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VINE VOICEon 21 February 2014
Platform: PC|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Quickbooks is a comprehensive piece of software for managing the accounts of small business. I've tried several packages and found for this is better than most. There are a lot of help functions and forums and you can customise some aspects to a certain degree. Having now used the previous version for more than 12 months I find the usability a bit clunky e.g. time sheet is under an employees menu and customer centre, but mileage is listed under the company menu. I’ve spent hours trying to get reports and invoices to look how I want to no avail. The foreign currency is very tricky to use.

I was hoping the 2014 version might be a complete overhaul but there are very few new items which for the price you pay for the software aught to be free updates in my opinion. These include: ability to attach documents, updates to templates with respect to VAT and VAT tracking (Not useful for a new small business as unless you have an expensive service or product to sell you wont reach the VAT threshold) create customised email templates and track emails, an income tracker (but this does not work if you have multiple currencies.)

There is now an online version, but that is subscription only, and if you take the free trial you are then not eligible for a discounted price!

Details of the product below:

The software opens with an overview screen which shows the different parts and how they relate to each other I found this very helpful to visualise how the parts flowed. The overview screen is split into 5 areas.

1. Suppliers area has clickable tabs to enter bill details/payment and manage VAT.
2. The customer area has tabs to create estimates, sales orders, invoices, receive payments, create sales receipts, handle refunds and overview statements.
3. The employees area has a tab to enter time and learn about payroll options. 4. In the company area is the chart of accounts, calendar and items and services.
4. In the company area is the chart of accounts, calendar and items and services.
5. The banking area has tabs to write and print cheques, record deposits and reconcile accounts for example.

The various areas of the software can also be access from drop down lists at the top of the screen. There are numerous reports which can be customised and a lot of information can be exported to excel offering other manipulation and presentation possibilities.

The software can be customised, an area to the left has `my short cuts'. The help function is good and gives the answers to many problems with a step by step guide, on line there is additional help and user forums.

The downside of sophisticated software is that you may have to invest a lot of time to explore all the functions and unless you have a fincial background/training, find IT easy, and/or have a good memory and/or use the software on a daily basis. You may have to make notes to remind yourself how to use some features! I've found a few gremlins and looking at the user forums I'm not the only one who needs support. The response from forums can be slow and there does not seem to be band of Intiut staff who pick up the queries, there is too much reliance on customers helping each other.
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Platform: PC|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I am new to accountancy software, but having a husband who is self-employed, but who looks to me to complete his paperwork and tax return, I decided that I needed a little help after the hair pulling that I did over the last return! Although new to accountancy software, I don't usually struggle with using any software on a PC, but I was ready to face a few challenges here!

I was a little wary at first and to be honest I don’t think that I have managed to get to grips with some of the features, but mainly because these are more geared towards small businesses rather than just for use for the basics that a self-employed person needs, however, it is clearly very adaptable and accessible and I can see how it might prove very useful for more complicated work, such as VAT returns, which I do not personally need to use at this time.

For someone new to accounting software like me, the tips that are offered as you explore are very useful and allow you to make the most of the software. Once you are familiar with everything that you need to be, you can switch these off.

I love the invoice section –allowing me to prepare invoices easily and keep them together with other business information. The invoices look very professional and I like having these accessible within the software as it keeps all of the business paperwork together. There is also the facility to attach other documents, so I have been able to attach older documentations and (old-style) invoices to keep everything together.

The foreign currency tools are also useful. Since having the software, I haven’t had to use it, but as my husband does some work as a translator and interpreter, alongside other work, this will prove useful in being able to monitor the fluctuations in the currencies and their worth over time, but also the having the tools on hand to calculate the conversion of money right there, rather than having to come out of this and go and find the information elsewhere and import the calculations back in.

All in all, this software makes light work of all my accounting needs and you can read the other reviews on the site to determine whether this suits your business needs if you are a small or medium business, which I cannot comment on with any authority other than to say that this greatly surpasses my needs!
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on 4 October 2013
Quite simply it just gets better and better. Once again Intuit have surpassed themselves with this software, it is very easy to use covers virtually everything needed for small business accounting and financial control at a very modest price. The backup and support are second to none. Reports are the easiest yet and a company snapshot can be taken at any time. In my opinion it outshine its rivals with features and simplicity in use. Well done quickbooks
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Platform: PC|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The software is very user friendly once set up. You can choose (as I did) to run a sample business already set up for you--with example sales, customers, invoices etc. already entered. Doing this allows you to have a good look around the system first without needing to enter any information. There are also helpful yellow "tip" boxes, which appear when you click on many of the buttons, both giving further information and telling you what is new in Quickbooks Premier 2014--these can easily be dismissed (by clicking outside of them) or turned off. As a newbie (coming to the software from GnuCash) I found it very helpful and easy to get into and find my way around, without ever feeling confused or daunted.

The program itself is clean, modern and professional looking, with a very efficient and practical design. On the home screen are a list of commands down the left hand side--giving you instant access to practically everything in the software. At the top right is a small section containing alerts and alarms, by clicking on this it brings up a list of everything you need to do. This is a great feature: the list is nicely expandable (so, for example, if you click on "Bills to pay" a list of all bills will appear below it, along with the due date and amount) and means you can get a complete overview of everything that needs action, accessed with a simple click from any screen.

The main part of the "home screen", which greets you when you use the software for the first time, is taken up with a clickable flow chart. This is split into different sections (suppliers, customers, employees, company and banking) that link together where appropriate and give you a nice visual overview of the most common tasks. You can also switch this off in the preferences so that instead of showing the Home screen it will open with any other screen or just however you closed it the last time. Personally, I would have liked to be able to customise the home screen more for it to be truly useful (the flow chart, whilst nice, doesn't contain any financial data) and found myself switching it off fairly quickly--you can still access it any time by clicking home. Far more useful is the "snapshots screen", which gives you a customizable overview of your current figures (simply open snapshots from the left hand menu, go to preferences, click desktop view, tick save current and then untick show home screen).

