Takin' Care of Business. (software) (evaluation)
by Bob Guerra
Managing a business is tough, and half the battle is keeping records. Takin' Care of business may be the answer. It's an integrated accounting package designed to help small- to medium-sized businesses manage their financial information. The package comes with six modules: General Ledger, Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, Account Reconciliation, Payroll, and Financial Utilities. Two additional modules-Inventory and Point of Sale/Invoicing-should be available by the time you read this. The program comes with a separate manual for each of the modules, as well as an introductory manual called Getting Started.
Installing the program's eight 5 1/4-inch floppies onto a hard drive is easy with the included Install program. Once up and running, the program can be configured with your preferences for screen colors, printing options, menu types, sound, and so on. You can also specify two levels of passwords for each of the modules. A first-level password allows access to all functions of a module except viewing or printing reports, while a second-level password allows unrestricted access to all functions. The configuration menu also includes a data-file backup utility. For large files, however, you're probably better off using a backup utility that also compresses the files.
Although Takin' Care of Business is designed for use by nonaccountants, a knowledge of basic accounting principles will help you to understand how the program works. The General Ledger module, for example, is a double-entry bookkeeping system in which debits must equal credits and assets are the sum of your liabilities and equity. These accounting principles are described briefly in the User's Manual, but it's also recommended that you consult an accounting or bookkeeping text for a more detailed explanation. Fortunately, the program comes with several sample files and sample accounts already created so you can experiment with various types of transactions to see how they affect both sides of the ledger.
Up to 2000 accounts can be maintained in the General Ledger, and the number of transactions you may enter in any given year is limited only by your disk space. Recurring transactions can be specified as monthly, semimonthly, biweekly and weekly. A wide variety of financial reports can be generated and output to the screen, printer, or disk. Account balances can be compared using pie, bar, or line graphs.
The Accounts Receivable module lets you keep track of up to 2000 customers. Using this module, you can produce invoices and easily generate receivable aging reports that will list those customers with delinquent bills. The program will even print the address labels so you can send reminders to those with accounts past due.
On the other side of the coin, the Accounts Payable module will help you keep track of your vendor payables to ensure that your company's bills get paid on time. Again, this module is feature-packed, allowing an unlimited number of transactions, computer generation of either continuousor laser-form checks, and several types of reports. Takin' Care of Business doesn't allow you to design report formats from scratch, but the existing formats are all thoughtfully designed and quite useful without modification.
The Payroll module can help you keep the paychecks rolling out for up to 1000 employees. The module includes income tax tables from most states and allows automatic tax deductions of both federal and state taxes. It also lets you easily track vacation, sick time, overtime, holidays, and two overtime categories for all of your employees. Again, mailing labels, and several types of reports (including W-2 and 1099 forms) can be generated from within this module.
It should be emphasized here that the Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, and Payroll modules are all fully integrated with the General Ledger so that transactions entered in any one module are automatically recorded where appropriate in others. The other modules-Financial Utilities and Account Reconciliation-aren't integrated in this same way, but both are easily accessible from the other modules.
The Financial Utilities module lets you analyze loans, investments such as annuities, and various types of depreciation (straight line, declining balance, and so on), while the Account Reconciliation module serves to automate the balancing of your checkbook and helps you to monitor the balances of your credit cards. This module seems superfluous in a business package, and other programs such as MoneyCounts by Parson's Technology are better at handling personal finances.
Nevertheless, Takin' Care of Business is a reasonable accounting solution for any small business with a growing amount of financial data to get under control. Seeing all that Takin' Care of business can do will make you wonder how any small company can get off the ground without such a program.
IBM PC, XT, AT, PS/2 or compatible with hard disk; MS-DOS 2.0 or higher; 512K
P.O. Box 50200
Colorado Springs, CO 80949