Intuit — QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions 8.0: Contractor Edition

From the April/May 2008 Review of Contractor/Construction Accounting Systems

QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions 8.0: Contractor Edition targets growing and mid-sized contracting businesses and comes in five-, 10-, 15- and 20-user versions. It has the capacity to handle the increased demand that a growing company has. Able to work on Windows Vista as well as Windows 2000 or later, the 2008 version of QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions also contains several new features that will be discussed later in this review.

Learning Curve/ Ease of Use -- 5 Stars
It would be difficult to find someone in small to medium-sized businesses or accounting firms who has not had experience with at least one version of QuickBooks during their professional career. While new options are continually being added, the main navigational screen has retained much of its design from previous versions. A drop-down menu bar is found at the top of the screen along with a navigation bar below that offers access to various centers, which include Customers, Vendors, Employees and Reports. Below the navigation bar is a flowchart that represents the logical flow of activities in each specific program area. This is especially helpful for new users, although the amount of information displayed may also present some confusion, as well. Centers are designed to be a central processing point for all functions found within each particular section, including creating purchase orders, processing invoices, paying bills and posting payments. Screens are customizable to allow for the user’s desired design.

Modules & Functionality -- 4.5 Stars
QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions 8.0: Contractor Edition features GL, AP, AR, Purchase Order, Fixed Assets, Banking, Estimates and the important Job Costing function. New in 8.0 is the on- demand Velocity Inventory add-on that contains the ability to manage multi-location inventory, handle schedule production and bar coding, and also do serial and lot tracking. Also new is the ability to run Enterprise Solutions from a Linux server. The Job Costing Center allows for the easy tracking of multiple jobs for each customer and for assigning expenses to each job. The Expenses Not Assigned to Jobs report helps ensure that all entered expenses have been assigned to a particular job. Estimates can be entered as jobs progress, and workers’ compensation and general liability insurance can be tracked, as well.

Productivity Tools --4.5 Stars
The newest version contains improved Outlook integration. The Time Tracking tool allows for the transfer of appointments and other calendar information from Outlook directly into Enterprise Solutions. The Google Maps and Directions function has also been improved, with step-by-step directions available from the business to the customer’s doorstep, a very useful feature if you are a service contractor. With the new on-demand Business Intelligence application, business owners can instantly view trends and analyze sales, expenses and profitability data to make faster decisions from anywhere with an Internet connection. QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions 8.0 can easily connect multiple locations and easily supports remote users via Windows Terminal Services. In addition, the percentage complete feature allows a business to keep a handle on job progression by entering the percentage of the job that has been completed.

Import/Export/ Integration -- 5 Stars
Along with the improved Outlook Integration, QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions 8.0 has also simplified the importing of data using Excel templates. True Commerce EDI integration is also now included with the 8.0 edition, a $795 value. As always, files can be easily imported/exported between QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions and Word or Excel. As well, users can easily convert Quicken, Microsoft Office Accounting or Peachtree data files into QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions. Intuit’s website also provides a list of hundreds of third-party software products that will integrate with Enterprise Solutions.

Reporting -- 4.5 Stars
QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions offers more than 120 built-in reports that can be customized to suit the needs of the user. Customized reports can then be saved for future access. ODBC capability allows access to reports in various formats, and reports can be displayed on screen, printed, e-mailed or exported to various third-party software products. Contractor-specific reports available include various job costing reports such as Job Cost by Vendor, Job Detail, Cost to Complete, Unpaid Bills by Job, and Billed and Unbilled Hours by Person or by Job. The Report Center provides access to various reports with explanations of each.

Support & Training -- 5 Stars
QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions includes a one-year membership to the Full Service Plan, which includes all of the latest product upgrades and enhancements, a dedicated technical support team, online backup and data protection services, custom reporting services, and a variety of interactive training tools suitable for all levels of users. And users should be sure to access the QuickBooks Community forum, which provides access to experienced users who can answer many of the questions a business may have. Intuit also offers a network of local, certified Solution Providers to help companies implement and optimize QuickBooks Enterprise and offer ongoing support and training.

Relative Value -- 5 Stars
QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions 8.0: Contractor Edition may not be suitable for high-volume construction companies or contractors, but it remains a good fit for those needing an effective and efficient way to track job costs and produce professional reports. Starting at $3,000 for a five-user system, this product is within reach of just about any business.


2008 Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars

 

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