June 2001

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.


QuickBooks Pro 2001 from Intuit Inc.

If you're looking for a great small business accounting software system, then you should consider, QuickBooks Pro 2001 from Intuit Inc.  It has all the tools you need to run your business.  You'll prepare estimates, create customizable invoices, track inventory, generate purchase orders, create sales receipts and customer statements, track jobs, create reports and graphics, track expenses and payroll and manage accounts payable and accounts receivable.  Also, you can write checks from any number of business checking accounts, track your business chargecard usage, e-mail your invoices and estimates to your customers, share your company files over a network in multi-user mode and track your sales and business taxes.  QuickBooks Pro 2001 supports any small business with up to 20 employees.

If you aren't familiar with the QuickBooks interface, don't worry, because after a quick installation from the single CD, you'll quickly (no puns intended) find how easy it is to setup and use QuickBooks Pro 2001 for your business.  All financial features and functions are easily accessed from the main menu including your bank accounts, checking accounts, chargecard accounts, customers, vendors, employees and your reports and graphics.  Also, alerts are activated when it's time to pay your bills or if payment is expected from a customer's outstanding invoice.

Before using QuickBooks Pro, you'll need to enter your business information into the setup forms, which can take just an hour or several days, depending on the date you want QuickBooks Pro to start tracking your business activities.  It's recommended that you use your current accounting system to the end of your fiscal year (usually December) and then start using QuickBooks Pro for the new year.  For example, if your business year begins in January, use your old accounting system through December of the previous year.  However, you may begin anytime during the year, but you'll need to enter all your business receipts, expenses, invoices and etc., starting from January through to the present.

Whenever you need help, you're just a mouse click away from step-by-step detailed instructions for any task.   Help is available from the Help Menu as well as within the QuickBooks Pro page you're accessing.  For example, if you're creating an invoice, and have a question relating to the procedures, click on the "How Do I?" button, in the margin of the invoice template.  Also included is a 455-page printed User's Guide with step-by-step instructions for every task you need.  You'll even find a short course on business basics with everything you should know about operating a small business.  If you still have questions, you can call their technical support line and get help for a fee.  Fax On Demand and automated telephone support is also available.  Maybe the best way to find help, if you're stuck, is to visit the QuickBooks Web site for free technical support over the Internet.

A very important next step for your business is to setup your accounts receivables and accounts payables and customize your forms (invoices, estimates and sales receipts).  Next you need to enter your product descriptions, price and services, with the specific fees you charge for each item.  Now you're ready to process your product orders or create estimates for the services you offer and let QuickBooks Pro manage your receipts and expenses, and process your invoices.  This is a basic need for all businesses, large or small.   Now for the beauty of QuickBooks Pro: your receivables and payables are linked to the invoices and estimates you generate, and your customer information is shared, making your business life easier.  After you've created an invoice or estimate, it's easy to e-mail it to your customer or client over the Internet.   If you don't care to use the Internet, you can fax your invoices right from QuickBooks Pro, or print them for snail mailing.

I did find a few deficiencies in the sales receipt form.  QuickBooks Pro doesn't allow you to e-mail a customer's receipt (for an online purchase).  The sales receipt form doesn't offer the e-mail option, although, the invoice form, which is almost identical in format, does have a button to send as an e-mail attachment.  It doesn't seem difficult for Intuit to add that feature, but it's not available yet.  I also found a bug in their printing option.  Although you can select to print more than one copy of an invoice or sales receipt, the software only prints one page at a time.  I reported this bug to Intuit, and now they are aware of the problem.

This is a full-featured business accounting system complete with all the necessary tools to run your small business efficiently.   Other features you'll find useful include time tracking, income tax tracking and reporting, advice on implementing business strategies (like a business plan and goals) and more.  Once you've learned the ins and outs of QuickBooks Pro, you'll wonder how you've lived without it.

QuickBooks Pro 2001 sells for a street price of $127.99 after an $80 rebate, and will run on any multimedia PC, 100 MHz Pentium or faster (recommended) with Windows 95/98/NT 4/2000/Me, with 32 MB RAM and double-speed (2x) CD-ROM drive. 

Howard Berenbon

Software Companies Mentioned

Intuit Inc.
2500 Garcia Ave.
Mountain View, CA 94043
Phone: 1-800-446-8848
URL QuickBooks Pro 2001