QuickBooks Pro 2008 from Intuit Inc. . April 2008 . Vol. 14 No. 4

Cyber News and Reviews is a monthly column featuring kids educational software reviews, business software reviews (small business & home business), games and entertainment articles.

March 2008--TurboTax Deluxe for Tax Year 2007 from Intuit Inc.
February 2008--Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended and My Guitar from eMedia
January 2008--English-Hebrew Language Learning Software from LingvoSoft
December 2007--CounterSpy Anti-Spyware and Edventure Maze


QuickBooks Pro 2008 from Intuit Inc.

By Howard Berenbon

So, here’s a review of QuickBooks Pro 2008, the latest version of Intuit's business accounting program.  It's new and approved and a bargain at the street price of $159.99 (retails for $199.95).

Just last June 2007, I reviewed a QuickBooks Pro 2007 from Intuit Inc. Over the years, I found QuickBooks to be the best of the small business accounting programs available.  It's always been easy to use and works great for any business.  I haven't found anything better, especially for the price.  Its features keep growing from year to year, so so does its ease of use.  And I must emphasize: it's very easy to use.  If you have a question, or get stuck, specific help is available.  And you won't need a part time or full the IT guy hanging around to help (required for some of the accounting programs) because you can do it yourself.   So, if you’re a small business owner in need of a comprehensive accounting program then you should choose QuickBooks Pro.  And, if you’re managing your books by hand (pencil and paper or spreadsheet) you desperately need QuickBooks.

Here’s a review of QuickBooks Pro 2008, the latest and up to date business accounting program from Intuit Inc.

This new version looks almost identical QuickBooks Pro 2007, which makes a lot of sense because their 2007 program is excellent.  You probably won't notice the subtle changes in the "Home Page," a few icons have been moved or have been replaced, but it looks essentially the same with all the features and options of QuickBooks Pro 2007 plus a few more features and improvements.

Originally, QuickBooks was developed for the small business owner, but has evolved into a full-featured, multi-functional accounting program for any business, small or large.  All the recent QuickBooks Pro versions allow you prepare estimates, create customizable invoices, track inventory, generate purchase orders, create sales receipts and customer statements, track jobs, create reports and graphs, track expenses and payroll and manage accounts payable and accounts receivable.  You can e-mail your estimates and invoices over the Internet and you can save them in PDF format as well.  You can also write checks from any number of business checking accounts, track your business credit card usage, share your company files over a network in multi-user mode and track your sales and business taxes.  And if you work with Excel or Microsoft Word, you can transfer data to and from those programs.  QuickBooks Pro 2008 has some new features with several improvements incorporated by Intuit from requests by loyal users.

Installation from a single CD took about 10 minutes, which included checking for online updates and online registration.  And once registered, you’ll get 30 days free callback support.  If you’re upgrading from an older version, QuickBooks will import your company database file so you can start working with it immediately.  New users will need to set up a  company account file will all pertinent business information.  A setup tool helps get all the information in the right place with a step-by-step interview.  If you’re not sure what to enter, the help feature will answer your questions.

From the Welcome to QuickBooks 2008 screen, you can view a tutorial, explore QuickBooks, create a new company file or open or restore an existing company file.   If you select an existing file but from an earlier version, QuickBooks 2008 will update it.  This can take up to 30 minutes or more depending on the size of the file and the version. When ready, you'll have the option to register the program online or do it later.  It makes sense to register now because you'll get your your free 30 day support immediately.  You'll answer a short survey, enter your company address and phone number, then on to the main menu screen.

The main menu looks like a flow chart with text and icons called the “Home Page.”  The central screen is separated into five areas from top to bottom and left to right: Vendors, Company, Customers, Account Balances and Banking.  Under Account Balances to the far right you find 2 more areas: Learn About Services and Reminders & Alerts,  Under Vendors you can enter bills, pay bills and manage sales tax.  In the Customers section you can enter estimates, create invoices, receive payments, create sales receipts and issue credits and refunds. If you’re familiar with QuickBooks, you can just jump in and create (and customize) invoice and sales receipts, manage your inventory, setup accounts receivables and payables and work on your payroll.  Under Vendors, you'll enter bills, pay bills and manage sales tax.

New or Improved Features from QuickBooks Pro 2007 to QuickBooks Pro 2008

QuickBooks Coach and Tips with access to the QuickBooks home page for guidance

Form Customization Improvement
Invoice for  Time & Expenses
New Online Timesheets
Improved Sales Tax Management
Search with Google Desktop with Added Security
New Google maps and Directions
Improved Remote Access
WebListings and Google Adwords
Improved Accountant's Copy
New and Improved Help Function
Improved E-mail Integration with Microsoft Outlook

All financial features and functions are easily accessible from the main menu including bank accounts, checking accounts, credit card accounts, customers, vendors, lists (chart of accounts, price, items, customers, payroll) employees and your reports.  And if you need help within a particular feature or page, click on the ? Help in the main menu and a Help Box will open on the right with Relevant Topics about the screen you're in.  For example, if you're entering sales receipts, information for the Sales Receipt Window will appear on the far right. You can also type your key words into a search box accessible by clicking on Search to the right of Relevant Topics and QuickBooks will search and find Help topics that match your question.  On the earlier versions, including QuickBooks 2007, a search box and the How Do I? button were visible on each page, but that's gone.  The pages look less cluttered, and the Help button is still visible and available on the main menu.

QuickBooks Pro 2008 retails for $199.95 but you can find it at Amazon.com for $159.99 with free shipping.  The program will run on any multimedia PC, 500 MHz Pentium II or faster (recommended 1.8GHz), 256 MB RAM with Windows 2000/XP/Vista, 1 GB of disk space and a 2x CD-ROM drive.  For more information, or to order, visit Amazon.com.

Software Companies Mentioned

Intuit Inc.
2632 Marine Way
Mountain View, CA 94043
URL quickbooks.intuit.com