QuickBooks Professional 2009 & Adobe Creative Suite 4 Master Collection . January 2009 . Vol. 15 No. 1

Cyber News and Reviews is a monthly column published for parents, teachers & business owners featuring kids educational software reviews, business software reviews (small business & home business), games and entertainment articles, a free resource since 1995.

June 2009 - -Adobe Contribute CS4, Adobe Soundbooth CS4 & After Effects CS

May 2009 --Adobe Premiere Pro CS4, Adobe OnLocation CS4 and Adobe Encore CS4 plus My Electric Guitar and My Violin from eMedia

April 2009 -- Rosetta Stone Version 3: Spanish (Latin America) Level 1, 2 & 3, Set, Adobe Illustrator CS4 and Adobe Flash CS4 Professional from Adobe Systems Inc.

QuickBooks Professional 2009 from Intuit & Adobe Creative Suite 4 Master Collection

QuickBooks Professional 2009 from Intuit

In April of last year I reviewed QuickBooks Pro 2008 (see http://www.cyber-reviews.com/apr08.html) and it won me over for another excellent Intuit product.  Just recently, I had a chance to review their latest version, QuickBooks Accounting Pro 2009, a new and improved version, and I wasn’t disappointed.  If you run a small business, or even a large company, you can depend on Intuit for cover your accounting needs, and at the right price.  For under $200, your little (or big) business can run efficiently with the help of QuickBooks Accounting Pro 2009.  And, if you or an employee is handy on the PC, you can easily tailor QuickBooks into an accounting system specific to your field or products, with invoices and sales receipts, inventory, accounts payable and receivables, payroll, check writing and the rest, for a fraction of the cost.  If you don’t have that expertise, you can still set up your company because QuickBooks includes an excellent Help system within the program and online.  Accounting systems can cost a company $2,000 to $10,000 and up, plus monthly maintenance fees.  But with QuickBooks, any edition, you’ll save lots.  Whether you upgrade from an older version, or are new to QuickBooks, you should find everything you need to run your business more efficiently.

Now for a Little History

Originally, QuickBooks was developed for small business use, but has evolved into a full-featured, but easy to use accounting program, with all the tools you need.  You can 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.  Estimates and invoices can be e-mailed over the Internet and you can save them in PDF format as well. You can also write checks your 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. 

What’s New?

This new version looks a lot like QuickBooks Pro 2008 and works just as well, but they’ve added some new features that will help you work faster, and that’s always a plus.  For time saving, they now allow you to download forms created using Adobe PDF form templates and they’ve added a new search tool, called QuickFilter, to help you find information from vendor, customer and item lists. Another new, and unexpected feature, allows you to create a professional looking Website with customizable template and drag-and-drop tools.  So, if you need a Web presence, QuickBooks will help you get started with a professional look and feel.  And the list goes on:

Getting Started

Installation from a single CD took about 10 minutes, which included checking for online updates and online registration. If you’re upgrading from an older version, QuickBooks will import your company database file so you can start working with it immediately. If you’re new to QuickBooks, you’ll need to set up a company account file with your important business information. A setup tool helps you 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 help you fill in the blanks.

From the Welcome to QuickBooks Pro 2009 screen, you can select the Overview Tutorial, explore QuickBooks and practice entering data, create a new company file or open (or restore from backup) an existing company file. If you select an existing company file, but from an earlier version, QuickBooks will update it. This can take up to 30 minutes or more depending on the size of the file and the version.   One exciting new feature (mentioned above) here is access to their Live Community.  You just enter a question in the box on the top right side of your screen, and live expert help is on the way.  Now that’s a nice addition.

Once you register, and before you start using QuickBooks, you’ll have access to your free year of Website service, their other new feature!  I haven’t tried it, because I already have a Website, but they make it easy to do: Just point, click, drag, drop and type, for an easy instant Internet presence, thanks to Intuit.  And, it’s to your benefit to take advantage of their free year of hosting.  However, I had to decline their offer and clicked on the “Start Using QuickBooks” button.

Next, the QuickBooks Learning Center screen is displayed for more help, or just you can just click on Go to QuickBooks, which I did (the Live Community box was still on the top right).  As in QuickBooks 2007 and 2008, the main menu looks like a flow chart with text and icons in a screen called Home and divided 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’ll find two 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. Under Company, you can view and modify your Chart of Accounts, view and modify your lists of items and services and access your online services at Intuit.com.  And under Banking, you can access all your banking information: deposits, checks, etc.  You’ll also see a few new icons on their top menu, like Company Snapshot and Online Banking (where you can do your online banking!).  If you transferred your company file from a previous version, you can start using it as before.   If you’re new to QuickBooks, you‘ll want to create invoices and sales receipts, enter your products and services, setup accounts receivables and payables and more.

QuickBooks Pro 2009 is a full-featured accounting system that’s easy to use once you get over the learning curve (because of all the features).  It’s a must have accounting system, at the right price, for any business. And Intuit is so confident that you’ll love QuickBooks, they offer a 60-day money-back guarantee.  But I guarantee, once you install the program and start using it, you won’t want to give it back at any price.

