For the money, QuickBooks Pro gives you many more features. Yes, the price of Microsoft's accounting screams "bargain," but it really isn't a bargain unless you already happen to be running Microsoft Office 2003, which is required for many of this accounting program's most compelling features. And Small Business Accounting costs $895 ($745 after rebate) for five real-time users, whereas QuickBooks Pro charges $750 for the same.
Setup Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting 2006
Microsoft Office 2006 Small Business Accounting is installed in less than 10 minutes. As with any Accounting program however, the difficult part comes later - long hours of entering your business details, such as employees and customers, addresses, bank and credit card account numbers. Like QuickBooks Pro, Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting 2006 provides setup shortcuts. Data conversion went easily and you will like the wizard's Map Fields screen, which lets you drag and drop Excel fields to match their counterparts in Small Business Accounting. Microsoft's bookkeeping app imports data from only the 2002, 2003, or 2004 editions of QuickBooks Basic or Pro. The well organized interface of Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting 2006 resembles a mixture of Microsoft Outlook and QuickBooks Pro. From Outlook, Microsoft Small Business Accounting borrows a left-side navigation panel with links to popular modules, such as Company, Customers, Vendors, Pay Sales Tax, and so on. Users of Microsoft Office 2003 will immediately identify the menus and tools along the top of the screen. From QuickBooks, Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting lifts the supportive flowchart screens that outline the series of accounting tasks.
Features of Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting 2006
Microsoft Office 2006 Small Business Accounting like any good bookkeeping programs, isn't planned for professionals, but rather for sparing entrepreneurs and shops of up to 25 employees that supervise their own finances using worksheet applications. Not like its competitors Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting doesn't come in various flavors. The $179 version, with roughly the equivalent features of QuickBooks Pro, is the only choice. By comparison, Intuit offers multiple versions of QuickBooks, from Simple Start up to Premier.
Microsoft has an easy-to-learn, aesthetically appealing interface and offers plenty of wizards to help novices. Lower-price competitors, such as the $50 Simply Accounting Basic, do the same tasks, but Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting 2006offers features not found in bargain competitors, including a well-designed tool to forecast cash flow - the heard of every small business. Still, Microsoft's product lacks many features available in the pricier accounting packages, such as QuickBooks Premiers' Expert Analysis Tool to compare your company's profits and sales against those of comparable businesses.
Small Business Accounting integrates so strongly with Microsoft Office 2003 that I don't recommend it if you use non-Microsoft word processors and spreadsheets. For instance, if you want to add your company logo to an invoice in Small Business Accounting, you'll need to export the invoice to Microsoft Word. Also, the client accounts in Small Business Accounting combine well with Outlook's Business Contact Manager, so you won't have to copy data entry between those programs. You can also opt for the $569 Microsoft Office Small Business Management Edition 2006 package, which bundles Small Business Accounting and Outlook with Business Contact Manager.
Service and support
Microsoft charges steep fees for technical support like other small-business accounting vendors. Users of Microsoft Office 2006 Small Business Accounting get two free e-mail or phone queries at no charge. After the two freebies support questions cost $35 each. In the same time help from Intuit QuickBooks costs $75 for a 20-minute call and $25 for each 5 minutes after that. A year of support for Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting 2006 costs $249 per year, the same as for the 2004 versions of MYOB Plus and Simply Accounting. You can also pay Microsoft $149 for five support incidents within one year. Microsoft's accounting tech-support hours run from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. PT on weekends. A less expensive alternative is the Microsoft Small Business Accounting 2006 support site, which offers free additional information on potentially awkward issues.
One user's opinion
"Better than Simply, MYOB, cheaper than QuickBooks"I am not a fan of QuickBooks as I constantly had to upgrade Q.B. for even the most modest reports. I have tried Simply Accounting and MYOB and not been happy. Reluctantly I tried SBA and was pleasantly surprised. It is a very intuitive accounting package. For the money and ease of use it is the product I use now and suggest to clients.
M.Kipling (December 1, 2005)
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