BestBooks. (Teleware's integrated accounting software) (Software Review) (Evaluation)
by Kathy Yakal
Though the dividing lines aren't crystal-clear, financial management software falls into three basic groups: personal finance products such as Quicken and Managing Your Money (used, too, by small businesses); entry-level accounting packages (such as DacEasy and One-write Plus) used by small and midsized businesses; and professional packages (generally sold as separate modules that integrate) used by CPAS.
Teleware - which brought us the popular entry-level product MYOB for the PC and Macintosh - has released a product positioned somewhere between the first two classes of financial software. Bestbooks, at a suggested retail price of $99, is aimed at users who've outgrown their personal finance packages but don't need all the features of the midrange systems.
Though it lacks sophisticated inventory tracking, purchase orders, a realtime balance sheet, P & L analysis, and customer contact management, BestBooks looks and feels much like its big sister, MYOB.
Predefined Charts of Accounts for more than 30 types of businesses make it easy for you to get up and running quickly.
The main screen's Command Center quickly shows you that the program's functions are divided into Lists, Checkbook, Sales & Receivables, Purchases & Payables, Card File, and Administration. Click on one of those buttons, and a small flow chart in the right side of the box illustrates the logical order to go through tasks in that function. Then click on the desired function, and BestBooks pops up the correct form.
As is standard in most of today's financial software, forms resemble their real-life counterparts. You simply fill them out, customizing their layout first if you want. To speed up data entry, keystroke combinations pop up lists of your customers and vendors, for example, and "zooming arrows" give you access to deeper detail. If you're in the card file and click on a company name, a dialog box pops up to show you its tax and credit terms and sales history.
As is also standard, BestBooks doesn't require you to know "CPA-ese"; while it performs double-entry bookkeeping, it uses terminology easily understood by someone not well versed in bookkeeping language. And all the program's functions are integrated, which avoids repetition of data entry and, ultimately, speeds up the accounting process.
More than 70 reports can be customized and printed, including 21 financial reports (P&L, Balance Sheet, Trial Balance), six checkbook reports, and 23 sales reports. The program also lets you memorize transactions for recurring entry and post transactions alone or in batches. It prints labels, keeps an updated to-do list, reconciles accounts, and has password protection.
Bestbooks lacks a payroll module, and it's not a multiuser system. But it's a great choice for many users who haven't yet found an exact fit in the accounting software market, or who've outgrown less-powerful products.