Version 6.0 of Intuits top-of-the-line financial and business management package, which is due to ship on Nov. 7, runs three to five times faster than earlier versions, according to Bill Lucchini, business line leader for QuickBooks.
While the product is called QuickBooks Enterprise, it is still squarely focused on SMBs (small and midsize businesses).
The new version has been configured to serve up to 15 concurrent users, which will allow the product to appeal to a wider range of midmarket companies, Lucchini said. The previous limit was 10 users.
New sales and inventory management features built into the package include an order fulfillment function that provides a view of all pending orders so managers can make shipping decisions based on estimated revenue, customer value or other indicators.
The package also tracks inventory on hand so users can make "available to promise" sales decisions based on accurate information. This is a feature typically found in more expensive and complex accounting packages, Lucchini said.
This latest version of QuickBooks Enterprise is aimed at midmarket companies that have multiple locations and departments that each have a local manager, he said. These are also organizations that have telecommuters who need to access the applications and where work flow and decision-making are distributed among multiple people.
In these situations QuickBooks may serve as a replacement for other midmarket accounting applications that failed because they were too complex or required specialized programming or support skills that were beyond the organizations resources, he said.
"Most current midmarket solutions are pretty complex, and they have gotten more complex with each release over time," Lucchini said. Intuits design goal has been to add features and improve the performance of the product while retaining the ease of use that allows it to be used by people who just want to work with a simple automated accounting system, he said.
In some cases, midmarket companies are turning to QuickBooks after having implemented or evaluated such accounting packages as Microsoft Corp.s Great Plains or Navision or Accpac from Sage Accpac International Inc., according to Lucchini.
Advanced Semiconductor Inc., a manufacturer of specialized microwave and radio frequency chip components, switched to QuickBooks Enterprise in March 2004 to replace an old proprietary PC DOS application, said Steve Golob, vice president of Advanced Semiconductor, based in North Hollywood, CA.
The company continued using the DOS application long after it was obsolete because it was hard to find a reliable replacement, Golob said.
"We were frequently searching for an upgrade. But we could never find the right program for the market size that we fit in," he said. "We didnt want to spend $100,000 on a product, thats not the kind of IT budget we have," he said.