There are many reasons why QuickBooks is the best overall small business software. The primary group of reasons fall into the vast support system Intuit, the owner of QuickBooks, provides. In addition to the support system the software is easily integrated with outside resources including your bank and most accounting firms. Finally, and the main reason I like QuickBooks is the ability to report information. Any type of report you desire can be generated with the reporting tools that is included with the software.
The following sections explain the support system, the easy integration ability and the reporting capacity.
Vast Support System
The number one reason this software is the best overall is directly related to the support system created by Intuit the maker of QuickBooks. Almost any question can be answered at their website via the knowledgebase or forums. But the real value is in the overall integrated education system Intuit has created nationwide that really benefits the small business owner. The following is a list of resources in order of cost (free to expensive) and a short description:
- Intuit’s Resource Center – enter the system via the version of QuickBooks you are using
- QuickBooks Support Tools – some of the items are free, others require a subscription
- ProAdvisor Program – an independent agent that communicates with you directly, you may either pay a fee to QuickBooks or engage the Advisor independently
- Real World Training – an independent educational organization that teaches courses via seminars
- Your Local CPA – just about every CPA uses QuickBooks because of the market share of accounting software Intuit claims
In addition, there are multitude of books, CD’s and educational videos to learn more about the software.
But the best value relates to the volume of trained individuals using the software today. So when it comes time to hire a bookkeeper or your own full time accountant; knowledge of this software will be on their resume’.
For accountants, the beauty of the software relates to the easy integration to the tax software programs used. But there is more.
The software has come a long way in the last 10 years. Today, you can easily upload your quarterly payroll reports to the IRS and many states using QuickBooks. In addition the software integrates with other resources:
- Many financial institutions allow downloading of the monthly or even daily transaction activity in your bank account; QuickBooks uses a Sync function to complete this task.
- The same Sync function works with your credit card transactions too.
- Automatic e-mailing of invoices generated allows instantaneous connection to your customers
- Direct Deposit exists when paying employees
- Creation of Accountant’s Version – allows your CPA to make adjusting journal entries and these entries can be imported at a later date
- Attach the bill or vendor statement to the respective transactions for easy retrieval and viewing
There is even more but it gets into the higher levels of sophistication and with experience you can experiment with the advanced tools.
The key is that this software is easy to work with other software making it a valuable central hub of information for your company. But to me, the main reason I love this software is the reporting ability.
Great Reporting Capacity
To make really good decisions, one must have good reports. If you enter accounting data correctly you maximize the ability to get information out of the system; thus the opportunity to make good decisions.
Well, QuickBooks allows you to adjust the reporting formats and the particular information coming out of the system. This is the real value of this software. SAGE has trouble allowing the report preparer flexibility in creating interesting and informative reports. You practically have to be an engineer. I can do it; but it takes an awful long time to get it right. Whereas with QuickBooks; it is simple and straight forward to get great reports.
The software has a reporting section with standard build in reports. Better yet, in the accountant’s report section, the owner of business can create some really informative and comparative reports to increase profitability. The system allows you to select the information you need and the time period restriction for the information. In addition, you can even limit the information to a division of the company (called ‘Classes’ in QuickBooks) or down to a particular function of business known as item codes.
The customized reports you create can be memorized for future use and changing the restrictions or fields of data to display can be achieved with 3 to 4 clicks of the mouse. I’ll be direct about this; you play with the report writer for about an hour and you’ll be blown away by its simplicity and ease of use. Furthermore, you will practically be an expert with the report writer. It is that informal!
I use this section all the time for clients especially those needing information restricted to projects or limited to the revenue and cost of sales sections of the profit and loss statement. It is really easy.
There are some drawbacks to this software which I hope Intuit will fix in the future. They include:
- You cannot change the title of certain sections of the reports; as an example Cost of Goods Sold cannot be changed to Cost of Meals Served or to Cost of Services Provided.
- If the data entry isn’t coded to a sub account of a Master Account, the value displays as ‘Other’. So it does require the data entry clerk to be alert to selecting the proper sub account.
- QuickBooks forces you to upgrade your software at least every three years by not supporting any version older than 3 years.
Although there are some downsides, no other software has such a vast support system, ease of integration and breadth of reports as QuickBooks has for the small business. Overall, it is indeed the best accounting software value for the small business entrepreneur. Act on Knowledge.
If you have any comments or questions, e-mail me at dave (insert the usual ‘at’ symbol) businessecon.org. I would love to hear from you. If interested in my services as an accountant/consultant; click on ‘My Services‘ in the footer of this article.