Business! Standard Edition is a small business accounting application based on Microsoft’s Access database system, providing a customizable
program with GL, AP, AR, purchasing, customer management, banking, finance and inventory tools. Database Creations also offers Business! Professional Edition as well as a point-of-sale program and hardware (barcode scanners, etc.), with an optional barcoding module. Business! Standard Edition costs $795 for a single user; $995 for a multi-user site license. A developer’s license is also available for $1,995.
Ease of Use/Basic Functionality – 4.5 Stars
Business! Standard is designed to use Microsoft Access as its core, providing advanced accounting functions to users who can modify the source code of the system to tailor it specifically to their needs. In its unmodified form, the program opens within Access to a dashboard that includes tabs across the top for the primary function areas of the program, including Sales, Customers, Purchases, Inventory, Banking, Accounting, Payroll, Setup, Utilities, Reports and Analysis. Each of these module tabs opens to a dashboard that includes icons for performing various tasks.
Business! Standard provides several wizards for setting up company, client and vendor data, with template charts of accounts based on industry and type of business. The program utilizes traditional double-entry accounting, but eases the process by categorizing tasks in workflow form and routing the data to the GL as appropriate. The system can be used to support multiple companies.
The system will be instantly familiar to Access users, with all of the Access functions still available. The program essentially uses tables, queries, forms, reports and various Access macros to automate all basic business functions such as quotes, sales and purchase orders, invoices, customer tracking, AR, AP and inventory.
Available Modules/Customization for Vertical Industries – 5 Stars
Business! Standard includes the previously mentioned modules that cover the basic needs of most businesses, as well as optional modules for payroll, point-of-sale, barcoding, fixed asset management, credit card acceptance and FedEx and UPS shipping modules. In addition to the company setup templates, the availability of the program’s source code enables developers and tech-savvy businesses to modify the program specifically to meet their needs. This is especially useful for companies that may have outgrown their small business software in a few areas, but do not necessarily need the broad power of a mid-market application.
As a Microsoft partner, Database Creations has ensured integration between Business! and other Office products, including Word and Excel.
Each of the program’s modules provides good support for its primary tasking. The Inventory module, which allows multiple pricing per item, allows LIFO, FIFO or weighted average costing, with options for multi-warehousing and serializing items. (Business! Professional supports assembly based multi-part items.) As well, the module includes a contact utility for managing and maintaining communication with customers. The optional FedEx/UPS shipping module integrates with the inventory and sales functions to automate the entire process, making the program exceptionally adept for inventory-centric operations.
Expandability – 5 Stars
As noted above, Database Creations also produces Business! Professional Edition that runs on the same base, allowing upward migration from the Standard Edition. Both editions offer advanced scheduling and contact
management, support for manufacturing concerns, inventory matrixes for inventory, credit card reconciliat-ion for purchases and sales, and several other advantages for businesses. The program boasts extreme flexibility
due to the availability of the source code, enabling developers and users to tweak
the system to specific
needs or increase capabilities.
Reporting & Management Functions – 5 Stars
Business! Standard is stocked with more than 250 pre-designed accounting and financial reports, including a variety of journal reports, customer and vendor summary reports, AR and AP aging, trial balances by period or YTD, and full financials. The program’s integration with Microsoft Office enables simplified customization as well as spreadsheet analysis. Reports can be saved in a variety of formats, including Excel, *.PDF and Word, allowing electronic distribution. The built-in Analysis module provides inventory projections that note necessary re-orders and backordered items; assists in verifying inventory totals; performs analysis of sales orders, quotations and invoices; allows analysis of supplier data; and several additional categories.
The system’s Customers and Receivables module houses strong client management functionality, allowing unlimited contact names and numbers for each customer, and letting the business enter delivery routes, default payment and sales information, default pricing and customer sales histories, as well as a customer contact log. The Banking module provides support for creating and printing checks, entering deposits and making adjustments, and aids in performing reconciliations.
Audit Trail, Integrity & Accountant Control Tools – 4.5 Stars
Business! Standard includes an audit trail that records all GL transaction and allows drill-down to individual transactions, providing date, changes made, debits or credits applied, and the user. The system’s double-entry GL helps ensure account balance. The program also allows password-based security that can be attached to modules, task types or even specific entry fields.
Help & Support Options – 4.5 Stars
Database Creations provides free installation support and free e-mail-based support in addition to optional service plans. The company’s web site includes an online knowledgebase and user forum community, as well as access to program updates and a variety of other support resources. The program’s built-in help utility also provides good assistance, with right-click menus and context-specific assistance. With the availability of the source code, companies can also add to the help utility to develop a guide specific to how they want the program used.
2005 Overall Rating – 5 Stars