- Caters for a wide range of small businesses without requiring additional modules
- delivers a productive and well-featured working environment
- affordable price.
- Phone support lines are prone to long wait times.
For a decade or so, Intuit's QuickBooks has set the standard for supportive, well-featured and economical small business accounting in the UK. QuickBooks 2002 Pro (a.k.a. QuickBooks Pro Version 10) continues that legacy. In the 2002 release, a dozen or so new features and enhancements improve its accounting functionality, and provide a better fit with 'real-world' business practices.Under the surface, QuickBooks 2002 Pro implements a standard double-entry accounting system that includes multi-user capability, purchase order processing, stock and payroll control, multi-currency accounting, and time and expense billing. Analysis is provided via the standard accounting reports, along with a wide range of customisable reports and charts. If you use Microsoft Office, QuickBooks 2002 Pro integrates with Word and Excel for letter and report generation, and with Outlook for customer and supplier information. For day-to-day use, the complexity of double-entry bookkeeping is completely hidden: users work in windows structured to look like familiar paper forms such as ledger pages, invoices, bills and cheques.
Installation and setup
Setting up QuickBooks 2002 Pro is not a five-minute job, and it can take some time to become sufficiently expert in its use to feel really in control of your business. Small businesses, sole traders and partnerships all get excellent support in setting up their accounting system. The process begins with a simple on-screen 'interview' that helps QuickBooks 2002 Pro select and tailor an account structure appropriate for your type of business. Sets of account structure templates are provided for different business types that range through construction, consulting, distribution, law firms, restaurants, retailing, service businesses and sales agents. To build up confidence in its use, a 'typical' small business account system for hands-on exploration is provided. The on-line Help system and User's Guide are both excellent.
A number of new features help QuickBooks 2002 Pro give better support for real-world business practices. The new Sales Order form introduces a preliminary stage into the invoicing process. You use a Sales Order form to record all inventory items or services for an order -- whether they are deliverable immediately or slated for future availability. A single button-click then allows an invoice to be raised for those items that are in stock or services that are available, with those items marked as 'Closed' in the Sales Order form. The same 'sign off' process is repeated for other items or services as they become available until the order is completed -- at which point the sales order form is automatically marked as 'Invoiced in full'. There are a couple of other notable Sales Order form features: a single mouse click from the form now automatically generates a delivery note listing the items to be shipped; and the facility is cross linked into invoicing procedures so that when you create an invoice for a customer with an open sales order, the details of the outstanding items are automatically made available through a new Available Sales Order window. QuickBooks 2002 Pro's sales-related forms now accommodate an email address and Web site URL. The program's reports have also been reworked to include optional additional columns for information such as customer phone numbers or email addresses. The reworked Job Estimate facility now allows several estimates to be created and managed for the same job. Supporting this change, the new Estimates by Job report helps track estimates by job, and when an invoice is created from one estimate and the others inactivated, their new statuses are reflected in the report. At last, the problem of customers paying a lump sum to cover several invoices has been solved: you can now apply a lump sum across several jobs in a single operation. QuickBooks 2002 Pro's Payroll module has also been extended. As well as calculating appropriate deductions using Intuit's subscription-based Tax tables, creating pay slips and year end reports, it now also generates P45 forms to be given to departing employees. This is done quite easily by entering the leaving date in the employee's profile and then, from the Employee menu, selecting the 'P45 for leavers' item.
To help small businesses change with the times and work in the online world, Intuit now provides a Merchant Credit Card service that can be integrated into QuickBooks 2002 Pro. This service allows a trader to take orders and payments online, by email, by phone or by post. To use QuickBooks 2002 Pro in this way as your trading system, you first establish a credit card account. This QuickBooks Merchant account is set up from within the program and lets you accept payments in UK pounds or Euros. In QuickBooks 2002 Pro, the Receive Payments, Credit and Cash Sales forms are adapted for working with credit card payments and credit card data is saved within the application in an encrypted format for security. The QuickBooks Merchant account also lets you email an invoice to a customer who can pay the invoice by clicking on a link to make an online payment. This service does not require deposits, fees or a specific monthly level of online trading. Charging is on a per transaction basis. Intuit also seems to have been doing some crystal ball gazing: in QuickBooks 2002 Pro there is now the ability to automatically convert an accounts system from working in pounds sterling to working in Euros This degree of future proofing should appeal to all but the most hardened euro-sceptic!