In March I moved my manual Excel accounting system to an automated system. I had been so busy that my billing and statements at the end of the month had been taking hours to do. I very carefully reviewed and tested for several weeks each version of software to see what would be easiest for a non-accountant type like me to use.
I tried Microsoft Office Accounting, Peachtree by Sage, and Quickbooks by Intuit. Here is a quick synopsis from my personal experience.
Microsoft Office Accounting
I tried this one first as I liked the idea of a tie in with all the Office tools and programs I knew how to use. What I found was the program was not intuitive and did not have the help tools that I personally needed. I needed super simple!
This was a good product, but the inablitity to try out what I wanted was the deal breaker for me. I could only download and test the beginner version, which I did not want. To download and try the version that I really needed I would have to pay in full for the software. Then if I did not like it, I could get a refund. I learned a very important lesson from Adobe GoLive 9 that this is totally not a good idea. The time you take to yak on the phone with customer service, time to wait for your refund, and pain and suffering to get your credit is too steep.
Peachtree by Sage
I have purchased this product after significant testing of a full featured product download. Although the download time was high, I got all versions at one time, so I was able to actually test two versions that I was interested in using. While testing I was able to understand how to set up custom invoice templates (one thing I really wanted), add customers, take payments and more.
I got hands-on time and liked the product. For a non-accounting type like me, it was very intuitive, the help screens were excellent, and the product appeared to streamline many of the tasks I needed to drop time doing. I went to my local Staples store to buy it and it was on sale. I got a huge discount and bought it. I would have paid hundreds for what I finally settled on and with my rebates I paid under $50 for my software!
The more I use the product the better I like it. I can now do my billing in under 15 minutes each week versus the 1 to 1.5 hours I used to do. Statements are done with one click! I got even got envelopes that allow me to fold my statements and for addresses to show through the windows so no more hand written envelopes. When a customer pays me I enter the information in one place. The customer ledger is updated, my month income statement updated and my checkbook ledger updated automatically. I have even instituted credit card processing tied into Peachtree and now instead of using PayPal and then manually making adjustments for transactions, Peachtree does it all with nearly one click to take the payment, authorize the card, and transfer the money to my checking account.
I have to say that moving my business accounting to Peachtree was one of the best things I did. I was not experienced with accounting, and Peachtree has made it easy for me. The reporting is excellent, the help information simple to understand, and the help desk staff is very helpful and patient. I would highly recommend your consideration of the product for your own needs. Now I spend more time selling, my invoices and statements look more professional, and I can understand what is happening with my business better with the reports that help me to see my cash flow and expenses.
If your business has grown beyond invoices and statements done in Excel or Word, you need to consider Peachtree by Sage systems. This is an unpaid testimonial. I just love the product and wanted to share it with you!