Also highly useful is the calendar view screen (which can also be set as the opening screen, same as for snapshots above). This displays an outlook style calendar view, along with a side bar on the right which displays a detailed list of upcoming bills, tasks and transactions.

Navigation is very well thought out also. As well as the "everything in easy grabbing distance" list to the left, you can also choose how to switch quickly between already open windows. You can navigate either through having one single window fill the screen (and using ctrl + tab to switch between open windows or using the window menu) or using an old-style multiple windows application (and being able to tile them etc. within the application workspace). Personally, I found the single window easiest to use (especially when just ctrl-tab switching between two or three screens).

Data entry is fluid and natural. Everything is fairly easy to understand and screens are very slick and similar across the board. You can add customers, manage suppliers and keep track on your employees. Each of these has countless parameters (allowing you to add as much info as you could realistically hope to keep--though the option to add custom fields is also there, should you need them). Where applicable you also get buttons that integrate with Microsoft Office. For example, you can import or export customer lists etc. to/from Excel with a dedicated toolbar button; likewise if a customer is selected you can click on the Word button prepare addressed letters or standard template letters to send. The box says it also integrates with Outlook, but as I only have Word and Excel I couldn't test this.

As well as the great "overview" features (snapshots, calendar and alerts), Quickbooks also comes with an impressive range of reports and forecasting tools. Clicking on "reports" brings you to a neat hub, with the various sections organised by category (company & financial; customers & receivables; sales; jobs, time & mileage; VAT; employees & payroll; banking; accountant & taxes; budgets & forecasts). All of these are fairly intuitive also and can be tailored to suit your own needs and then emailed (as PDF or Excel), exported to Excel or printed. You can also save your favorite reports so that they are all accessible from the favorites section on the reports home screen.

VAT is all managed within one screen (accessed from the VAT menu--which also gives access to your VAT settings and reports). From here, you can choose your VAT rates and codes, view past payments, make VAT adjustments and file your returns (including the ability to file online, though I haven't tested this).

I haven't had time to test everything fully, but so far so good. Everything seems to work intuitively and I've only had to look around for help on a couple of occasions. You will have to check the individual packages to find out which one will work best for you. Personally, I found this very easy to use with a nice learning curve. It is also fairly light, once loaded, on resources (averaging around 150,000k) so runs nice and quickly.

The only real negative is the lack of hard copy documentation with the product. There is a quick-start guide, but it is very brief (a couple of pages); the online PDF user guide is barely any better (20 pages), so I'd highly recommend also purchasing QuickBooks 2014: The Missing Manual to go along with it.
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VINE VOICEon 16 February 2014
Platform: PC|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
We are running a small Boutique and this software has made our business easy to run. I am useless when it comes to accounts (failed book keeping at School) but have been able to get the most from this software. The stock control feature is a god-send as we now know exactly what is in stock and what sells faster. It just needs a little work on our part and QuickBooks does the rest. The Invoices and Quotes look very professional and so are reports it generates from our data. We do not use the Budget and Forecasting features so I cannot comment on how good those are, but I cannot see why they wont work.

I have been using QuickBooks for the past two (2) years. With each version, the software gets better. The 2014 version is no exception. In the crowded small business software category, this is the king.

This is a time and money saving software, highly recommended.
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VINE VOICEon 1 March 2014
Platform: PC|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have a small business and HATE paying book-keepers or accountants. I have used Intuit Quicken and previous versions of this Quickbooks software and this has a very familiar look and feel.

This is the 2014 version

The tutorials are excellent and well worth going through.

I am an engineer and use EXcel rather a lot. It is a super feature being able to import spreadsheets into Quickbooks and then producing useful reports. My tax returns next year will be very neat and tidy, I am confident the reports I will be able to create and print out will satisfy my auditor and HMRC

I am now providing clients with very good looking estimates, invoices and receipts.

I am sure to find even more useful features. Never thought I would find accounting interesting.
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Platform: PC|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've been using Quickbooks for a very long time and find its flexibility and transparency just right for the start-up and build-up entrepreneurs. For all these years I suspect I've never yet plumbed the full depths of the system. I also find it works very well for the clients who can access it easily using typical English phrases rather than gobbledegook. It's good to see the VAT Flat Rate Scheme and the beginnings of CRM features. I've been much less impressed with the Cloud version, so long may standalone Quickbooks reign!
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Platform: PC|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've certainly not used every version of QB, but have used last year's, which was already an excellent product.
I've not explored every feature, but this version is essentially a collection of small and welcome refinements, as well as the addition of more forms.

Definitely recommended to small businesses and those taking bookkeeping classes. That is unless you can get the previous version for a substantial discount, as there's little other reason to not have the most recent version.
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VINE VOICEon 26 June 2014
Platform: PC|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Has been fantastic for me whilst I'm sorting out going self employed with a new business. I'm so paranoid that I will trip up and this means that I can record everything as I go and get a lot of reports etc. I love the customisation features. I would recommend going for some youtube tutorials though to watch and try your own styles and layouts because as there's so many options in that regard, you can feel overwhelmed.

No longer need those file binders now!
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VINE VOICEon 16 February 2014
Platform: PC|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I hadn't used Quickbooks for about 5 years, so was interested to see how much had changed - well, plenty it seems, but all for the better. I found it easy to get up and running quickly, and enter the figures for my small business, but as I've spent more time with it I've discovered more and more handy features and customisations - some of which aren't applicable to my type of business, but others which will serve me well in accounting and budgeting for the future.
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