Description THE BOTTOM LINE Intuit QuickBooks Premier 2009 keeps the program's well-designed, intuitive interface, while adding a few new features. It's a worthy upgrade for people serious about online banking, and it remains the best accounting program for small business owners. However, Intuit should be more generous with customer support, particularly for setup issues.
Intuit QuickBooks dominates the small business accounting realm, largely because it does the best job of simplifying the arcane world of bookkeeping for nonaccountants. QuickBooks 2009 builds on the success of its predecessors--wisely it hasn't changed its excellent, flowchart-style interface--while adding a few new and improved features. These include enhanced online banking, a Company Snapshot page that provides a quick overview of your daily business operations, support for multiple currencies, a free (for a year) Web site, and easy access to the online community of QuickBooks users.
We tested the $400 QuickBooks Premier, which includes industry-specific versions for accountants, contractors, wholesalers, and other businesses. Unlike the $200 Pro version, Premier lets you create business plans, forecast sales and expenses, assign different billing rates for employees, and perform other advanced tasks. At the low end, the $100 Simple Start handles the basics well but lacks higher-end tools, such as the capability to create purchase orders and track inventory.
The revamped Online Banking Center makes it easier to work with your bank without leaving QuickBooks.
While earlier versions of QuickBooks had online banking, only a tiny percentage of people used the feature, according to Intuit. The redesigned Online Banking Center for 2009 makes it easier to set up your financial accounts, write online checks, and download and organize transactions. The enhanced banking tools, some borrowed from Intuit's Quicken personal finance application, are smarter and easier to manage. For instance, you can set up naming rules for downloaded bank transactions, allowing QuickBooks to automatically rename and categorize them. One rule, for instance, might instruct QuickBooks to rename any transaction with the text string "Staples" to "Staples Office Supplies." This prevents the program from adding new vendors to your payee list every time the bank adds a unique reference or store number to the vendor name, such as "A735Staples09128008."
Overall, the Banking Center's setup wizard is well designed, although not as seamless as it should be. In our tests, for instance, it wouldn't set up an account with Bank of America, suggesting we contact the bank for more information. Furthermore, your bank may require you to go to its Web site to complete the setup. With Wells Fargo, for instance, we needed to download our banking statement from Wells' CEO Basic Banking Site to finish the process. Overall, this was clunky.
The Company Snapshot provides a mile-high view of your daily business operations.
Another Quicken-style feature is Company Snapshot, a single-screen overview of your business's vital stats. To access it from the home page, you click Company Snapshot on the Icon Bar. What follows is a screen with information to help business owners better manage their daily cash flow. The list headers avoid accountant gibberish and give it to you straight: customers who owe money, vendors to pay, and so on. This 30,000-foot view is handy for users who get lost in the minutiae of daily bookkeeping.
Premier now supports most of the world's currencies, a boon for small businesses that need to send invoices, bill payments, and wire transfers internationally. And the Client Data Review feature in the Accountant Edition makes it easier for bookkeepers to find and fix their clients' errors.
The 2009 version has a few great new features for both accountants and clients. My favorite improvement is the Bank Reconciliation column sorting, and I think clients will cheer when they first discover this new capability.
See my column next month for part two of “What’s New In QuickBooks 2009,” when I’ll discuss the new Client Data Review feature and the Intuit Statement Writer (a replacement for the Financial Statement Designer).
In the meantime, if you’d like to compare the various editions of the product or dig deeper into the features, go to Intuit’s site at http://proadvisor.intuit.com/product/whatsnew/index.jsp.
- COMPANY SNAPSHOT
QuickBooks Pro 2009, Premier 2009 and QuickBooks Enterprise 9.0 offer a new Company Snapshot for reporting company information and accessing critical QuickBooks tasks in a single window.
This view is a digital dashboard and offers real-time visual views of a company’s important information. The new QuickBooks Company Snapshot offers these details as shown in the figure to the right.