The single user version retails for $199.95, but you can find it at Amazon.com for $159.99 with free shipping. It's really a bargain considering it includes a free Web site design and hosting for one year. The program will run on any multimedia PC in Windows Vista/XP with a 1.8GHz processor or faster, 512MB of RAM and 1 GB disk space.  For more information, or to order, visit Amazon.com.

Adobe Creative Suite 4 Master Collection

Master Collection CS4 from Adobe Systems is the ultimate collection of multi-media productivity software in one box.  It’s all the software a graphics designer, illustrator, photographer, commercial artist, publisher, Website creator, video and audio producer will ever need to succeed.  This collection integrates several sophisticated multi-media software tools for use by talented professionals to create print, video, audio and Website publishing for commercial and artistic applications.   Adobe does offer several of the programs combined in suites, like Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Flash and Fireworks because not every designer has the expertise in all the fields.  However, the Master Collection is for anyone who needs to do it all, and of course, has the expertise to work with the various design programs.  And with all the tools, they can do it all right from within their PC or Mac.   Creative Suite 4 offers lots of improvements to each of the individual programs, and in this release Adobe made it much easier access other tools from within each program.  For example, if you’re in Dreamweaver designing a great multi-media site, and want to edit a photo, you can open a Photoshop window and edit the file from within Dreamweaver, a great time saving improvement.  Also, you have access to several excellent video tutorials within the programs that will help you learn some of the tricks of the trade from a number of experts.  No need to go online to the Adobe site for help. It’s available within the application.   Of course, Adobe has excellent online support and you can visit Adobe Support Center, Adobe Exchange or Adobe Online Forums from within the collection.

Below, you’ll find a description of the tools in Master Collection CS4, but in the coming months I’ll be testing and reviewing each program in depth.

InDesign CS4

Adobe InDesign CS4 is sophisticated publishing program for print and online typesetting.  Use to create any type of document, for any printed or online application with text and graphics.

Photoshop CS4 Extended

CS4 is the latest version of Photoshop, the best and most popular photo manipulation program ever available.  Used for manipulating photographs for print and online publishing (use with InDesign and Dreamweaver). Includes lots of tools to do just about anything with a photograph. Also allows you to edit motion graphics for video.

Illustrator CS4

This is the best and most well known drawing program for graphic artists and designers. It’s used along with InDesign and Photoshop.

Acrobat 9 Pro

Adobe Acrobat Pro is used to publish documents with text and graphics is a special graphics format called PDF for used in print and online applications.  Text files and graphics (photos and art work) can be combined into one large file and sent over the Internet.  Also used to create online forms. The PDF format has become an industry standard for sharing documents online.

Flash CS4 Professional

A program for designing efficient 2D and 3D animated graphics for online publishing.

Dreamweaver CS4

One of the best and most widely used Website design tools.  It’s very popular because it helps the designer produce professional looking Websites with very efficient memory usage so your pages will load faster.

Fireworks CS4

Fireworks is Website photo manipulation program similar to Photoshop, but with less features.  Very easy to use, and also includes lots of tools to create any type of photo effect.

Contribute CS4

A Website management program that allows several users to quickly access and change  or add Website content.

After Effects CS4

Used to create motion graphics and special visual effects.

Adobe Premiere Pro CS4

A sophisticated video production program that lets save your completed project to DVD. You can capture, edit, and deliver video online to any device.

Soundbooth CS4

SoundBooth is an audio program that allows you to create and modify audio, customize music, add sound effects and more.

Adobe OnLocation CS4

OnLocation allows you to shoot and record video direct to disk and monitor while you’re recording.

Encore CS4

Encore is used to create DVDs and high-definition Blu-ray Discs, compatible with Adobe Flash Player

Adobe Bridge CS4

Adobe Bridge allows you to easily organize, browse, locate, and view your creative assets.

Adobe Device Central CS4

Software simplifies the production of innovative content for mobile phones and consumer electronics devices

Dynamic Link

This software allows you to work faster by eliminating intermediate rendering when you make changes to creative assets.

Version Cue CS4

A server based file management system that allows design teams to work more efficiently.

Adobe Creative Suite 4 Master Collection sells for $2499 and the upgrade is $899 with free shipping.  It will run on any multi-media computer 2 GHz or faster processor running Windows XP and Vista with 2 GB RAM, 24.3 GB of hard disk space for installation, 1,280 x 900 screen resolution and a DVD burner for video creation.  Also available for the Mac with a Multicore Intel processor, Mac OS X v10.4.11–10.5.4, 2 GB RAM, 26.3 GB of hard disk space for installation, 1,280 x 900 screen resolution and a DVD burner for video creation.   For more information, or to order, visit Amazon.com

Software Companies Mentioned

Adobe Systems Incorporated
345 Park Ave
San Jose, CA 95110-2704
URL http://www.adobe.com

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