Intuit - QuickBooks Premier Contractor 2011
From the July 2011 Review Construction and Contractor Accounting Systems
Small construction companies that do not require advanced tracking needs.
The Choose an Edition option utilized by QuickBooks has gained popularity in recent years. Choosing an edition when installing QuickBooks provides users with the required chart of accounts necessary to properly run their business type. QuickBooks also continues to add new features to each annual release, keeping QuickBooks fresh. While not suitable for construction companies or contractors with advanced tracking needs, the Contractor edition of QuickBooks will provide small construction companies with the capability to handle their job functions well.
BASIC SYSTEM FUNCTIONS:
QuickBooks has consistently maintained an easy-to-use interface which has a tendency to be crowded, although improved customization capability has allowed users to implement the navigational interface to better suit their business. Centers are the main navigational tool used in QuickBooks, along with a functional toolbar at the top of the screen. Workflow areas are also displayed on the main screen. Data-entry screens are consistent throughout QuickBooks and contain the necessary lookup options. Numerous navigational tools and user options are also available throughout. The company snapshots feature provides users with a summarized view of company status, including pertinent information such as aging reports, payment status, and the ability to set up quick links to frequently used functions. Remote access is available through an optional QuickBooks add-on, and QuickBooks also integrates with CRM products. Conveniently, QuickBooks is designed to work with both Windows and Mac operating systems.
CORE ACCOUNTING CAPABILITIES:
QuickBooks Premier Contractor 2011 offers solid core accounting functionality including GL, AP, AR and PR. New in 2011 is the ability to utilize a batch system that allows users to process multiple invoices for the same services. Another great new feature, the Paid Date Stamp, allows users to stamp all paid invoices. The construction version of QuickBooks offers industry-specific headings for all job-related functions. Payroll functionality is included, but an optional payroll service is available, as well. QuickBooks also offers a banking feature that allows users to easily track all checks in and out, and easily reconcile bank statements. For a small business product, QuickBooks provides users with an excellent audit trail function, with a comprehensive report that provides detail about every transaction and system access completed.
Managers can specify access levels for each user, including either full or specified access. Specified access allows managers to choose specific areas that users will be able to access.
The system offers good estimating capability, with the ability to complete custom estimates and create templates for use in future estimates. Existing estimates can also be edited for current clients, and multiple estimates can be completed for each job. Job costing and tracking reports allow users to track job-related cost items, including the ability to compare estimates to actual. Users can process change orders and additional information added to any job as it progresses. While not available as a separate entity, subcontractor information including both expenses and payments can be tracked as an additional service item. Subcontractor time can also be tracked.
QuickBooks also tracks all customer, vendor and employee information through its respective centers. New items can be entered through the various centers, as well. Inventory is easily tracked and offers the ability to maintain product re-order points, determine preferred vendors for each product and utilize numerous user-defined fields as needed. The Purchase Order (PO) function allows users to create custom PO templates, and users can also enter vendor information on the fly. Remote workers can access the system from anywhere with an internet connection to enter pertinent information as needed.
REPORTING & MANAGEMENT TOOLS:
QuickBooks offers a solid selection of construction-related reports, including the useful Profit and Loss by Job, where users can track job expenses as the job progresses. Another solid report is the Job Progress Invoices vs. Estimates report, which provides essential details on estimated expenses. The new Cost to Complete Job Report provides details on expenses needed to finish a job, and users can now bill customers progressively, using job phases. QuickBooks report center makes it easy to locate and customize various reports. Conveniently, all reports can be emailed to recipients or exported directly to Excel. QuickBooks also allows users to easily create templates for current and future report processing, as well as customer invoices and statements. Company Snapshots provide users with quick access to pertinent financial information, and the optional document management service allows for control of documents, with the ability to attach documents to the appropriate file. Users can also access files from remote locations, making it easy to supply field offices with the necessary documents. Field personnel can also easily access QuickBooks by using the optional remote access feature that provides access to QuickBooks files at any time. Time tracking capability allows for tracking employee and subcontractor time for any job.
All data import and export is done using either .csv or text file formats. QuickBooks offers a good selection of third-party applications that integrate with QuickBooks products.
QuickBooks continues to offer a good selection of Help options to new users. Learning tutorials, the solid Help function and the setup wizards make it easy to navigate the system from the start. QuickBooks offers access to local software experts, and online support options are available, as well. System updates are automatic, or users can choose when to download product enhancements. Training options are also numerous, with choice of training type and level. A strong user community, which includes QuickBooks users, accountants and support personnel, provides answers to frequently asked questions.
QuickBooks support varies, with routine questions often routed to world-wide support centers, while payroll and second-level support is usually provided by U.S. call centers. Intuit also encourages users to utilize local certified QuickBooks Advisors.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY & PRICING
QuickBooks Premier 2011 is available for $399.95 for a single user. A three-user system costs $999.95, which is down from last year. Available for both construction businesses and contractors, QuickBooks provides easy product installation, quick system setup, and easy system navigation — all the features the small business owner needs to get and keep their business running smoothly.
2011 Overall Rating