October 30, 2008
As our client, we want to advise you about the most recent developments within Intuit’s QuickBooks Accounting Software. We do this so that your organization can consider what software changes might be warranted to maintain a “best practices” approach to accounting, financial record keeping and income tax preparation.
Although some public accounting firms require that their clients maintain the most up-to-date accounting software, we do not have such a policy. Rather we work with our clients to help them determine what systems and updates are most cost effective and efficient for their purpose. Therefore, we have reviewed and summarized the QuickBooks 2007 package for you below. We highly recommend upgrading to this version particularly due to certain incompatibilities that previous versions have with certain software packages and operating systems:
Only QuickBooks 2007 will be compatible with the new Microsoft Vista for Windows. Vista will not even allow for the uploading of older versions. So if you plan on getting a new computer that will use QuickBooks within the next year, an upgrade is in order.
QuickBooks versions prior to 2006 are not compatible with the newest release of Microsoft Internet Explorer. Thus the help menu and any other reasons your QuickBooks file may need to communicate with the internet (payroll, bank downloads), will not function properly.
What’s new in 2007
QuickBooks continually improves their product. The changes don’t always warrant clients to upgrade each year. The changes between the 2005 and 2006 versions were remarkable. The new 2007 version does not vary greatly from 2006, but there are a few notable upgrades. Here are some worth mentioning.
New version of the Accountants' copy. The software sets a closing date so that the accountant and client can work on audits, reviews, and compilations in a more efficient way and integrate the results of the accountants’ work seamlessly into the clients’ records.
Smoother mapping to our tax calculation software, so working with us at year end and entering audit adjustments will be a much more streamlined process.
You must have Windows operating system 2000 or XP in order to upgrade to the 2006 and 2007 versions of QuickBooks. You will not be able to upgrade if you are still using Windows 98, NT or earlier operating systems. Therefore, if you will continue to use an older operating system, do not upgrade to Microsoft Internet Explorer version 7.
Most versions easily export all of your business data into Lacerte, which is our tax preparation software. This means that once we obtain your data file and correctly map the accounts to our tax program, the data entry time to prepare your return will be reduced when each tax season comes around.
QuickBooks offers several different versions of the software. To assist you in selecting one that is right for your company, we reviewed each version and will share with you our suggestions and observations:
QuickBooks Simple Start- $99 ($79 with discount)
This is the most basic version offered. It allows you to print checks and track expenses. You can create invoices but it doesn’t track accounts receivable or allow you to print a balance sheet. You are limited, however, to 20 customers and vendors. This limited functionality makes QuickBooks Simple Start an unappealing choice for businesses.
QuickBooks Pro - $199($159 with discount)
QuickBooks Pro is the middle-of-the-road version of QuickBooks that many of our clients currently use. It provides expanded functionality and integration alternatives not available with QuickBooks Simple Start, yet is less costly than the Premier version.
The Pro version adds many enhancements such as:
- estimates - vehicle mileage tracker
- track employee time and automatically add to invoices - printable form 1096
- advanced job costing features - fixed asset list
- progress invoicing - cash flow projector
- integration with Word and Excel - email forms and reports
- form template editing capabilities - multiple price levels
- printable packing lists generated from invoice forms - import Excel lists
- loan manager to allocate interest and principal payments - free support for 30 days
- Print shipping labels from FedEx and UPS
QuickBooks Premier- $399 ($319 with discount)
This higher version is ideal for accounting and income tax preparation and can be purchased for your specific industry.
The Premier version includes all of the features outlined above, plus:
- Expert Analysis Tools (for industry comparisons) - sales order capability
- ability to reverse journal entries - import report templates
- create a business plan and budget forecast - set price levels per-item
- inventory assembly builds - remote access option
- simplify bank reconciliation print discrepancy reports - order fulfillment planning
You can order the Premier version in industry specific editions:
Retail edition - Enhanced sales tracking & reporting and integrates with Point of Sale
Contractor edition – Job costing center to help manage projects better
Manufacturing and Wholesale edition – Most robust inventory tools
Non-Profit edition – Donor tracking
Professional Services edition – Time tracking, flexible billing levels
Accountant edition – Integrated financial statement designer and fixed asset manager
QuickBooks Online - $20 a month ($16 with discount)
This internet version of the program allows 24-hour access online from any computer (PC platform only). Users pay a monthly subscription fee, instead of purchasing the desktop version. The biggest advantage is that you can access it from any computer that has an internet connection. You do not have to have the program installed on your PC. The data file resides on Intuit’s website, so you don’t have to make backups or email copies to us. If you travel or work from multiple locations, you can do your accounting without worrying about backing up and restoring files. The disadvantages are that the online version does not have many of the features of the desktop versions. It is more cumbersome to move around the menus and drill down to transactions. Even with a fast internet connection, it operates slower than the desktop version, so it is not recommended for large data files. It does not support online banking or bill pay. It is better suited for small companies where mobility is the key factor.
QuickBooks on Macintosh
Intuit, the makers of QuickBooks, had abandoned the Macintosh platform for a few years. Even though they are currently making annual improvements, the product is still lacking in functionality compared to the PC product. So our firm recommends purchasing the PC product and running it via virtual PC on the MAC.
QuickBooks also has a POS system available for retailers. You may also subscribe to several services which work with your QuickBooks software, such as Online Bill Payment, Intuit Payroll Services, and Merchant Account Services. Please discuss these options with us if you would like more information.
If you are currently using a different accounting package such as MYOB or Peachtree, feel free to call us for a comparison between your current software and QuickBooks. QuickBooks is the best all-around package but there are circumstances where MYOB or Peachtree may be a better solution for your company.
Please also note that our firm is in no way affiliated with QuickBooks, and we will not benefit at all from sales of the product. But based on the above information, we'd strongly recommend upgrading to the 2007 version. Please let us know if you would like an order form, which entitles you, as a client of our firm, to receive a 15%-20% discount on purchases of QuickBooks software.
We hope that you will consider the benefits of upgrading to QuickBooks 2007 in the near future. Please contact our office if you would like to discuss QuickBooks or any other business solutions that we may be able to assist you with.