Accounting and QuickBooks: accounting twins separated at birth
Alan Zisman (c) 2009 First published in Business
March 10-16, 2009; issue 1011
High Tech Office column
Some say that long-married husbands and wives come to
increasingly alike. The same seems to be true with long-standing
software rivals. The taskbar in the upcoming Windows 7 seems to be
morphing into the Mac OS X dock, for instance.
Now take accounting software. Please.
Full disclosure time. I come from a family of
them, I’ve inherited good math skills and an awareness that keeping
track of those nickels and dimes is vital for any successful business.
And at the same time, when I hear of accounting software, my eyes glaze
Nevertheless, we gotta go there. The two major
packages have new versions aimed at home and small businesses. But the
more I look at Simply Accounting and QuickBooks, the more alike they
Simply Accounting comes from the Richmond, B.C.,
U.K.-owned Sage Software; QuickBook’s Canadian version is developed in
Edmonton for Intuit Canada. Each offers products ranging from a
low-cost version aimed at home-based businesses up to an “enterprise”
version – so-called because neither is aimed at the Fortune 500
enterprises, but rather at growing mid-sized businesses.
Simply Accounting claims to be “the No. 1 choice of
small business in Canada,” while Intuit says QuickBooks is “the No. 1
accounting software package in Canada.”
In their 2009 versions, each has invested much
reorganizing interface, navigation and search tools to help users get
up to speed quickly.
Both offer free downloadable “starter” versions for
businesses, and each can now be hosted on Windows and Linux servers.
Simply Accounting versions include first step express
step ($49), professional ($149), premium ($299) – both professional and
premium are available with payroll capabilities for an additional
charge – and enterprise ($1,249 for five users; also available in a
As well, an accountant’s edition can be used together
with any of
the others. The company boasts that its products can create forms in
English and French.
QuickBooks similarly offers a free EasyStart version,
moves up to a
$99 version, through professional ($199) and premium ($499) versions
(with or without payroll) and on up to the (new this year)
subscription-based enterprise version, which is aimed at businesses or
departments with 30 to 50 employees.
Each claims to have cleaned up the start or home
Accounting promises that all home screen features can be accessed with
no scrolling; QuickBooks notes that it has reduced five different
navigators in last year’s version to a single home page this time
Overall, QuickBooks claims to have moved from 126
screens last year
to 28 in the current versions. Simply Accounting promises that in all
its versions forms such as invoices can now be output in PDF format,
making it easy to send them as e-mail attachments.
In payroll-equipped versions, direct deposit stubs can
e-mailed as attachments. Simply Accounting users can use Sage payment
solutions to automate credit card processing. An updated learning
centre uses frequently updated online information and videos.
Simply Accounting promises it is easier than ever to
add and manage
customer, vendor and employee information and to migrate from
QuickBooks 2006 or 2007.
The enterprise edition supports increasingly complex
can be configured so that different users can access different sets of
company information and reports.
QuickBooks now integrates with Google desktop,
allowing users to
easily search for customers or invoices. The new QuickBooks versions
can now be installed alongside older versions, which gives companies
easier access to older data.
The new enterprise version is offered by subscription,
access to all updates and new versions at a per-month cost ranging from
$250 (five users) to $725 (20 users).
Regardless which new program you pick, the new Simply
QuickBooks should make it easier to track the money moving in and out
of your business. •