Quickbooks. (integrated accounting software) (Evaluation)
by Beth Duval
Do ledgers, taxes, and reconciling checkbook balances send you running to the nearest accountant? One painless way to get control of your company's finances is Quickbooks from Intuit, and you won't need 30 hours of accounting classes to use it. Just write invoices and pay bills the way you always have. Quickbooks does all the accounting you need in the background, and you never have to enter anything twice.
Your first step is setting up your company's chart of accounts. Quickbooks offers a preset list of charts you can customize for your own use to track the money that flows in and out of your company. Every transaction you make through Quickbooks will be assigned to one of those accounts; you get a running balance sheet that lets you know to the penny the financial state of your business.
Transactions are a breeze. Invoices look like invoices, and checks look like checks. Simply enter your bills as you receive them. Each bill is assigned to an account or divided among as many accounts as you want. Quickbooks prompts you for any information needed about customers or vendors, and the information is saved in lists. When you pay bills and write checks, Quickbooks uses these lists to fill in most of the information for you. After a while, you'll find yourself doing very little typing at all.
When your bills are due, Quickbooks prompts you with a reminder window. Then you can choose either to pay all the bills at one time or to make partial payments on some. Quickbooks also allows you the flexibility of multiple checking accounts and will even print the checks for you, Simply pull up the checking-account ledger, double-click on the bill, and the checks appear written out for you. You don't have to print out your checks, however; you can continue to write them manually if you want or pay them electronically through Checkfree.
Whenever you're ready to see where you are, you can always pull up any of the 50 preset reports or customize your own reports to suit your business needs. If you prefer a little color, Quickbooks can create graphs as well.
But Quickbooks is much more than a glorified checkbook. It will also handle cash sales, create invoices, and receive payments. Quickbooks provides three different types of invoices and lets you track customers, assign credit limits, and accept payments in cash or by check or credit card.
QCards is another handy feature that's included. Tutorial cards appear with each window to explain how everything inside the window works. Once you've learned your way around the software, you can shut off QCards through Preferences. Quickbooks also includes a calculator, but you probably won't need it, since the software does most of the math for you.
Don't worry if you're not sure what a debit is or how FICA works: Quickbooks uses hardly any technical jargon; everything is written in plain English. You'll be amazed at how quickly your books fall into place.