Tech at Work: QuickBooks 2007 Adds Google Online Marketing Services
At a Glance
Accounting software isn't just for accountants. Your marketing manager may be as interested in the new features of the 2007 edition of Intuit's QuickBooks as your bookkeeper.
The latest version of the market-leading small business accounting software integrates with more online services, lets you easily customize forms, and makes it easier for your accountant to adjust your financial records.
While Intuit has long offered online financial services such as payroll, QuickBooks 2007 adds support for new marketing-related services from Google that can help boost your sales. You can easily list your business on Google Maps to help local customers find it, and you can advertise online to attract new ones using Google AdWords ($50 credit included, normal charges apply). Another new feature, the QuickBooks Product Listing Service, makes your products more easily found by prospects searching on Google.
In my tests with a shipping copy, I found that QuickBooks Premier Edition 2007 ($400) also makes it easier to customize accounting forms, such as invoices. For starters, QuickBooks now consolidates the most popular customization options on one screen. And a new auto-preview capability lets you see what your form will look like before you print it.
The new version of QuickBooks also makes it easier for an outside accountant to make adjustments to your books while you continue to work on them. To do this, you create an accountant's copy of your QuickBooks file, specifying what Intuit calls a Dividing Date. You then send the copy to the accountant, who can only adjust or create entries prior to this dividing date; meanwhile, you can work on the original file, but only changing or creating entries after the date. When the accountant completes his or her work and returns the copy to you, you can then import the adjusting entries into your original QuickBooks file.
Fewer Choices, Easier Setup
Sometimes less is more. Intuit has slashed the selection of industry-specific charts of accounts offered during the startup process from more than 100 different types to 30 or so. The default number of accounts in each industry chart of accounts has also been reduced, from approximately 70 to between 25 and 30. The reduction in options should make it easier for first-time users without formal accounting training to set up their books.
If your business buys goods in bulk (by the case, for example) but sells them individually or in small quantities, you'll appreciate QuickBooks Premier's support for the automatic conversion of inventory items into different units of measure. This reduces the risk of error in the manual conversion previously required.
One glaring omission in QuickBooks continues to be the lack of foreign currency support, which is important to many import/export businesses. Both Sage's Simply Accounting and Microsoft's beta version of Office Accounting 2007 offer this capability.
Nonetheless, QuickBooks 2007's new features, including an improved payroll dashboard that makes it easier to pay all employees at once, make it a worthwhile upgrade for current users. While QuickBooks is priced higher than most of its rivals, its mature, robust set of features make the extra expense worthwhile to many new users. If you don't require all the power and online service integration of QuickBooks Premier, consider Sage's Simply Accounting, a well-rounded package for a fraction of the price.
Intuit QuickBooks 2007
Integration of marketing-related online services adds value to this venerable small-business accounting package.
$$400 (Premier Edition)
Current prices (if available)