Peachtree-branded small-business accounting products have been successfully evolving nearly since the inception of the PC. Peachtree Premium Accounting 2004 is built on the compendium of tools found in Peachtrees lower-end programs. This package takes its bookkeeping a step further than the companys lower-end offerings (such as Peachtree Complete) and closer to midrange products.
Most notably, the new version lets accountants easily generate consolidated financials for multiple companies. This opens it up as a real possibility for businesses that encompass more than one entity and need to combine individual sets of financial data.
The packages Peachtree Today screen is a one-page overview of your business, with links to related financial data and program tools. You can quickly see the days transactions, as well as graphs and reports for key sales and purchase data. This is where youll also find things like a setup guide and program preferences. The setup guide walks you step by step through the process of readying Peachtree for use and is a must for new users unfamiliar with electronic bookkeeping.
Once youre inside the program, navigation is capably handled by a combination of icons and menus, though we miss the old flow chart–type navigational tool that illustrated the bookkeeping steps involved in various processes. Operations are easy to complete, though not as simple as in QuickBooks.
Two menus contain the tools youll be using most often: Maintain and Tasks. The Maintain menu helps you set up records and processes that you didnt do during the initial setup, such as building records for customers and vendors, maintaining your Chart of Accounts, and tracking fixed assets. Record formats—particularly those for inventory items—are highly detailed, clean, and, like every other part of the program, supported by an extraordinarily thorough help system.
The Tasks menu directs you to screens that hold forms for transactions, including quotes and sales orders, purchase orders, and payroll entry. These, too, are skillfully designed to facilitate fast execution, using a combination of drop-down lists and icons. Dozens of report templates and special analysis tools provide key data and overviews to managers; reports can be exported to Excel.
Best Software has extended Peachtree Premiums reach with a range of add-on modules. Peachtree Web Accounting ($149.88 per year) lets you access Peachtree data remotely, synchronizing changes youve made from outside. Peachtree Website Creator Pro ($197.88 per year) guides you through Web site creation and uploads up to 2,000 of your products and services, and Peachtree Website Trader ($197.88 per year) helps you build a storefront with online ordering.
Peachtree Premium has a few other features that next-in-line Peachtree Complete does not, like advanced budgeting, a free copy of the highly respected Crystal Reports 9.0, and the tracking of employee raise history. Other, smaller changes include a QuickBooks conversion utility, a new account register, and the ability to e-mail forms.
The only real reason for existing Peachtree users to upgrade to Premium is if they need the multicompany consolidation tools. Otherwise, Peachtree Complete—or QuickBooks Premier—will suffice.