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Logo of Intuit QuickBooks, which works with Acctivate Inventory Software used by Rainbow Book Company to optimize business operations
Acctivate Customer

Rainbow Book Company

Acctivate’s Mobile Inventory Receiving has saved us an incredible amount of time. It used to be a double time process for our warehouse manager. Now he sits down, opens a box, pulls up the PO on the handheld unit, and can check in books and receive POs in about half the time.”
Michael Sherman
Rainbow Book, distributor of Pre-K to high school level library books
Acctivate Inventory Software customer - Rainbow Book

Great ideas and vivid imaginations are powered by bright minds – and bright minds are cultivated by Rainbow Book Company

Rainbow Book Company is a distributor of Pre-K to high school level library books.

Rainbow Book Company staff
Rainbow Book Company’s onsite team

“The company was started by my father and brother in 1996. At the time, it was my dad and my brother with two other sales representatives and I joined about five years later. We now have 34 sales representatives across the country and yield around $6 ½-$7 million a year,” said Michael Sherman, Co-owner.

Rainbow Book Company’s tremendous success is rooted in the high level of customer service and personalization they provide.

“There’s a lot of people who do what we do but our goal is to make sure every customer is happy and we do whatever it takes to make sure our customers are happy.”

“When we go to the schools and libraries to show books, we actually bring the books out as opposed to our competitors, who just allow their customers to purchase online. So our customers get to actually see, feel, touch, see the size of the text, and see the illustrations that are in the book to make the decision whether or not that book fits the curriculum for their particular students, as opposed to just doing it on a very generalized basis.”

Rainbow Book Company carries a vast range of inventory by grade level, publisher, title etc. and continually add to their inventory every year.

We are currently at about 250,000 items because every semester, we add the newest copyright titles to our inventory list and with that growth and with our ability to continue moving forward over the years, we’ve had 2500 to 5000 new titles a year. Before we had Acctivate, that didn’t give us a lot of time before we ran into needing a larger database to maintain our item or inventory list.”

Book Company carries a vast range of inventory

Their early version of QuickBooks limited Rainbow Book Company to storing only 25,000 products, which they had surpassed. Plus, their QuickBooks data file was a little over two gigabytes, 20 times more than what QuickBooks recommended. This was slowing down their system.

We got to a point where we needed to move to something bigger and better,” said Sherman.

Acctivate for QuickBooks becomes their “bigger and better” solution

Rainbow Book Company urgently needed a solution that would be able to handle their enormous — and ever-increasing — inventory levels.

QuickBooks just wouldn’t function anymore because we couldn’t add any additional items so finding a solution was a necessity. We looked into a number of different options and Acctivate was clearly the best option at that point and as we have grown, Acctivate has grown with us and allowed us to continue to operate our inventory management successfully.”

Sherman detailed the search process that led to Acctivate…

We looked to Intuit and Acctivate was listed as a Gold partner. So we looked at Acctivate, a competing ERP system, and one other software that we would have had to completely rebuild our accounting package for.”

Rainbow Book distribution handled with Acctivate

They decided that adding Acctivate, with the highest level of status an add-on can achieve, to QuickBooks was a powerful combination that could fulfill their company’s precise needs.

We were happy with the financial reporting in QuickBooks and Acctivate as an add-on allows us to do our order entry and inventory management through that and synchronize with QuickBooks.
We’ve been pretty lucky with Acctivate and QuickBooks. Our ability to report financial information to our banks and lenders through QuickBooks is fairly easy, and our ability to use Acctivate for order entry and inventory management has been a very good option for us.”

They had truly outgrown QuickBooks and they found the solution they needed with Acctivate – without abandoning QuickBooks. Instead, they extended its capabilities.

No limits, just growth with Acctivate

Beyond accommodating their high inventory volume, Acctivate also provides Rainbow Book Company with additional capabilities that have increased efficiency, met the needs of its business model, and satisfied customers.

Real time information

“It’s imperative to us to have all of our users be able to access the same system in real-time. We have 34 sales reps out in the field and our goal is to have all 34 of them out there working at the same time selling books – so they’re out there in real-time entering orders so that we can complete the orders and run our business effectively.”

