From the September 2005 Review of Mid-Range
Business! Professional Edition is an accounting application for mid-sized businesses
built upon Microsoft Access. The system is available as a complete package with
all primary modules, including Order Entry and Invoicing, Accounting (GL), Customers
and Receivables, Inventory and Suppliers, Purchasing and Payables, Banking,
Company Setup and Security, Reports, Analysis Tools and System Utilities. Specialty
add-on modules are available for Payroll, Point-of-Sale, Fixed Assets and Depreciation,
MICR Check Printing, Barcode Printing, Barcode Warehouse, Advanced Reporting,
FedEx and UPS Shipping, Credit Card Charging and a USPS ZIP Code Lookup. A site
license for the program that supports any number of users at one office costs
$2,495 (each workstation must have Access 2000 or higher). The program license
includes the source code, which is in Access, allowing advanced users to customize
or add-on to the system as desired. Database Creations also offers a developer
license that allows independent software developers to resell the product at
a discounted price.
Christie Threadgill of Innovative Creations (www.innovativec.com),
a consulting firm that specializes in database development as well as web sites
and networking, says the program is “extremely versatile and user friendly.”
Cost is what initially drove her firm to select the program, and she advises
new and potential users to take the time to set up correctly in the beginning.
Threadgill also noted that her firm is a Database Creations developer, doing
customizations on all of their existing products.
EASE OF USE/TRANSACTION ENTRY — 4.5 Stars
Business! Professional opens within Microsoft Access, so the interface generally
remains consistent with that program and other Office applications such as Word
and Excel, providing tabbed windows and task icons. The Company Setup form allows
you to turn the help system on/off. I found the graphic buttons with text descriptors
to be well developed, providing simple enough navigation. Several wizards assist
in setting up new companies, the GL, charts of accounts, customers, employees
and default sales information.
Upon opening a company’s files, the primary interface provides a window
with tabs for each of the primary modules which, when selected, displays buttons
for various tasks related to that module. This makes navigation between these
modules simple, with options for Sales, Customers, Purchases, Inventory, Banking,
Accounting, Payroll, Setup, Utilities, Reports and Analysis. The Company Setup
tab, for instance, provides buttons for changing current company data, changing
companies, importing data from another accounting program, creating a new company
and managing security preferences. The Customers tab provides access to various
tasks, including receiving payments, managing customer data, managing receivables,
assessing finance charges, customer sales histories, and credit card reconciliation.
Customer and vendor lists are displayed in spreadsheet lists that enable searching
and filtering, and, within customer files, access to sales history can be made
with one click. Data entry is performed within traditional Windows forms that
include drop-down lists, auto-fill functions and other features to streamline
data-entry tasks, such as print, navigation and search buttons on the bottom
of the screen.
NOTABLE FEATURES — 4 Stars
Business! can support an unlimited number of companies with unlimited customers,
suppliers, inventory and invoices. It offers customizable numbering for sales
orders, POs, customers, suppliers and inventory items. The inventory module
provides multiple methods of searching, and allows FIFO, LIFO and average costing,
with support for multiple inventory categories and subcategories. Items can
have multiple prices, and the system supports assembly and reverse-assembly,
multi-priced, serialized and color/style matrix items. Advanced functions also
enable the user to set default GL accounts for each inventory class and provide
the option to automatically post inventory adjustments to the GL as well as
the ability to quickly calculate amount on hand, on order and on back order.
The Accounting module features a double-entry GL, with the ability to view
the ledger by account or sub-account, and each transaction displays the date,
debit, credit, source and operation. The program includes more than 20 template
charts of accounts for various industries, but also enables the user to create
a customized chart with unlimited accounts and user-determined numbering. Period
closes are optional.
Business! supports recurring invoices and payables, along with customer-specific
pricing and volume price breaks, as well as credit card sales and reconciliation.
The system will track inventory and general ledger transactions, including time
stamp, but does not record user information. The program’s analytical
tools also provide advanced analysis of a variety of business aspects, from
sales and client histories to inventory management issues.
INTEGRATION/IMPORT/EXPORT — 4.5 Stars
All data in Business! is stored in a database shared by each of the modules,
ensuring consistency of information. The system offers export to Office programs
such as Access, Excel and Word, as well as export to HTML and ASCII formats.
Data can be imported directly from Peachtree and QuickBooks, as well as inventory,
customer and supplier data. A wizard assists in data import and export. Third-party
software developed for use with Business! includes PDA access to the program
and shipping applications.
REPORTING — 4.5 Stars
Within Business!, invoicing, purchasing and reporting functions allow drilling
down to specific transactions and provide considerable customization options,
including the ability to produce simple, product detail, service-based or professional
invoices, as well as support for multiple currencies. The program includes more
than 200 standard financials and reports, with the ability to customize as needed.
The company also offers an optional advanced report writer.
SUPPORT/TRAINING/HELP SYSTEM — 4.5 Stars
The built-in help utility is well-developed but lacks task-specific help accessible
directly from data-entry fields, and it could be more accessible. The program
comes with *.PDF manuals for each of the modules. An online support section
includes a knowledgebase and user forums, and new users are provided with six
free “getting started” technical support incidents. A variety of
support subscriptions or per-use support options are available thereafter. Database
Creations offers on-site and off-site training as well as a 30-day return policy.
Program updates are included for one year with the site license.
Business! offers an impressive feature set for its site license price, along
with sufficient reporting functions that can be more fully exploited with the
addition of the optional Advanced report utility (a standard report manager
is included). The program’s inventory module is quite impressive, with
detailed options that should satisfy the needs of virtually any inventory-centric
2005 Overall Rating — 4.5 Stars