PeachTree and QuickBooks are the leading software for small business accounting in 2012. If you’re running a business and need a better control over cash flow, balance sheet, income statement, and other vital business activities, those two products can help you get the job done. Let’s take a quick overview of the similarities and differences between the two, and compare the set of feature they offer.
A big draw to start using accounting software is the fact that every year it gets easier to understand and operate them and installation process is very fast. You can set up your company on any of the two platforms very fast and overnight become more professional and efficient in doing business. Both programs are organized in workflow format and share many of the basic features, such as: ability to create estimates and invoice customers, managing accounts payable and receivable, banking, managing employees, and inventory. For additional fee, both companies offer more personalized help to get you through particular challenges, or you can look for help in forum and communities where many common problems are discussed.
Equally impressive is the ability of both products to produce reports on all aspects of doing business. Whether for personal or business purposes, these reports are a professional tool and provide insight into every corner of your operations.
Both programs offer some new and improved features in the 2012 versions. New features coming with Peachtree 2012 are:
- Copy transactions – to speed up the recurring transactions, you can copy any of the previous ones, make the necessary adjustments, and in minutes you have an invoice ready.
- Sage adviser – is a series of videos, messages, and other resources to get you more proficient in using the product.
- Vendor management center – conveniently includes all the vendor related information on a customizable screen; permits you to search, total, and filter information to find what you’re looking for.
- Sage Peachtree system check – alerts and suggestions related to information back up, system check, potential hardware issues or available updates.
- Sage Peachtree business intelligence – access to built-in report templates that can be later customized; the reports are in Excel allowing for easier integration with other documents; they can also be saved and updated periodically.
QuickBooks 2012 offers the following new additions:
- Access industry-specific report templates created by other QuickBooks users – select a report and QuickBooks will pull up all the information for you; you can share your custom reports with others.
- Track sales leads with a new section designed specifically for this task; it can later be easily changed to a Customer preserving the important information already entered.
- See your invoices, billing, and other important tasks in a calendar view – big picture view of what’s going on and what’s coming
- Attach and store documents in the document center.
- Save time with Batched Time Sheets for multiple employees and vendors.
Peachtree is more complete and a little bit more advanced than QuickBooks. Each business category (customers, vendors, employees, banking, etc) has its own workflow and displays information appropriate for that category. For example, Banking displays workflow on one half of the screen and other pertinent information, such as Bill to Pay, Account Balances, Recent Reports, on the other side. You can customize what information you want to see when you switch between categories. QuickBooks workflow takes up most of the area on the screen, and encompasses all the categories. In order to see more details of each category, you have to click on it, losing a sight of the workflow. Of course you don’t need to see the workflow at all time, especially once you get more proficient in navigating the software and understanding the connections between different accounts. Although Peachtree offers more of a snapshot view of different sections of your business, I find QuickBooks interface more user friendly and somewhat easier to use. One important feature to keep in mind is an Online version provided by QuickBooks. It gives you access to your company from a remote computer or a phone, greatly expanding your options, especially if you travel a lot of your business requires you to be away from a computer. If that’s the case, it would tip the preference scale to QuickBooks, as Peachtree does not appear to offer a similar solution at the moment.
I find Peachtree more powerful than QuickBooks in managing inventory. It gives you option to make a snapshot of what you have on hand as well as create one of many report s related to the inventory. You can get a reminder once inventory fall below certain level and even set it up so that an automatic purchase order is created. At times the amount of information might be overwhelming (who purchased a product, where you purchased the parts from, backorder information, and inventory account adjustment) but at the same time it provides better picture on what’s going on in your business.
QuickBooks and Peachtree often trade spots on the top of the list of many portals that offer product reviews. They are among the best in their category and this year TopTenReviews.com has Peachtree and QuickBooks listed as No.1 and No. 2, with the 2012 Gold Award going to Peachtree. QuickBooks had to settle for 2012 Silver Award although both products were very competitive. According to the website, Peachtree was superior in Inventory management (4.0 vs 3.0) and Account Receivable and Payable (4.0 vs 3.5).
One more feature that makes any of those two products even more appealing is access to community of users. You can post questions in open forums on all topics related to the functionality of the products and their features. There is also lots of study material of how to better run a business. For a fee, Peachtree and QuickBooks offer personalized help, which runs at $29.95 per month or $249.95 per year at QuickBooks.
Cost of Peachtree is a bit higher than QuickBooks but the cost should not be the final determinant which product to acquire. Peachtree cost ranges from $195.49 for Pro version (1 user) to $2,549.15 for Quantum (5 to 40 users plus all the options and features available on Peachtree). QuickBooks on the other hand, costs $183.95 for Pro and Mac versions, $319.95 for Premier, and $480 per user for the Enterprise Solutions. Additionally, QuickBooks Online is $12.95 per month. Before deciding on what software to purchase, I would recommend you talk to an accountant who can better match your business requirements to the software.