- IMPROVED BANK RECONCILIATION
One of my longtime requests has finally been delivered! You can now sort by columns in the bank reconciliation window! This is a small addition, but it has huge benefits for the users, and accountants will really appreciate this new functionality.
- MULTI-CURRENCY TRACKING
QuickBooks Pro 2009, Premier 2009 and Enterprise 9.0 now support all global currencies, making it easier for you to support clients with international business relationships. This new feature allows you to set your home currency and the currency for each customer, vendor, bank account, accounts receivable account and credit card. It includes a free downloadable update for worldwide exchange rates, and it reflects all currency conversions into the reports in the home currency. This feature is very well integrated into all of the workflows and reports in QuickBooks, and I think you’ll find it very easy to use.
- EXTERNAL ACCOUNTANT USER
New for QuickBooks 2009 is a new type of user called the External Accountant shown to the right.
You can now assign a user as an External Accountant. As an accounting professional using the Client Data Review feature (to be reviewed in next month’s column), you will want to request that your client create a user name for you and assign the new External Accountant Type. If you have the Admin login, then you can create a new External Accountant user type for yourself. Logging into your client’s QuickBooks data file as an External Accountant gives you:
• Complete Admin access, with the exception that you cannot create or edit users or view sensitive customer credit card numbers.
• Access to the Client Data Review feature in a client’s 2009 QuickBooks Pro, Premier (all editions), and Enterprise (all editions). You can access the Client DataReview feature using QuickBooks Pro 2009, Premier 2009 or Enterprise Solutions 9.0 using your External Accountant login. That means you can always have access to the Client Data Review whether you visit your client’s site or interact with them via Remote Access, even without the Accountant version.
- IMPROVED MULTI-USER FUNCTIONALITY
With QuickBooks 2009, you can make a QuickBooks backup (QBB file extension) in multi-user mode.
QuickBooks ‘In Product’ Instant Messenger
QuickBooks 2009 includes the QuickBooks Instant Messenger feature. This feature is available when you are logged into the same data file in multi-user mode. QuickBooks Instant Messenger does not keep a “chat log” at this time and can only be turned off by ending the process in Windows Task Manager.
Features of the QuickBooks Instant Messenger include:
• The ability to send a message to other QuickBooks users (who are logged into that specific QuickBooks data file).
• The ability to see which users are currently logged into the data file.
• The ability to close the QuickBooks file for currently logged in users.
- QUICKFILTER LIST FUNCTIONALITY
QuickBooks Pro 2009, Premier 2009 and Enterprise 9.0 include the ability to search for customers, jobs, vendors or items within a list (See Figure 7). This is new functionality for the Pro and Premier product and was previously only available with QuickBooks Enterprise. In the Items List, you can filter the search results on Item Name/Number, Description (Sales) and Purchase Description, Preferred Vendor, Man. Part Number and any of the Custom fields.
- CREATE DUPLICATE ITEMS
The Items List also has a new function to create duplicate items. Select an item on the Item List, right-click and select Duplicate Item. The result is a New Item dialog that displays with all the details of the duplicated item. Edit the name of the item or, by default, QuickBooks will insert DUP (for duplicate) in front of the name.
- IMPROVED ACCOUNTANT’S COPY
The Accountant’s Copy functionality has been improved this year to prevent the problem when a single error caused the whole “import” of the accountant’s changes to fail. Also, the accountant can now adjust the 1099 settings and edit or merge classes with the accountant’s copy.
- BACKWARDS COMPATIBILITY WITH 2008 FILES
QuickBooks Premier Accountant 2009 software can access Pro or Premier 2008 and 2009 data using the Accountant’s Copy file sharing method, allowing you to perform your review and return the data back to your client in either 2008 or 2009 format. Of course, feature changes that are new for QuickBooks 2009 will not transfer back to a client’s 2008 data file.
Compare Newer Features of Quickbooks Pro 2010
- The new company snapshot
The Company Snapshot helps you save time and manage cashflow - so you can make better business decisions. It shows you info like:
• Which customers owe you money
• What bills you need to pay immediately
• What you need to do by the end of the day
We had it before. And we've brought it back. The multicurrency feature lets you transact in any number of currencies from around the world - without worrying about looking up exchange rates or getting your calculator out to convert British Pounds, for example, into Canadian Dollars.
