Archive for Peachtree

Online Banking – Are you giving away money?

Do you download transactions from your bank into QuickBooks or another program? Do you verify the transactions in some way? In this Intuitive Accountant article I talk about the risks and what steps you should take to make sure you don’t give away money.

From the Community: QuickBooks vs. Peachtree

Join us for a detailed look at questions asked by members of the Business-Software.com Community. Today’s question comes from Charlotte D., of Roselle, Ill., who asked, “Is Peachtree a better product than QuickBooks?”

The QuickBooks vs. Peachtree (now Sage 50) question is about as common as any that we see here at Business-Software.com. Both time-tested products are hugely successful in the small business accounting segment (a mind-boggling 90% market share for QuickBooks according to some sources), despite the variety of products available outside these two major vendors.

So what is it that sets them apart? Is one “better” than the other?

The short answer to that last question is “no.” As is usually the case with business software, it’s rare for one product to be unequivocally better than the next. It comes down to which product best meets the specific needs of the individual business, whether it’s their processes, IT infrastructure, existing software portfolio, or even personal preference. Peachtree and QuickBooks are no different. Each has its strengths. So it’s up to the user to evaluate her requirements and select the option that fits best.

Feature Comparison

Not surprisingly, both Sage 50 and QuickBooks Pro offer essential double-entry accounting capabilities, including accounts receivable, accounts payable and general ledger.

QuickBooks offers easy invoicing via its Collections Center, including batch invoicing, which enables users to apply a single invoice to all members of a group. If you spend a lot of time online you’ll enjoy QuickBooks’ integration with e-mail services like Gmail and Yahoo, as well as its integration with online banking. Additionally, QuickBooks provides industry-specific reporting templates with automated data entry.

Consultant Steve Collins of IQ Accounting Solutions offered his insight into the differences between the two products.

Peachtree (now Sage 50) has a year-end close process. It keeps 2 years open at a time so you have plenty of time to get year-end adjustments done before you have to close. QuickBooks does not have a year-end close procedure, but it does allow you to set a password to lock everything prior to a chosen date.

Sage 50′s inventory supports FIFO, LIFO, and average in the Pro and Complete versions. Move up to Premium or Quantum and you will also get the option of serialized inventory. QB only offers average costing unless you are using Enterprise and add on their Advanced Inventory option for an additional annual fee. It adds FIFO, serial and lot options as well as inventory locations.

Sage 50 gives you greater ability to customize your forms (invoices, sales orders, etc.) and financial statements.

Additionally, Sage 50 offers customizable dashboards for quick insight into your business and job costing—something QuickBooks doesn’t offer in its Pro edition. Sage 50 also provides organizational tools such as email alerts, Excel and Word integration and customized reporting in addition to its foundational accounting features.

According to Collins, Sage 50’s reports are more traditional than those offered in QuickBooks. He says the unconventional nature of the QB reporting can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on the situation, noting that ultimately it’s a matter of user preference.

And finally, if you need a solution that will run on Mac OS X your only option is QuickBooks.

You can find full feature overviews on the Sage and Intuit websites.

QuickBooks Company Snapshot

Usability

Historically, Sage products are viewed as catering toward users who have backgrounds in accounting or finance, whereas QuickBooks has a reputation for being more intuitive and user-friendly—the implication being that Sage offers a more robust product, whereas QuickBooks offers one that’s easier to use.

QuickBooks Pro’s New User Setup feature is designed to facilitate a smooth transition into using the software for the uninitiated. It coaches you through the steps of performing your first QuickBooks tasks, and automates the import of contacts from Excel or other address books. Additionally, QuickBooks has a simple interface and offers visual workflows to guide users through the software.

With the release of Sage 50 2013 it’s clear that Sage has identified a need to foster a more “user-friendly” image. One of the big steps toward achieving this is the Sage Advisor, a series of animated tutorial videos and PDFs that walk users through everything from getting around Sage 50 to paying bills and managing inventory. The Sage Advisor supplements the information available in the Community, Knowledge Base, and Sage Support resources.

Collins offered the following insight regarding usability:

They are very similar and you really need to look at both of them to decide for yourself. Personally, I think Sage 50 is better organized and easier to navigate. But in talking with QB users that have gotten jobs in Peachtree offices, I have met people on both sides of that argument. It really comes down to whose programmers you think like.

Just don’t get scared off by people who tell you that Peachtree is impossibly hard to use and QuickBooks is so easy that anyone can use it. They usually fall into one of three groups: (1) those who are just repeating what they have heard, (2) those who’s Peachtree experience was with the DOS version 15 or 20 years ago and are comparing that with today’s QuickBooks, and (3) those who do their job by memorizing steps without understanding what they are doing—to those people, whatever they learned first is easy and right, while anything else is difficult and wrong.

