Business-like, isn't he?



Business in Vancouver: News that works for you

    Number-crunching software segmented by industry

    by  Alan Zisman (c) 2003 First published in Business in Vancouver ,  Issue #710 June 4-10 2003 High Tech Office  column

    Many Canadian small businesses have grown up using Intuit Canada’s QuickBooks accounting software. According to Intuit’s Dave Ludwick, the newest version of QuickBooks has grown up along with those businesses.

    However, instead of ‘version’, this around it’s really ‘versions’. Intuit has released six $499 Custom Editions of its Premier Edition aimed at individual industries: contractors, retailers, nonprofit groups, consultants, property managers and accountants each get a version customized for their specific needs, including industry-specific reports, account lists, and tips from industry experts.

    The Contractor Edition creates estimate, contracts, and invoices, and lets contractors implement and track holdbacks. It makes it easy to tell which jobs are making money and which aren’t. The Association and Non-Profit Edition is aimed at membership-based organizations, and helps them track fund-raising efforts, to see which are the most effective. It can be used to track members, volunteers, and donors, and can even automate thank-you letters. It can be used to issue tax receipts for donations.

    The Property Management Edition helps manage multiple-unit buildings, providing information by suite or by building. Built-in forms make it easy to print out leases and manage deposits and repairs.

    The Retail Edition helps users identify which inventory items are selling well, and can track sales by item, salesperson, or customer, and can provide instant stock status information. The Professional Services Edition shows which jobs or clients are making money; time and billing functions simplify tracking time spent on a job and creating professionally-designed invoices.

    The Accounting Edition, introduced last year, lets accountants modify reports for their clients, lock prior accounting periods, and control access to sensitive data. Users can use audit trail data to track changes in transactions.

    All six editions, created in Canada to reflect local needs, include remote access. Intuit guarantees set up; QuickBook customers are assured that their bookkeeping system is set up to meet their needs right from the start. According to Ludwick, this typically takes a company anywhere from one to ten hours; Intuit promises one-to-one help with professionals specializing in the various fields.

    After this free initial setup support, a range of support programs are available, if desired; Intuit’s Continuous Service option, for example, provides unlimited technical support and access to a private website for $50 per month ($55 with payroll service).

    If you’re not covered by one of the Custom Editions, QuickBooks Premier is also available in a generic edition. All versions now feature the ability to print out T4 and record of employment forms on blank paper. As well, users can keep track of stock across different units of measurement: buying by the palette while selling by the case, for example, or to track the variety of inventory items needed to create a finished product.

    QuickBooks Premier (including the Custom Editions) are PC only, but Intuit has recently released new, OS X-capable Mac versions, including a new QuickBooks Accounts for Mac-using businesses with multiple users. Apple has bundled the OS X Mac-QuickBooks with its new PowerBook notebook models.

    QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions is targeting a new market for Intuit: companies that have grown up and now have up to 250 employees and $1 million or more in revenue. And the company is expecting to release a new Point of Sale edition around the time you read this.

    With TV channels aimed at gardeners, cooks, and sci-fi fans, narrowcasting has worked for the cable-TV providers. Intuit Canada hopes that the same strategy will help it provide accounting software to an increasing range of Canadian businesses.

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Alan Zisman is a Vancouver educator, writer, and computer specialist. He can be reached at E-mail Alan