Sherman described the importance of Acctivate to their business operations…

“We do everything right out of our main location so our entire operation runs through here. The sales reps send all their orders in here and we’ll pick, pack, pull and ship and do customer service and processing for these books all at our centralized location.”

Acctivate was Rainbow Book Company's “bigger and better” solution

He continued…

The advantage of Acctivate is that I have 34 salespeople that can access the system at the same time and enter their orders in real-time as they’re writing their order with the customer.
The eight other people at the office that are logged in at the same time have the ability to look at orders, and review items to pick and pull the orders that need to be shipped.
With the way we’re set up, we can run any reports that are necessary, look at any order that is necessary, do any customer service that is necessary – and everybody can do that simultaneously with Acctivate.”

Sales Order Management

Before Acctivate, it was double-entry – sales reps would write their orders and send the order on paper to us and we would have to re-enter every one of their orders that were sent in.
Now they enter the orders through Acctivate and all we have to do is review the orders – as opposed to having to re-enter them.”

Credit Management & Collections

Rainbow Book Company processes high volume orders that can range anywhere from $500-$17,000 – making credit management and collections an especially crucial aspect of their business management.

We use the credit tab in Acctivate in order to note each and every call, email, and letter that we send out in attempt to collect, which allows the rest of the people in the company to know exactly where to go to find that information when necessary.”


Acctivate’s Kitting feature enables Rainbow Book Company to make book sets to sell to their customers on demand.

“For example, we will have a set of books called “Shapes” and then we’ll have the four, five, six or eight components of that set that will be listed individually.”

Sherman on the benefits of Acctivate’s Kitting feature…

Rainbow Book uses inventory management software

Kitting in Acctivate saves the reps time in the field because they can scan one barcode that enters the six books in that set and then we can print an order out for a librarian that includes the components so they can see all the components of that set. It really saves them time by not having to scan each individual book, but instead being able to do it through a set number.”

Shipping & Receiving

Library book distributor, Rainbow Book

Rainbow Book Company uses UPS® integrated to Acctivate’s Shipping Workstation Interface to ship between 50 to 100 boxes of their products per day.

The speed with which we can get our warehouse guys back to work, instead of sitting at the shipping station has clearly increased with Acctivate.”

Sherman described the efficiency that Acctivate’s shipping integration provides Rainbow Book Company…

The Shipping Workstation Interface integration with Acctivate saves us a ton of time. We use barcodes on our orders so as we interface with UPS, we use a barcode scanner to scan the barcode on the order and it automatically populates the order number in the UPS field and then populates all the shipping information as necessary. It also allows us to add email information which in turn allows us to notify our customers through UPS WorldShip as soon as an order gets shipped.”

Rainbow Book Company also receives product into inventory using a mobile handheld device and Acctivate. This allows them to receive at their dock as opposed to their office, which is much quicker.

Acctivate’s Mobile Inventory Receiving has saved us an incredible amount of time. It used to be a double-time process for our warehouse manager trying to open the boxes, separate, receive, and review the purchase orders. Now he sits down, opens a box, pulls up the PO on the handheld unit, and can check in books and receive POs in about half the time.”

Customer Service

Before Acctivate, Rainbow Book Company would write customer issues on the front of orders and have to pull the order paperwork every time to see that information. Now they have all the information in Acctivate and available in an instant.

We make sure that any time that a customer calls in, we make an activity for it in Acctivate and we link it to both the customer and the order. This allows us if that customer were to call in again to know when they called in, what their issues were and how they were resolved. Acctivate has been extremely helpful in being able to manage each customer and their various orders over the years.”

A bright future ahead with Acctivate

Rainbow Book handles business operations with Acctivate

I couldn’t run the business without Acctivate. It provides me all the information that I need in order to project one year out, five years out, or 10 years out, as well as what we need to be doing and how I need to deal with our banks and lenders.
Acctivate allows me to review and forecast commissions, sales, internal payroll, etc. and it just gives me such a great view of everything that’s going on that I need in order to run the business.
I appreciate what Acctivate does for us. We’ve worked together since 2005 and Acctivate’s tech support is great. Zach is responsive, helpful, and a very easy person to deal with.”

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