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
and accountants each get a version customized for their specific needs,
including industry-specific reports, account lists, and tips from
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
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
After this free initial setup
support, a range of support programs are available, if desired;
Continuous Service option, for example, provides unlimited technical
support and access to a private website for $50 per month ($55 with
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
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