QuickBooks, long the front-runner in the small-business accounting software market with more than 3 million users, will roll out its 2005 line in late November. The product line includes software upgrades as well as a new payroll service. By Intuits count, there are 22 new and enhanced services and products being introduced.
Intuits upgrades for this years lineup are focused on getting up and running, paying employees, getting paid and improved reporting so users can understand more about their business performance. A new Report Finder helps users bring up the appropriate report quickly.
Included in the flagship QuickBooks 2005 is a new Learning Center, built into the program, which is designed to help new users get started and get the most out of QuickBooks. There are four versions of the single-user QuickBooks 2005 upgrade: Basic, Pro for Windows, Pro for the Mac, and Premier. QuickBooks Basic includes bill-paying functionality, invoicing, inventory tracking and links to the Payroll service.
The Pro version adds on customization tools, the ability to exchange data with other programs such as Excel, and time and expense tracking. As many as 100 price levels can be set up for inventory items and services. Users also can print UPS or FedEx shipping labels from within QuickBooks Pro, and import bank and credit card transactions from more than 500 institutions.
Mac users can open Windows data files and backup files, allowing them to share data with non-Mac users. The Mac edition is designed to support more Mac OS X features, including iCal and .Mac.
QuickBooks Premier includes all of the features of Basic and Pro 2005 plus business planning tools. The Premier series has industry-specific versions available, including construction, manufacturing, nonprofits, professional accountants, professional services, retail and wholesale.
Premiers inventory tracking features are more flexible, including the ability to track components and assemblies. The Expert Analysis tool, new in the 2005 version, allows you to compare your firms performance with others in your industry.
Going up the food chain, QuickBooks offers its Enterprise Solutions, designed to boost multiuser productivity. This version allows an administrator to customize user access levels to maintain data security by setting rules and permissions for more than 115 different activities.
Over on the services side, QuickBooks payroll has 800,000 customers. Intuit unveiled a new payroll service, QuickBooks Enhanced Payroll Plus, which features automatic completion of state and federal forms, workers compensation tracking, automatic upgrades of QuickBooks financial software, and up-to-date tax tables. Intuit also launched its first payroll service designed for accountants, Enhanced Payroll Plus for Accountants.
The product line also includes POS (point-of-sale) systems, designed for small and midsized retailers. The Premier Accountant Edition is an all-in-one bookkeeping, write-up and financial reporting solution that lets accountants import their client data and manage it.
Pricing ranges from $199.95 for the single-user Basic edition to $499.95 for the five-user Premier edition. Enterprise Solutions is $3,500, while the POS systems range from $799.95 (Basic software only) to $2,099.95 (multiuser with hardware).