Intuit – QuickBooks 2006 Regular review

small business accounting simplified
Photo of Intuit – QuickBooks 2006 Regular

Forget woodchucks. Here’s a better tongue-teasing conundrum: if a quick look at a book was a flick through, how quick would a thick hick flick through a quick book? The answer? Quick sticks, of course, which is exactly the sort of speed that QuickBooks 2006 aims to help you get your book-keeping done at.

After installing the product (a painless process), we were confronted with the familiar QuickBooks front-end. The interface is identical to last year’s version of the program, which is no bad thing in itself. However, there’s one difference, and that’s in the “resource area” window which pops up to begin with.

This comprises of a selection of articles containing advice for those new to QuickBooks. It covers topics such as where to get technical support for the program, which optional services you can employ (such as integrated payment by BACS, although you do have to pay for these extras). There’s also a new user area, which takes you through the basics of where to begin setting up your business details.

However, there isn’t a great deal of information here, as Intuit has put the detailed instructions into a fresh, user-friendly startup guide. This replaces the old manual and provides a much better explanation of how QuickBooks works in layman’s terms (plus the original user guide is still available as a PDF file on the disc).

Along with all this help for the newbie, the ‘Follow-me’ help system has also been refined. This is a small window that produces relevant help topics as you move around the program. It isn’t lost on us that a great deal of the 2005 version’s enhancements were aimed at making QuickBooks more user-friendly, and this is doubly the case with QuickBooks 2006.

The difference is that this time the aid is targeted at getting first-timers up and running with the program. Because while QuickBooks is undoubtedly well designed, it can still be a little bewildering to start with. This is book-keeping, after all.

So what else is new? Well, that’s about it really. Existing users of the 2005 version haven’t got anything to get excited about, unfortunately. On the other hand, new users, especially the not-so PC savvy, will really appreciate the new startup guide and extra help. And ultimately, it’s still an excellent accounting program at the core, which lets you tackle everything from keeping tabs on your invoices and bank account(s), to completing your quarterly VAT returns.

Company: Intuit

Contact: 0845 606 2161

QuickBooks is still an excellent small-business accounting solution, but this year's incarnation will disappoint existing users with its lack of any real invention. However, newcomers will find that the added help features, on top of last year's improvements, boost the program to greater heights of initial accessibility.