Sage 50 Business Status

Cost/Editions

The Pro editions of Sage 50 and QuickBooks cost $269 and $229.95 respectively, a negligible amount when you consider the long-term value of the product. Sage offers expanded versions of Sage 50 starting with Sage 50 Complete at $369 for one user and Sage Premium at $569 for one user. Both of these products are offered in 3-user and 5-user versions for a jump in price.

The next step up from QuickBooks Pro is QuickBooks Premier, which runs $399.95 for the first user and supports up to 5 users. QuickBooks Premier offers expanded functionality like forecasting and industry reporting. QuickBooks Enterprise is at the high end of the QuickBooks family. For $600 per user it offers a broad set of features for reporting and finances, inventory, sales, payroll, productivity and more.

QuickBooks Enterprise is in competition with Sage 50 Quantum (starting at $2,999 for 5 users). Quantum is essentially an ERP substitute for the small business, with modules for managing finances, customers, inventory, services, jobs and employees. Functionality aside, the primary difference is that the base edition of Quantum requires a license for a minimum of 5 users, making it a significant step up in price from QuickBooks Enterprise.

QuickBooks Screenshot

Free Trials

Picking the right accounting software is an important decision. You’ll be using it to manage the administrative functions of your business on a daily basis and will most likely run it for a number of years. If after doing your due diligence you feel ready to make a decision, I encourage you to first take advantage of the free trials that both Intuit and Sage offer. Despite what anyone tells you, there’s no substitute for experience.

Sage 50 Customer and Sales Module

CONSULTANT

James Sullivan

Writer, From the Community: QuickBooks vs. Peachtree

Expert in Enterprise Social, CRM

James is a contributing writer, covering emerging segments, innovative companies, and key players in the business technology landscape.

Creating Labels Using Peachtree

While holiday season is the most common time to do a mass mailing, you may also need to do this at other times. Whatever software you are using, there is generally a way to create address labels so that you don’t need to re-key data. In this series of blog posts we show how to create address labels using the different programs with which we work.

When using Peachtree you can create labels for Customers, Vendors or Employees.

1) From the top menu bar click on Reports & Forms then click on Forms and choose the group for which you want to create labels.

2) For Customers, Peachtree provides several pre-designed forms including 1 x 10, 3 x 10, continuous and Shipping Address labels. The Customer Labels 1 x 10 and 3 x 10 are set to use the Bill to Address. The 3 x 10 format matches the Avery Standard 5160 labels.

3) The primary customization you might want to do is to change the font. You can Preview prior to Printing your labels.

Previewing of labels, prior to printing is highly recommended to verify that the fields chosen show as you expect. It is also recommended that you print one sheet to paper and hold it over your labels to make sure everything lines up correctly before you start.

If you need help in creating labels or setting your search criteria, please call us at 203-254-7736.

Peachtree 2012 Update

Spending money on upgrades is rarely the first choice of a firm, but running an older unsupported version or getting new hardware often means looking at updates. When there are new features that can benefit your business, the upgrade becomes appealing.

Sage Software has recently released a new version of Peachtree software.

Peachtree 2012 was designed to make increase productivity by making it easier for you to find the information you need and to resolve issues when they occur.

While Peachtree has long had the ability to memorize invoices or setup recurring transactions, this requires advanced planning and may be more complex than your firm needs. The new ability to copy previous transactions can substantially save time and reduce errors.

Previous versions of Peachtree added the customer management center to allow you to quickly find customer information and improved customer relationship management. Peachtree v2012 takes this the new step and offers the same benefits to vendor management with the addition of a vendor management center. You can quickly find responses to vendor questions and identify relationships where volume might allow you to negotiate savings.  There’s also a new inventory and services management center to provide the information you need to evaluate your business more quickly.

For new users, or those moving into a new area of the program, the Sage Advisor can help you with learning in a friendly, available when you need it environment.

In developing Peachtree v2012 the developers went an extra step to help you keep Peachtree up and running. The new system check feature helps with preventative maintenance and, when errors do occur help is more readily available.

With the use of dashboards users and management can customize the system to show the information critical to them. By adding on Sage Peachtree Business Intelligence users now have the ability to customize real-time data with Microsoft Excel based business reports.

Expanded Payroll Features improved transparency, including the 2010 Health Care Act.

The decision to upgrade to a new version of Peachtree is one best made by the users. We, at Time & Cents Consultants, recommend that our clients be on a supported version. While the definition varies by vendor, it is generally defined as the three most recent versions. With new computers running Windows 7, Office 2010 and new versions of Adobe, upgrading your business applications may make sense.

If you choose not to upgrade at this time, Time & Cents Consultants will be happy to continue to help you for as long as we are able!