services to help build business fiscal wellness
by Alan Zisman (c) 2004 First
published in Business
15-21, 2004; issue 764; High Tech Office
One thing every business needs to know is where the money is: what's
come in, what's gone out, and what's outstanding. Proper bookkeeping
should be an everyday habit like brushing one's teeth. But for many of
us, it's more like going to the dentist: something to be put off as
long as possible.
can't help with your oral hygiene, but this local Internet service
thinks it can help local businesses keep track of their finances.
Subscribers get a small, easy-to-use scanner that's set up to enable
users to quickly scan paper invoices and receipts, which get
automatically converted to PDF documents, and sent online to
Ledgersonline for processing.
The company has worked hard to make the scanning, saving,
archiving, organizing and uploading of documents simple and
Ledgersonline takes the digitized slips of paper and generates cheques,
reports and financial statements, informing the client via e-mail that
there's something ready to be viewed or printed.
Their Virtual Accountant plan goes beyond keeping simple
to include bank reconciliations, accounts payable and receivable,
payroll, inventory and more. And financial data is always available
With products like Quicken and Quickbooks, Intuit has done lots to make
it possible for individuals and small businesses to keep their
financial data under control. Sensing a market that wants more than
just a bare software package, they've been bundling their products in a
variety of ways to help small business people get up and running more
Business Tool Kit
as the name suggests, is built around their Quicken XG personal and
financial manager. Aimed at small businesses, this package can be
installed on up to four computers, and includes tools to track the time
spent on individual projects or with each client. Free start-up support
allows users to talk to an Intuit consultant on getting the product
installed and customized.
The $150 Business Tool
also includes (on CD-ROM) a copy of local author Frances McGuckin's
business bestseller Business for Beginners, helping aspiring small
business-people learn about legal and tax requirements, build
entrepreneurial skills, develop a business plan and survive a home
office. If you don't need a copy of Quicken and can't imagine reading
McGuckin's book onscreen, a real paper copy is included in Global Star
Software's Business Suite
software package. This two-CD set also bundles various programs aimed
at small businesses, including sets of legal and business forms,
business plan software, a set of financial tools, including mortgage
and bond calculations, and a business card maker, along with McAfee
VirusScan. About $70.
New or home-based small businesses needing more power may want to take
a look at Intuit's Quickbooks
package, ($150 before $50 rebate or $10 per
Intuit has taken steps to hide the complexity of its accounting
package, promising an entry-level bookkeeping solution that can be set
up to manage a business in five "effortless steps."
It's aimed at new, small start-up businesses, often home-based, with
one or two employees, especially services with no inventory tracking,
and is slimmed down to provide the essentials: estimates and invoices,
customer and vendor tracking, simple one-click reports, GST and PST
tracking and payments.
For small business owners interested in the Linux alternative as a way
to save money on software purchases while saving time battling computer
crashes, viruses and worms, John Lanthrop's Linux in Small Businesses
Books, $50) offers a practical user's guide, walking the reader through
a variety of real-world scenarios.