From the July 2010 Review of Construction/Contractor Accounting Systems
The QuickBooks Premier line of small business accounting programs from Intuit includes several industry-specific versions, including the Contractor Edition, which offers features specifically geared toward builders. All versions of Premier include the same core module set, providing integrated GL, AR, AP, contact management, inventory and a variety of options for payroll. The Contractor Edition adds additional functions for tracking jobs and change orders, managing subcontractors, billing by phase, estimating, job costing and profitability analyses.
Recent new additions to QuickBooks are also available in the Contractor Edition, including the new Client Data Review tool, which helps with write-up and troubleshooting functions. Suggested retail price for QuickBooks Premier 2009 Contractor Edition is $399.95 for a single user, $749.95 for two users, and $1,099.95 for the three-user edition, which can support up to a total of five concurrent users. (Current discounts apply that could bring the price down significantly.) Each of the QuickBooks Premier industry-focused editions (Professional Accountant, Contractor, Professional Services, Manufacturing, Retail, General Business and Nonprofit) are included with all of the other editions, which can be useful for entrepreneurs running different types of entities. Likewise, the program can support any number of client businesses.
LEARNING CURVE/EASE OF USE:
QuickBooks revolutionized small business accounting, specifically due to its interfaces, which have evolved significantly over the years, but have always been focused on providing streamlined access to program functions for non-accountant users. Also of note with the industry-specific versions of Premier is that the program uses terminology more appropriate for those sectors, such as job costing, subcontractors and suppliers in the Contractor Edition. These templates are automatically applied during the initial setup process, which is guided by a wizard function.
The program opens to a customizable home screen that serves as the primary interface. It uses a workflow design with icons for accessing common vendor, employee and customer tasks, such as entering purchase orders and employee time, paying bills, and receiving payments. Additional functions for these entities are available via customizable workflow-oriented Customer, Vendor and Employee Center screens. These Centers and additional functions can also be accessed using the menu and icon bars at the top of the program window. Housed on the right side of the screen is an assistance panel along with a business financial summary table with account balances, AR, AP, etc.
From virtually any screen, users can easily drilldown deeper into transaction information, reporting, client histories and contact data, or journal entries, while the program’s full-time audit trail monitors and records all actions and changes. Data-entry screens are exceptionally well developed and include a multitude of link functions, drilldown options, selection lists and various other smart features that let users quickly check inventories, customer credit limits, histories and other details.
KEY MODULES & MANAGEMENT TOOLS:
Premier Contractor Edition offers a good standard module set that includes GL, AP, AR, invoicing, inventory, scheduling, revenue forecasting and budgeting. It also offers options for integrated or outsourced payroll, credit card acceptance in-person or over the phone, sales tax compliance, and support for multiple currencies.