One of if not the greatest benefit of online accounting solutions is the fact that they are capable of integrating with various third-party apps via an API. And any accounting company that offers and supports APIs can provide the option for aspiring developers or amateurs to build their own apps for various purposes, meaning that you can create your very own command to further automate certain processes.
Why Are APIs Good?
API is an abbreviation of Application Programming Interface, and it is the building blocks software developers use to create apps that link information between one source and another to fully automate tasks between them. In simpler words, you’ll use it to write code telling software what to do when certain actions are performed.
In the context of online accounting this means that you can automate certain processes or even create integrations with your favorite third-party apps. For instance, APIs can be used to receive an instant message notification upon receipt of a payment or automatically send an email thanking your clients once a certain task is completed.
Where to Build an API?
Although there is the option to skip the tedious programming phase and turn to solutions like Zapier or OneSaas where tasks (or triggers, if you prefer) can be created between existing software, they usually require a monthly fee. However, open source solutions like GitHub and Swagger, the most popular API frameworks, allow you to create your own triggers for free and share them with others for feedback.
But if you are mostly interested in creating a trigger or integration for accounting software then you can turn to the API of online accounting solutions that only require the ownership of an existing account.
Online Accounting Solutions and Their APIs
FreshBooks is not so strong where the number of add-ons is concerned, but it is more than happy to welcome the solutions of independent developers. Having the OAuth 2 Bearer token authenticate your API request will enable you to create various tasks to be performed by FreshBooks, including invoices, payments, client updates, expenses, changes to items and many more. To make things even easier, apps can be created by simply going to the “Create Application” landing page.
With the Xero API, which also uses the OAuth protocol for authentication, you can utilize the accounting and related functions of the main Xero application, such as attachments, bank transactions, currencies, payments, quotes, reports, tax rates and many more. Depending on the API you are developing, it is possible to use the GET, POST or PUT methods, all while using your regular Xero account. And by becoming a Xero Partner, there is a chance that your solution may end up as one of the 500+ official Xero add-ons.
An Intuit Developer account is required to create apps for QuickBooks, but with it comes app-management tools, a private sandbox environment to test any created apps, community support, developer tools and documents, and much more. There are tons of API resources to peruse, covering categories such as transaction (i.e. billing, invoicing and purchases), name lists, reports and support, as well as API references related to payments.