Intuit has concentrated for a long time on making its accountancy products as simple to use as possible, with recent updates to QuickBooks 2006 and 2007 offering updates that focus on accessibility rather than adding more features. Intuit QuickBooks Pro & Payroll 2008 once again overhauls the interface, while also adding a few useful elements that make this one of the best packages for small businesses.
Intuit QuickBooks 2008 comes in three versions: SimpleStart, Pro and Premier. SimpleStart is the cheapest and most basic release, designed to track money in and out of your business and to handle VAT, while Pro allows you to also manage employee time/job costs, keep track of stock and manage a payroll. The top of the range Premier edition adds tools for generating sales orders from estimates, but it’s the Pro version that’ll appeal to most users.
All important activities are now available from the home page and can be followed through a simple flow chart. Subscribers to QuickBooks Payroll, which costs an additional £99.95 per year, also have a Payroll Home workspace to work on tasks such as year end processing and reviewing P11s. The automatic scheduling of payroll tasks means that QuickBooks will inform you when details need to be processed in the correct tax period – one reason why this service is subscription only.
Although not as important as either of these, the inclusion of Google Desktop does offer a quick and easy way of finding a customer, supplier or financial data within the program. Integration with Word and Excel has been improved, so that the professional-looking forms that you create for such things as invoices can now be exported to Office. Additionally, the introduction of new Customer, Supplier and Employee Centres provides one-stop access to information within Intuit QuickBooks Pro & Payroll 2008.
Intuit QuickBooks Pro & Payroll 2008's documentation is concise and very clear, and this really is one program that even the occasional user will be able to get to grips with when running their business. Expert users may prefer to stick with Sage, but for anyone else QuickBooks really is the most intuitive application in this field. The only negative is that, compared to MYOB, this is a touch pricey.