EZLynx Accounting now has a Direct Interface to QuickBooks Online

Our interface between EZLynx Accounting and Intuit QuickBooks means you get the best of both worlds – a premium accounting system tuned to the specific needs of an insurance agency plus the world-leading, easy to use general ledger software used by more than four million businesses. EZLynx AccountingUntil now, that interface required manual steps to load transactions from EZLynx into QuickBooks. But the manual uploads and downloads are a thing of the past with our latest release that will streamline your link between EZLynx and QuickBooks.

EZLynx now supports a direct interface to QuickBooks Online through web services. With a single step to authorize the connection, your EZLynx transactions will flow automatically to QuickBooks, with no intervention necessary. This will speed up your day-end processes, facilitate check printing, and greatly improve accuracy by removing the human element.

We will continue to support file exports and imports for QuickBooks Desktop. But if you use QuickBooks Online and are ready to simplify your workflow, we’re ready for you.

How It Works

In the Systems Settings page of the Accounting Configuration module, you can authorize the direct connection to QuickBooks by logging in to QuickBooks Online and granting access. This authorization happens completely within the QuickBooks website, so you don’t have to worry about password security across websites.

EZLynx Accounting

Once the connection is authorized, transactions in EZLynx will flow automatically to QuickBooks, either in real-time or on demand (see options below). Both journal entries and checks are sent together, so you no longer need a bank clearing account to offset postings from two different exports. Journal entries are posted as standard double-entry postings, so there is no need for an import clearing account. Postings in QuickBooks are simple, just the way you expect.
Before sending any transaction, the EZLynx interface will first verify the pertinent GL account, Customer, and/or Vendor exists in QuickBooks. If they aren’t found, EZLynx will simply create it for you – no error, no need for you to intervene or reimport the transaction.

Options

There are a few ways you can configure the EZLynx QuickBooks interface, depending on how you run your business.

On Demand or Real Time

You can choose to send transactions to QuickBooks in real time as they happen, or in batches when you specify. In Real-Time mode, transactions appear in QuickBooks within seconds of posting in EZLynx. You never have to do anything – it’s true “set it and forget it.”

In On Demand mode, transactions are queued up until you click a button to send them in batch. This mode is useful if you want to control when transactions appear in QuickBooks, such as when balancing the books at month end.

Summary or Detail

You can also choose if you want to send transactions to QuickBooks at a summary or detail level. At the detail level, each individual transaction is sent separately: you’ll see separate postings for every invoice, every receipt, every commission statement detail, etc. At a summary level, transactions will be summed by date and GL account, so for example you’ll see a single posting to the Income account for each day, and a single posting to Accounts Receivable per day.

Detail level is useful if you want all your transactions in QuickBooks in order to leverage some of QuickBooks’ robust detail reporting functionality. Summary level is best if you will run your detailed premium accounting reports from EZLynx, and use QuickBooks for your higher level P&L.

Note that Summary-level transactions are not available when running in Real-Time mode.

Interested?

The direct interface is now available as a beta, and we anticipate making it available for general use in March. Please contact us if you would like to participate in the beta, and watch for detailed instructions on enabling the interface when it is launched globally.


Updated Look & Feel for EZLynx Client Center

In the next few weeks we will roll out an update to Client Center to clean up and modernize the appearance. This cosmetic update is the first in a series of updates we have planned in the coming year to make Client Center a beautiful and useful tool for your customers and a time-saving tool for your agency!

This first update refreshes the general appearance to give it a more modern, neutral appearance. Our goal is to ensure that the appearance can easily be merged into your existing branding so that your clients can have a consistent experience from your website.

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We have also taken steps to make sure the layout makes sense when fully embedded in an iFrame, since in this scenario you do not need the typical header and footer areas.

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The new version is also mobile responsive. This means that the layout automatically adapts to the width of the screen size for each user, whether they’re on a 30″ Desktop Monitor or a 4″ Phone.  If you plan on embedding Client Center in an iFrame on your already responsive website, be sure to set the width of the iFrame to a fluid 100% so that it can automatically adjust along with the rest of your site.