- "QuickFilter" - The easy way to sort in Customer & Vendor centres
In the Customer Centre and the Vendor Centre, every last detail about each of your customers & suppliers is in one place. Which is great. Until you try sorting through all that info.
- New features for multiuser (For 3 or 5 Simultaneous Users)
Are simultaneous QuickBooks users in your company stepping on each other's toes? QuickBooks 2010 eliminates those challenges by allowing all users to run reports, backup data and even work on the same data... all at the same time. So there's no more need for Suzy to call up Tim and ask him to close out of QuickBooks. Everyone can work at once.
- More robust security & permission levels
Prevent others from accessing your customers' addresses or credit card info, and keep people in your company from tinkering with sensitive information. QuickBooks 2010 does this by encrypting your company file and letting you set even more permission levels than before. The Customer Credit Card Protection is one such feature that allows you to set permission levels for your employees to be able to see customer credit card numbers.
- Sales tax changes
• Manage Sales Tax window: to help you manage your sales tax information all in one place. Click here to learn more about the Manage Sales Tax window
• Improved File Sales Tax window: where you can run the Tax Agency Detail Report, efile your return, get help resolving tax amounts that QuickBooks detects as being 'unreported' or 'unpaid'.
- Other enhancements / changes
• Accountant's copy is much improved now handling more situations
• New Accountant Copy File Transfer: send your file over the Internet instead of walking it over
• Client Data Review centre to help Accountant's find and fix errors in their client's company file
• QuickBooks Coach to help you get the assistance when you need it
• QuickBooks Messenger - instantly chat with others who are working in your company file
• (for QuickBooks 2008 & 2009) Invoicing for time and expenses can now include sales tax information
• (for QuickBooks 2008 & 2009) Condense sales tax summary: show your sales tax on your forms similar to how QuickBooks 2007 did it (you asked to bring this back)
• Improvements to the T4A report
• Ability to enter your Customer Number on the My License window (so you don't have to record it elsewhere)
• Vastly improved upgrade process (Upgrade Centre to guide you through the conversion, help with resolving unreported sales tax amounts)
• 13 new tutorials
• Ability to make copies of items / transactions
• Now just one customizable bar instead of two independent ones
• Multiple shipping addresses
• Tax forms updated from CRA changes
• New account wizard that makes account set up much easier
• You can now print receipts from the Receive Payments window
• Multiuser performance improvements
• Email your invoices in batches instead of one at a a time
• Email business forms now works with Outlook
• Reports performance improved making reports more robust
• T5018 report (Premier)
• Edit / void pay cheque improved
• Improvements to the import from Excel feature
Software Compatibility Matrix
Tech Specs Operating System
Windows 8 (in Windows XP compatibility mode)
Windows Server 2003
Windows Server 2008
(May work on newer operating systems in Windows XP compatibility mode, but this is not guranteed)
At least 2.0GHz Pentium 4 processor; 2.4GHz recommended
1 GB minimum for client
1 GB or more strongly recommended for server
1 GB (additional space required for data files)
Optimized for 1024x768 or higher; supports 800x600 using the Small Fonts setting in Windows Control Panel > Display settings
Minimum network requirements:
100 Mbps network card
100 Mbps switch or router
40 Mbps network bandwidth
- License Number/Software Installation Key
- Full DVD Package
- Activation Code
- Digital Manual on CD
Notes Product Satisfaction Guarantee & Disclaimer:
This product may not be new. The product has been verified to be genuine and no longer in use by the previous owner.
We offer a Total Satisfaction Guarantee. If you are not satisfied with your purchase, for any reason, you can return your purchase within 14 days of the purchase date.
Some assistance may be required for activation of Pre-Owned products . If you have any issues activate this product please contact us.
- License Number/Software Installation Key
- Full DVD Package
- Activation Code
- Digital Manual on CD