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How do I plan for a transactional accounting integration?

Overview

Many Zuora customers find that by using Zuora as a revenue subledger, there is no need to perform a detailed transaction by transaction integration with an accounting system. If you have a specific business need that requires you to perform a transactional integration, our best practice is to invest plenty of time in planning and mapping your integration before commencing development. By reviewing the steps outlined below and spending plenty of time mapping yours fields and transactions in the planning process, your integration will go smoothly.

See How do I determine if it's better to bring over line item accounting data or summary level data? for more information about what you should consider when deciding whether or not to bring over line item accounting data into your accounting system.

Solution

A transactional integration should not be taken lightly. 

When thinking about a transactional integration, consider these key implementation steps:

1. Understand how your accounting system's Accounts Receivables process works

This may require consulting services from experts in that Accounting System as there will inherently be differences in the way the invoice to cash, AR, cash management, etc. functions between Zuora and the accounting system.  A key example is that Zuora will create a negative invoice and most accounting systems do not.  So, when you have an invoice item adjustment, invoice adjustment, or credit balance adjustment against the negative invoice, you don't have a corresponding transaction in the accounting system and you will have to determine how you want these transactions integrated to your accounting system.

2. Identify your philosophy for the integration

Consider the following when identifying your philosophy:

  • Do you want to have the integration write back the transaction in Zuora with each processing step or to write back only when complete?
  • What is your strategy for restarting the integration should it fail or if either end point, Zuora or the Accounting System become unavailable for any period?
  • Do you need to run the integration every hour or once a month? 

3. Understand the Zuora use cases

There are over 80 common use cases for Zuora and your business may not need every one of these today, but you will want to plan for future support.

4. Spend time to understand the APIs for each system

Often, a third-party integration platform/ETL vendor can be leveraged because they understand the complexities and nuances of the various APIs.

5. Field Mapping

Map every field for every object for every Zuora use case you want to use to the corresponding field in your accounting system. To compare, Z-Suite has over 1000 fields that are mapped between Zuora and NetSuite.

6. Development and Test 

These are non-trivial steps. However, completing  the previous steps can greatly reduce development time and risk.

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