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Client Center saw some significant updates in 2016, with an easier login process, text message verification, multi-account support, and enhanced support for commercial clients with certificate holder self-generation. You will hear more in the coming months about our 2017 Roadmap, but suffice to say we have significant and game-changing plans for EZLynx Client Center in the year ahead!


Branch Support Comes to EZLynx Accounting

Handling branch interactions through EZLynx Accounting has been a highly requested feature. We are excited to announce that this round of enhancements expands upon the current EZLynx Accounting functionality and allows you to include branches in your accounting postings, transactions and accounting reports. For organizations with multiple branches, this functionality will greatly aid in the company’s accounting practices in EZLynx.

Some of the great new enhancements with the EZLynx Accounting 2.8 include the ability to apply branches to receipts, checks, and deposits. You also have the ability to assign specific bank accounts to individual branches, as well as the ability to do an interbranch payment between branches to aid in the clearing of accounts.

Highlights

  • New Permissions and Settings
  • Branch support for Receivables
  • Branch support for Payables
  • Branch support for General Ledger postings
  • Branch support for Reporting

Let’s See What’s New…

New Permissions and Settings

With the addition of branch support to EZLynx accounting, you are able to determine which users can have access to the various accounting functions at their respected branch or even at other branches. This allows for branch-to-branch interactions. The assignment of these permissions can be easily handled through the newly designed Users tab in the configuration section in accounting.

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We have also redesigned the System Settings tab by adding an ‘Agency’ tab (for the main branch to set system settings for all of their branches) and a ‘Branch’ tab for the individual branches in the organization to set their specific settings. On the ‘Agency’ tab, users at the Main Branch can set the overall settings for the organization.

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On the ‘Branch’ tab, the user is able to set the setting specific to the individual branches, like their logo, company information (addresses), settings for invoice emails and invoice memos.

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Branch Support for Receivables

You are now able to select branches for adding receipts, creating deposits, and receivable write-offs. For those in the organization with access to all branches, they will be able to select from all the branches in the organization. However, those in the organization who are limited to one branch, they will only see that branch in the dropdown. The same applies for the creation of receipts.

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We have also redesigned the Receipt and Deposit overview screen to allow you to filter the pages by branches to better organize your organizations transactions and postings.

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Branch Support for Payables

Branches have been integrated to our payable features in EZLynx and you are now able to select branches for AutoPay and adding of Checks. On the AutoPay screen, you are now able to filter the payable items by branches.

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When adding a check, you now have the ability to select which branch the check is being generated from and the branch bank account. If you have permission to view all branches, you will be able to select any of the branches in the organization. If your permission is limited to one branch, then you will only be able to select your specific branch.

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We have also added a branch column on the Check screen to make it easier for you to sort the organizations checks by branches. If you have access to all branches in your organization, then you will be able to view all the checks created in the organizations. If you are limited to one branch, then only checks for that particular branch will appear.

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Branch Support for General Ledger Postings

With this round of enhancements, you are also able to view branches on the GL posting screen in order to better organize the organizations branch postings. This also includes the addition of branch information on the GL exports in order for you to be able to integrate your branch configuration with QuickBooks. You are also able to create a journal entry for a single branch or you can create a journal entry for two branches to create clearing postings for interbranch payments.

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Branch Support for Reporting

No business would be complete without accurate reports. Accurate reports enable you to better manage and predict your organizations position in the market. With the addition of Branch Support for EZLynx Accounting, we have overhauled our reports in accounting to include branch filter. You are able to group posting in the reports by branches and even exclude some branches from reports in order to limit the data outputs. These enhancements will let you track productivity across your organization and gain a better insight as to how each of your locations are performing. The below reports now support Branch data:

  • Aged Receivables Report
  • Cash Receipts Report
  • Check Register Report
  • Deposit Summery Report
  • Direct Bill Cash Report
  • GL Postings Detail Report
  • Invoice Summery Report
  • Line Item Detail Report
  • Payables Worklist Report
  • Premium Trust Report
  • Production by Producer Report
  • Production by Writing Company Report
  • Trial Balance Report
  • Unapplied Cash Report
  • Undeposited Funds Report
  • User List Report

We are excited about what we have in store for EZLynx Accounting in the coming year.  As always, do not hesitate to give us your feedback!


