Database Creations — Business! Professional Edition

From the April/May 2010 Review of Small Business Accounting Systems (Locally Installed).

Database Creations was founded in 1982, initially offering database applications. Now offering customized accounting and inventory applications using Microsoft Access, Business! Professional Edition is the offshoot of the highly successful business accounting program called Yes! I Can Run My Business. The vendor also offers Business! Standard Edition designed for smaller businesses.

Business! Professional was easily downloaded and installed on my computer within minutes. The program has an easily navigated user interface, featuring a series of tabs at the top of the screen along with a list of frequently used functions. Modules are also available at the top of the screen. Navigating through Business! Professional is like navigating through Microsoft Access, with the Access toolbar visible at the top of the screen, and the Business! Professional grid visible in the middle of the screen. Data-entry screens are set up in a logical sequence, with all fields offering standard lookup options. A new company wizard walks users through new company setup and also allows for the import of data from QuickBooks. I found a little inconsistency in the user interface with various screens sized differently.

Business! Professional also makes extended use of form buttons, making it easy to navigate to related forms, but screens remain slightly cluttered, with a lot of information squeezed onto one page. Business! Professional offers a pre-defined chart of accounts for numerous business types along with the ability to set the business structure.

Users can choose the default chart of accounts, create one from scratch or customize the existing accounts to suit the business’ needs. Both calendar and fiscal year budgeting is supported. Users can also easily set up recurring payables and receivables for easy processing. Business! Professional utilizes a batch system for processing transactions, but users can also enter a single bill or invoice into the system without using the batch system. Payments can be automatically allocated to the oldest invoices, and users can easily apply credit balances to open balances. User-defined fields are found throughout, allowing users to choose the items or information they want to track.

Two default tax rates can be set up per customer, and tax reports display tax liability per agency or jurisdiction. Business! Professional has also added several new tax reports this year. While the General Journal Transactions option details all transactions, amounts, transaction sources, and operation type for each transaction, there is no formal audit trail or tools designed specifically to ensure data integrity. Business! Professional does not currently offer multi-currency functionality. The program does include multi-warehouse capability, and offers an unlimited-user environment, but does not provide true multi-location support.

The Quick Order Entry feature allows users to enter customer quotes, sales orders or invoices by utilizing the batch system, with the option to choose the invoice type. POSitively Business in an add-on POS module, available for an additional cost, that integrates with Business! Professional.

Also available is an optional UPS/FedEx Shipping module with two options. Users can write a simple routine to send shipping data to ShipRush, where no additional module purchase is required other than the purchase of a ShipRush subscription where a simple SQL statement is written to pull the data. Also available is an integrated ShipRush module that can be purchased for an additional fee that provides the user with much more control over the shipping process and returns cost updates and shipment tracking data back to Business! This also requires the purchase of a ShipRush subscription license.

Business! Professional offers extensive customer and vendor management and tracking, including many user-defined fields for tracking vital information. The optional Payroll module (from PenSoft) allows users to track employee information and personal data, as well as payroll information such as pay rates and pay history.

The Business! Professional Inventory module is very comprehensive, with multi-warehouse, style and supplier tracking capability. In the latest version of the program, lot tracking capability has also been added. Users can sell both inventory and non-inventory items, and Business! Professional supports multiple pricing levels, warehouses and discounts. Using the Business! Professional Export Wizard, invoices, statements and other forms can be emailed directly to recipients. Currently, there are no remote user functions or ebanking capabilities.

The Analysis Tools snapshots offer quick access to vital functions happening within a business and include Inventory Projections, Sales Analysis, Item/Supplier/Data Analysis and Purchase Order Analysis. While these screen snapshots are not as customizable as dashboards, users will still be able to quickly access necessary information.

Business! Professional’s standard report manager provides users with access to more than 200 reports that can be easily customized to suit the business’ needs. All reports can also be customized using Access. Simply create and save reports to the report manager. The optional advanced report writer offers additional report criteria options, category grouping and print queues. Reports are available in several categories, including sales, customers, purchases, suppliers, accounting, banking and inventory.

Business! Professional allows users to set function passwords to limit the number of employees that have access to specific system areas. Users can set password-level protection for reprinting checks, un-posting items from the GL, un-voiding checks, and un-pay bill options.

Full source code is included with Business! Professional, offering users excellent import capability. Users can easily import data directly from Access, Excel or ASCII files. The Export Wizard assists users with exporting data to Excel, HTML, text files, Word or Access. The open database structure allows Business! Professional to integrate with numerous third-party software products. It also offers a long list of add-on products that fully integrate with the core accounting package, including both POS and payroll add-ons, as previously noted. At this time, Business! Professional does not offer an online accountant data transfer tool.

The latest release of Business! Professional features an online Help system via the F1 key while in any screen. The program also comes with several guides and user manuals, along with standard system Help. System updates are available on the Database Creations website, including 1099/1096 support and forms. Other updates can be found on the website and can be downloaded as needed. Along with phone and email support, users have access to the online product knowledgebase.

All registered users are eligible for free product support using the ‘Getting Started’ technical support plan. Support plans are available for purchase after the free support time expires. The vendor’s support is U.S.-based.

Business! Professional with a multi-user license is available for $2,495. While pricing is higher than some of the other products included in this review, Business! Professional’s open source code and customization capability is at the top of the line, making it an excellent choice for mid-sized businesses.