
Most of the time, you will proceed immediately to this step, where you can select which data you actually want to sync across to QuickBooks. Only posted Invoices or Bills will show here and be available to sync. The buttons along the top of the final step allow you choose what type of data you want to sync. Selecting a category will show all the records that currently exist in Tailwind, but have not yet been synched to QuickBooks. It is important to note that for the Invoice and Bill related categories, only posted items will be available to sync.
Use the ‘Sync’ toggle on the left of the individual items to select which items you want to sync. New items will be selected by default. Once you have selected all the desired items, click on the red ‘Sync’ button at the top right of the page. Items will disappear from the list as they sync, and the corresponding data should now appear in QuickBooks online. If there is a problem with the data moving to QuickBooks, the item will remain on the screen and will return an error message.
Note: Customers/Vendors' Internal Names
When synching Vendor and Customer records between Tailwind and QuickBooks, the tool uses the Tailwind 'Internal Name' field to determine whether or not a record needs to be synched. This means that, if you have already created Vendors and Customers in QuickBooks, it is crucial that the Internal Name of your Customer and Vendor records matches exactly with those records. If the names do not match, Tailwind will assume that the Vendor or Customer in question does not have a record in QuickBooks, and will create a duplicate record – which will cause a lot of headaches, when you start trying to sync Invoices and Bills related to those businesses.
This is only important if you were using QuickBooks Online already, and are now synching with Tailwind directly for the first time. Vendor and Customer records created by the Tailwind sync will be named correctly.
If you have been using QuickBooks separately, we recommend you double-check any Customer or Vendor records before synching them, and adjust the Tailwind 'Internal Name' field to match if necessary
Note: Multiple Currencies
In the case where you have a Customer or Vendor who operates in two currencies – sometimes they pay you in USD, sometimes in CAD – you will need to create two separate Customer or Vendor records in Tailwind, one for each currency. You will also need to give them a unique Internal Name, that matches up with the corresponding name in QuickBooks.
For example, if you have a customer, ‘ABC Company’, you will want to create one customer with an internal name of ‘ABC Company – USD’ with the currency set to USD and another customer record with an internal name of ‘ABC Company – CAD’ with the currency set to CAD. This should be done in the internal name field only. QuickBooks requires a separate customer or vendor record for each currency.
Related Articles & Support
Feeling overwhelmed by QuickBooks online? Need help getting your accounting workflow up to speed? Our partner and certified QuickBooks Pro Advisor Kerry Smithies can help. Learn more about her training and consulting options at her website.