EZLynx Retention Center adds new Commercial Support

The power of EZLynx Retention Center is now available for your commercial accounts! You will be able to use the same powerful tool that helps agencies efficiently retain customers through patented automation and analytical tools on your commercial renewals, helping to maximize productivity and boost revenue. Retention Center prompts renewal managers to review and communicate with commercial accounts prior to renewal without having to manage cumbersome spreadsheets. Quickly compare changes in the existing policies and the renewal offer with the click of a button.

  • Focused Strategy – Become proactive in your agency’s retention process to review every commercial account at renewal.
  • Expand Insight – Instant view into price and comparison of current policy and renewal to identify any changes.
  • Improved Customer Service – Communicate with every customer prior to the renewal to reinforce your agency’s value.
  • Boost Revenue – Each additional point of commercial retention corresponds to a specific dollar amount for each agency of increased profit.

Expiration List

The Expiration List automatically displays the upcoming commercial renewals. Each agency can customize the specific expiration timeline for personal and commercial separately. This allows the agency to easily proactively communicate with every customer prior to renewal to get the additional information needed to process next years policy.

EZLynx Retention Center - Expiration List

Quickly task out account reviews, remarketing, and account rounding activities to the correct person in your agency.

EZLynx Retention Center - Account Management

Renewal List

Patented automation helps you prioritize and analyze renewal offers on commercial policies. Proactively communicate with every customer at every renewal!

EZLynx Retention Center - Renewal List

If you already use EZLynx Retention Center and would like to participate in the Beta, or if this is the first you have heard about Retention Center and would like to learn about how it can help your agency, let us know below.


EZLynx Sales Center is Introduced at the AgentLynx User Conference

Sales Center Introduced at AgentLynx
Announced at the first annual EZLynx User Conference, EZLynx Sales Center will help agencies grow their business by streamlining the sales pipeline. This is a new product to our existing catalogue of agency solutions which is currently in limited beta release at this time. We are excited to give everyone that couldn’t attend AgentLynx this year a sneak peak at this much anticipated new product. If you think your agency would be a good fit to participate in our beta testing, be sure to fill out the form at the bottom of the page.

EZLynx Sales Center focuses on streamlining an agency’s lead management and sales pipeline for agencies who want to manage the full customer life-cycle, round accounts, and increase new business.

Sales Center will provide easy access to pipeline data and relevant information to assess the success of producers, marketing efforts and sales workflows. Quote information from EZLynx fills into Sales Center to provide the estimated value of each deal, and as it moves through the pipeline, the estimated value becomes more accurate, which allows a producer to forecast sales for month’s end.

EZLynx Sales Center - Opportunities

Sales Center makes it easy for supervisors to track producers progress to make sure they are on target to hit sales goals and maximize agency revenue. Sales dashboards allow owners or sales managers to quickly see close ratios for producers, deal aging, and make data driven decisions for the agency.

EZLynx Sales Center - Summary

Building on our ONE PLATFORM suite, Sales Center seamlessly leverages Rating Engine and Communication Center as you speed the applicant through the sales process.

We believe this product puts us yet another step beyond anything else that exists in our industry, and it continues our on-going mission to provide the complete customer life-cycle solution that agents need to remain productive, competitive, and to maximize their sales and retention potential!


The 2016 AgentLynx User Conference Comes to a Close

AgentLynxThank you to everyone that attended the 2016 AgentLynx User Conference! We were overwhelmed by the response we received from our users and carrier partners. We closed out the week feeling inspired and motivated for the future, and we hope the same is true for you.

There were some exciting announcements that we made at the conference, including our upcoming sales pipeline management tool EZLynx Sales Center, our Amazon Alexa integration, as well as various other details related to our plans for Communication Center, Client Center, and so much more. We’ve got 18 months until the next AgentLynx conference, so we’ve got a lot to do until then to make sure we deliver on everything we promised!

We Still Found Time for Fun

We wrapped up the conference with Disco Night, featuring a live band, great food, and a great time with our customers and colleagues. We will update the AgentLynx website with a full gallery and overview of the conference in the next few weeks, but here’s a quick look. Who knew agents could dance so well!

