From the July 2009 Review of Construction/Contractor Accounting Systems
The Peachtree brand has long been a favorite of professional accountants for their small business clients, providing a broad base of general bookkeeping capabilities, including GL, AP, AR, invoicing, inventory, sales orders and contact management, along with good business management functions, reporting and analysis features. Peachtree’s Premium line includes versions tailored for several vertical industries, including Construction, Distribution, Manufacturing and Nonprofit. The Construction version extends the strong general business functionality of Premier to meet the specific needs of builders and general contractors through job tracking and costing, subcontractor management, accrual-based accounting for managing retainers, and progress billing. Pricing for Peachtree Premium Accounting for Construction starts at $499 for a single-user version, or $1,199.99 for a license that supports up to five simultaneous users.
LEARNING CURVE/EASE OF USE:
Several assistive features help guide users through initial installation and system configuration, including preparation checklists and setup guides. During setup, users are also able to select template charts of accounts based on their specific business type, speeding the process for less bookkeeping savvy persons. The system then uses this information to provide terminology related to their field.
Peachtree Premium’s interface is based on Navigation Centers that serve as hubs for key areas of the program, with the Business Status Center providing a broad overview of key business indicators in text and graphical formats. The data displayed on this dashboard is customizable, allowing users to quickly view account summaries, AR, inventory, sales data or other information and reporting options most important to them. It also provides drilldown access all the way through to individual transactions, if desired. Peachtree provides status centers for Customers & Sales, Vendors & Purchases, Employees & Payroll, Banking information and general Company data, as well.
These centers are also customizable, as are virtually all other areas of the program’s interface, including resizable panels, graphs and summaries. Selection lists for customers, vendors, employees and other entities are available through their appropriate centers, with lists offering excellent sorting and filtering options, while summary and contact data is displayed in spreadsheet format. Peachtree’s data-entry screens are well designed, with tabbed views of categorized information, and intuitive fields with several smart entry functions.
KEY MODULES & MANAGEMENT TOOLS:
Peachtree Premium includes full GL, AP, AR, serialized inventory, sales, banking and customer management capabilities, along with options for payroll and advanced add-on functions. The system includes a full-time audit trail and has screen-level security settings, along with period closing procedures for helping to maintain account integrity. Other features include analysis tools, customizable reports, financial statement generation, and the ability to accept credit cards.
The system’s core construction features are accessed via the Maintain Jobs screen within the Customers & Sales data center or via the Business Center, which provides tracking of job information and allows setup of job phases for progress measurement and billing. As with the rest of Peachtree Premium, many of the interface options are customizable, including data-entry fields that enable tracking user-defined information.
The construction version of Peachtree Premium also offers subcontractor insurance tracking, provides a labor burden assessment for tracking overhead costs per employee, and supports retainage. Progress billing functions can be used to generate customer invoices based on progress milestones or on percentage complete of estimated revenue or of each line item. Users can produce sales orders and invoices directly from estimates, which can be emailed from within the program.
Several new enhancements and additions have been introduced for the 2010 version of Peachtree Premium, including a new Customer Management Center, which provides more immediate access to customer information and detailed transaction histories via user-configurable dashboard views, along with simple export functions that allow users to output data to Excel or PDF. Additionally, Business Analytics functions offer performance benchmarking against other similar businesses. Among other new features are improved inventory, employee and security functions, automated backup and the option to have more than one company open at the same time, a nice feature for users managing more than one entity using the same Peachtree system.
Peachtree Premium offers strong reporting capabilities, with options available from the program’s data centers or directly from the comprehensive report center. More than 140 standard reports are available, all of which can be customized using the internal report editor or using Crystal Reports. Construction management reporting options include contract transmittal letters, component pick lists, assembly planning, overhead, cost by employee, equipment costs and progress measurement. Reports can be emailed directly from within the program, or exported into Word, Excel or PDF format. When viewed on-screen, reports have full drilldown capabilities.
The Peachtree Premium system offers automatic data routing between all modules as needed, including between add-on modules, such as advanced payment solutions, online bill-pay, remote access options, Sage’s Timeslips program, and Act! Link for Peachtree. It also integrates and syncs with Outlook for email and contact management, and can import data from QuickBooks and Excel files.
SUPPORT & TRAINING:
Excellent assistive features are available throughout the Peachtree program, from startup to right-click menus and task-specific guidance. The Peachtree support website offers downloads and program updates (including tax table updates), a knowledgebase, online chat support, tutorials and self study guides. Technical support is available on either a per-incident basis or with support packages.
Peachtree Premium Accounting for Construction offers a comprehensive small business management system that provides basic features and reporting for construction project/job management. The program is easy to use and offers excellent customization features, along with data centers that help keep users on top of key business information.
2009 OVERALL RATING: