The Match Game & how to play it
Committing to an accounting software package is a major decision that will have a direct effect on your company’s bottom line. Here’s your chance to take a good look at the leading programs before you make the leap
You need to get your hands on the information fast, because when you can obtain an accurate picture of your company’s financial position – the dollars and cents that constitute its ever-changing bottom line – you can make decisions to propel your company’s growth. Your choice of accounting software can make or break your ability to gather that information quickly. No, all accounting software is not the same, so you need to be sure you have the right program for your type of business.
Do you, for example, have a service-based company or a product-based company? That’s a key question when you consider the different finance issues that the two face – and when you discover that certain programs are geared more toward one business type than toward the other. Product-oriented-business owners should look into Peachtree Complete for Windows, BestWare’s M.Y.O.B. Premier, and DacEasy Accounting & Payroll. Service-oriented-business owners, on the other hand, are best served by Peachtree Complete for Windows Plus Time & Billing and Intuit’s QuickBooks Pro.
Look at your choices regarding marriage – a union between your business and an automated partner that will help guide your company to financial success.
The first step toward the altar is usually the blind date, where you’re “fixed up” with an accounting package that a colleague says would be a great fit. But what works well in one person1s business is not always a suitable match for yours. To ensure that you make a successful selection, you’ll have to do some detailed homework.
Try playing the field – reading up on different packages, downloading shareware versions to test them out, and talking with other users of accounting programs and even customer-service representatives. Now is the time to arm yourself with questions regarding each package’s capabilities and the types of businesses the programs serve best.
To help you through this prenuptial process, we found a couple of people who, like you, needed to make an accounting connection. Taking their needs into consideration, we outlined several potential suitors. Read on to find out which ones they chose and why.
Our first “bachelor,” Jeffrey Young, is a controller at KimberKable, an Agden, Utah based wire and cable manufacturer. Young needs a program that’s powerful but has a simple interface. He also wants it to be multi-user ready. The two salespeople at KimberKable access sales orders, inventory, and pricing levels. They are on and off the system throughout the day, so the software must be able to accommodate simultaneous and multiple users. Kimber Kable manufactures on a made-to-order basis, which means that the software has to manage the workflow of raw materials, including copper, insulation, and connectors, and track their assembly into finished wire and cables. Finally, Young requires password security that limits access to individual departments, specifically payroll.
Suitor number one is Peachtree Complete for Windows. Peachtree offers a graphical interface that displays basic accounting processes and acts as an intuitive menu. Like most entry-level accounting packages, Peachtree lets users work by filling in such common business forms as invoices, purchase orders, and checks. It is multi-user ready, able to accommodate several simultaneous users. It also offers powerful inventory features that can manage several prices for a single part. This function allows KimberKable to sell goods easily to different vendors at different prices when one vendor, say, buys in larger quantities. Peachtree alerts inventory control when it’s running low on a product, prompting a company’s buyer to order raw materials. In the case of Kimber Kable, a low supply of wire may mean that it’s time to order copper. The password security is comprehensive and can limit each employee’s access to specific program functions. Thus, for example, sales personnel can’t peek at everybody’s compensation in the payroll module.
Suitor number two is M.Y.O.B. Premier from BestWare. This program is also graphical, with an easy-to-understand interface and first-rate inventory features that would allow KimberKable to track its raw materials through the manufacturing process. Its multi-user capabilities and payroll features are admirable, but M.Y.O.B. will cost more, in the long run, should the company need to add users in the future. The publisher charges $99.95 for each new user beyond the initial three licenses that come with Premier. Even so, M.Y.O.B. remains a solid package, and it has a comprehensive version for Macintosh, a platform other manufacturers seem to have abandoned.
Suitor number three is DacEasy Accounting & Payroll, an all-inclusive package that comes with strong inventory features. Kimber Kable could use DacEasy to let its two salespeople share information, and the program allows for additional users without requiring the arm to purchase more licenses. Although DacEasy strives to present an intuitive interface, the software is oriented toward professional accountants. The program uses accounting terms, not conversational English, so it is the hardest of the three candidates for business owners to master.
So, who’s the lucky bride? Young chose to partner with Peachtree Complete. For Young, Peachtree’s breadth of features makes it the best program for overseeing the manufacturing process. It also impressed Young with its multitude of built-in reports, particularly those that help him analyze financial and cash-flow statements. He uses the import/export feature to transfer data to and from spreadsheets; that permits the company to add customers to databases and update the inventory rosters in the application with another department’s listings. The software has also proven to adapt well to requirements that Young added, addressing needs beyond the original inquiry. This is a long-term relationship in the making.