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Leverage EZLynx Reporting for your Email Marketing Campaigns

EZLynx Email CampaignsGet ready for our upcoming update to EZLynx Email Campaigns in the next few weeks, which includes a completely renovated process for segmenting your existing data for bulk email blasts.

We have been very pleased with the extensive enhancements that have been made so far this year to EZLynx Reporting; so much so that we felt the power of our reporting engine far outstripped our separate email campaign list builder.

As a result, this upcoming update will replace the existing list builder with Saved Reports from EZLynx Reporting. Take advantage of the powerful capabilities of our reporting engine to segment your data using both simple or highly complex filters. Once you have saved the report, it will be available for you to use within EZLynx Email Campaigns, which is part of our Communication Center bundle.

When you start a new campaign, your first step will be to name the campaign and select your recipients. You will be able to manually add individual recipients, select from your available Saved Reports, or choose from one of your static lists that you may have created from within EZLynx Retention Center or from the old list builder tool.

EZLynx Email Campaigns - Saved Reports

Your old lists will still be available to use, but any new or future lists will have to be created from within EZLynx Reporting as a Saved Report.

By making it possible to use our reporting engine to segment your data for Email Campaigns, we have brought a new level of accuracy to your email marketing. We are also excited about the new possibilities it brings, as there are many more filter options available in EZLynx Reporting than we had in our previous list builder.

This Update is Only the Beginning

While this update allows you to use your Saved Reports for campaigns, those campaigns are still using a static version of the report at the time you scheduled the campaign.  While not a big deal for short-term campaigns that are sent immediately, if your campaign has steps that are scheduled throughout the year, your list could get seriously out of date by the time the campaign finishes.

This has always been a problem for any email campaign service that relies on saved or uploaded lists, but we are excited to announce that our Email Campaigns update later this year is going to take your static lists and make them dynamic, allowing you to run Drip Campaigns using your Saved Reports and have those campaigns automatically update in real time before each email is sent.

Imagine being able to have a campaign that sends an email to your prospects every 3 months and automatically removes those recipients that become customers as a result. Schedule a recurring, long-term cross-sell campaign to all your customers that have an active homeowners policy but no auto policy and rest easy knowing that our system will automatically add or remove recipients to the campaign based on whether or not they still meet that criteria. The possibilities are endless, and this is just one of several very exciting enhancements planned for EZLynx Communication Center this year!


Powerful Commercial Enhancements are Coming to EZLynx Soon

We are excited to begin live testing of some powerful commercial features in EZLynx. If you’re interested in participating in the BETA, you can let us know below.

Commercial Package Policy Support

Manual entry only

Maintain more accurate policy information and improve reporting capabilities by truly grouping lines of business within a one single package policy.Newest new Add new Policy

Let’s take a look at the details

When adding a manual personal or commercial package policy in EZLynx, the user can now add the individual policies included in the package.

After selecting either personal or commercial package as the main Line of Business, add any number of individual LOBs and their premiums as you’d like.

The Add & Edit Policy feature prompts the user through a series of tabs for adding detailed policy information; to reduce data entry keying, some tabs gather information that can be shared across multiple policies.

Add new Policy window

Tabs to collect information shared between all policies in the package; for less data entry

Newest Newer Comm Policy PKg

Commercial Applications

The ability to add commercial applications in EZLynx is a huge, time-saving tool for agencies that write commercial business. Complete the application once in EZLynx, then easily create necessary ACORD form for submission to multiple carriers.

Take an application and quickly transform it into a policy or take a policy and create an application from the data.

Comm App

Commercial Proposals

From a Commercial applicant’s Documents tab, click the Add button and select Quote Proposal. Ability to select one manual policy from each LOB, then click Add Quote Proposal. The feature will be expanded to include downloaded policies in the near future.

Supported LOBs:

  • Commercial Auto
  • General Liability
  • Commercial Property
  • More coming soon

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Comm Prop LOB

EZLynx is committed to enhancing our commercial support this year. We’d love to get your feedback!


How to Stay Competitive

Stay Competitive by Using EZLynxToday there are large companies entering the industry which have not historically offered insurance products.  This is causing many small and mid-sized independent agencies to question whether or not they will be able to survive among the new behemoths.

