Business-like, isn't he?



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    Business in Vancouver February 14-20, 2006; issue 851

    High Tech Office

    Alan Zisman

    Success multiplies for Simply Accounting

    We're No. 1? You might expect that we would all be aware of a locally based software product celebrating its 20th anniversary that was No. 1 in its class.

    But somehow, I'd managed to lose track of Simply Accounting, originally developed by Burnaby-based Bedford Software, which passed through several hands on its way to present owners, Sage Software (formerly known as Best Software). Though British-owned since 2004, Simply Accounting continues to be developed here (in Richmond, to be exact). And in June 2005, AC Nielsen rated it Canada's No.1 best-selling small business accounting software, with a 57 per cent market share. Sage's Leslie Schultz credits the software with 400,000 Canadian small business users; nearly double the number using competitor QuickBooks.

    The Windows-based software has evolved into a family of products, with 2006 editions including a Basic package ($150), a Pro version for multiple users ($270 for a two-user version, $700 for six users), and a Premium edition ($450 for two users, $1,000 for six users). New to this year's lineup are an Accountants' edition, for accounting professionals with Simple Accounting-using clients, and an Entrepreneur edition ($100) focusing on small and home-based business owners.

    All 2006 versions promise a simplified user interface with re-organized menus and a new home window for quick access to common activities. Cheque printing has been updated to comply with new Canadian Payments Association cheque standards. There's an improved form designer for creating customized invoices and other business forms from the accounting data. JPEG images of inventory items can be displayed and Excel data can be imported and exported. Simply Accounting data can be merged with form letters generated by Microsoft Word.

    The new Entrepreneur edition tries to replace accounting jargon with everyday language, enabling new business owners to simplify and automate expense tracking and billing customers.

    The Basic edition provides quick setup for entry-level accounting and promises non-accountants the ability to prepare invoices, write cheques, track inventory, handle simple payrolls and manage customers and suppliers.

    The Pro edition adds real-time multiple-user access, form templates, detailed project budgeting, multiple-currency support and expanded data search capabilities.

    Specialized features are aimed at service, inventory and manufacturing companies. This version can integrate with Sage's ACT! contact management program and with Microsoft Outlook. The Premium edition supports growing businesses with multiple locations or divisions and adds enhanced inventory tracking and financial reports. Custom reports for the Premium edition are available for construction, retail, professional services, property management and accommodations or can be created using the included copy of Crystal Reports for Simply Accounting.

    Previously, accountants needed to install each edition of Simply Accounting in use by their clients; a single installation of the new Accountants' Edition will enable accountants to work with client data generated by any 2006 version and to synchronize year-end entries with client data files.

    All versions include a full-time audit trail to help ensure accounting integrity. General ledger, employee, inventory, and other data can be imported from recent versions of Quickbooks, MYOB and Quicken.

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