We’ll make no secret of the fact that we like Intuit’s QuickBooks software. We’ve used it for running our own accounts in the past and we were impressed by the enhancements implemented in recent incarnations of the product. But can QuickBooks 2005 keep this gold standard up?
It certainly continues the tradition with crisp, clean presentation and a smart online help system which allows you to ask a question pertaining to any section of the program you might be stuck in (there’s a drop-down menu of frequently asked questions as well).
QuickBooks 2005 actually goes further with the help offered, tacking on something called “Follow Me Help”. This is a small window which automatically brings up relevant help topics as you navigate around the program. It’s also good to see that it boasts some in-depth material regarding VAT returns and some of the other complicated issues you have to deal with in business accounting.
On top of this there are new tutorials provided which cover the basic steps you’ll need to take in setting up and using the program. The familiarisation process still takes some time, as it does with any accounts package, but these extensive help features really do speed the learning process along for the uninitiated.
QuickBooks 2005 is very well featured too. Backups can be automated, as can updates for the software, and there are other thoughtful touches like full integration with Microsoft Word and Excel. The interface has also been fine tuned, with elements like a neater Report Finder. There are only minor tweaks here and there, but nevertheless, they’re welcome ones.
Completely new features include the addition of payroll e-filing, meaning you can file your payroll returns over the Net at no cost and take full advantage of the Inland Revenue incentive scheme to do so. WorldPay has also been adopted into the package to provide online credit card payment processing. Naturally, whether these added facets appeal to you depends on the exact nature of your business.
As usual, the more expensive Pro version benefits from further extra features including full integration with Barclays’ online banking service. Whether or not you’ll benefit from an upgrade to QuickBooks 2005 is debatable, as the new features this time around aren’t particularly “must-have.” However, there’s never been a better time to buy the product from scratch, as the extra help facilities in particular make the world of computerised accounting that much more bearable for the novice.
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