I’ve started researching what is available in accounting software. Here is a list of products I’ve looked into so far.
Intuit Quickbooks (Pro/Premier):
I could not find any demos on their site for that product, so I don’t think I will be considering it if I can’t even try it out first. They charge $200 for Pro and $400 for Premier. Payroll is an extra monthly fee. That doesn’t seem cost effective at all for what I am doing. I’m sure the product is good, but it’s more than I need…
Intuit Quicken “Home & Business”:
The cost for this one is $100. No demo either. Might consider looking into it if other choices don’t pan out.
Microsoft Office Accounting (Express):
I installed the express version of MS Office Accounting. Just did a quick overview. The program seems a bit bloated and slow. I’m using a pretty fast computer, so I’m not sure how they managed to make an accounting application so slow. The program seems functional enough, if not too much for what I need to do. The professional version is around $160 online. Although the pro version does not seem to add anything for me that would be worth the added cost. Payroll services are extra.
Peachtree Pro Accounting:
The cost is around $170. They have a demo available, but they ask for personal information. I really don’t want them contacting me, so I’ll probably pass this one up. Their payroll service is extra and looks to be more expensive than Microsoft and Intuit.
This is the program I plan on using. Fully featured, but not overly bloated/complex like the other products. What I have found most interesting so far is their extensive documentation. It goes into accounting theory and practice. I plan on reading that over! One negative is that they have no built-in payroll features. A plus is that their guide goes over how to manage payroll.
Don’t get me wrong, if one of the pay products could do exactly what I need, I would gladly buy it. Seeing as I will elect to be taxed as an s-corporation, I will have to pay myself a salary. So having built-in payroll management would be nice, but none of those pay-products come with that feature built-in (to my knowledge).
(Edit: In retrospect, I ended up just creating a spreadsheet that I used for every invoice. It included all taxes that I needed to take out in their own table cell that were automatically calculated once an invoice amount was inserted into the proper table cell. Long term, it’s probably a good idea to use an accounting software product like one of the above as money should be easier to track with them. Every invoice had a seperate spreadsheet file in my case.)