With Walmart offering auto insurance quotes and reports that Google will soon be doing the same, how can independent agencies compete? In an industry that is already dominated by billion-dollar advertising campaigns, individual agencies’ budgets are a small fraction of Walmart and Google’s. So, is there hope for these comparatively smaller agencies?

Sure there is! The outlook for independent agencies is not as bleak as Walmart and Google’s entrance into the insurance industry make it seem. As long as agencies continue to focus on serving people, they will give customers an experience that Walmart and Google struggle to provide.

When surveyed on this subject, agents say:

  • Google and Walmart will generate a different kind of insurance business; it will be similar to Consumer Quoting on an agency’s website – business that agencies struggled with 5 years ago, before they embraced it and learned how to profit from it. Originally, agents did not want this kind of business; they believed it was of was of a transient nature, where customers would switch for a $5 premium difference.
  • Agents are looking at these Walmart and Google models as purely lead generators, not as competitors, and not as threats. Agencies report they are not concerned in any way.
  • Agents believe Google and Walmart will write some auto business, but will not affect their commercial business book at all. However, this doesn’t seem to be the direction that online writers are moving.
  • Independent agents feel there is no “stickiness” to this business, and that it wouldn’t add value to their agency, especially to agency re-sale values.
  • Independent agents say Google and Walmart haven’t worked out the “back room” servicing aspect of this business model, and how to work cohesively with the agencies involved in the process.
  • To date, a very large insurance trade organization hasn’t received any calls from member agencies inquiring about Walmart and Google’s involvement in the industry or shown any concern.
  • One issue that does concern agents is, if the rumors are accurate, that Google and Walmart will be allowed to bind coverage from the carrier sites, while independent agents do not have this privilege. Agents see this as extremely unfair.
  • A common argument of independent agents is that these models sell solely on price, and consumers will not be covered properly. This will lead to more E&O claims, and eventually drive insureds back to the independent agency anyway.

That’s what agents are saying regarding this new era of competition.

So, here are five ways individual insurance agencies can set themselves apart from these box store companies who are entering the insurance industry.  These tips mostly focus on putting customers first.

Have a Real Person Answer the Phone

Instead of directing incoming calls through a phone tree, have a receptionist answer each phone call. Customers want to talk with a live person, not a computer, so don’t send them through a frustrating automated system. Let them talk to someone as quickly as possible. A receptionist can also help with basic office administrative tasks when not answering the phone.

Be Available After Hours

Customers expect their insurance agent to be available at all times. After all, companies like Google and Walmart don’t limit their online operations to business hours. While no single agent can be available constantly, by having all of the agents within an agency work together, you can provide around-the-clock assistance by developing an on-call system. When agents take turns covering for each other during off-hours, they are able to enjoy their personal lives and ensure their customers receive help whenever they need it. Of course, any phone calls that come in after hours should be answered by the agent who is on-call, not an automated system.

Know the Neighborhood

Agencies can set themselves apart from big companies and develop a personal connection with their customers by becoming familiar with the local neighborhood. Large companies that have customers in many states cannot focus in on a small area, but agencies that serve one neighborhood can focus in on that community’s specific needs. Being familiar with concerns commonly found in your local community will let you anticipate, identify with and address the needs of your customer base.

Specialize

There are lots of insurance-related resources on the web, but many of the materials that are readily available only address surface-level issues. Customers often have detailed questions that pertain to their specific circumstances, and they prefer an authoritative source to provide answers. If you specialize in a specific type of insurance, such as auto or homeowners, you will be able to answer the most difficult questions, the ones that can’t be found on websites.

Work on a Team

No agent can specialize in every type of insurance, but an agency can have a team of agents that have different specialties. When agents are knowledgeable in areas where their co-workers are weak, they can work together to answer any customer’s question quickly, so that the customer doesn’t have to seek help elsewhere.

If you’re part of a small- or mid-sized independent insurance agency, don’t fear Walmart and Google’s foray into the industry. Customers have come to you for years because they appreciate the service you provide. Continue to serve them well, and they will continue coming back to your agency.