Saturday, August 9, 2008

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.

GnuCash (http://www.gnucash.org/):
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.)

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