From the April/May 2006 Review of
Construction Accounting Software
QuickBooks: Premier Contractor Edition is a specialized edition of the popular
QuickBooks Premier Accounting software. Ideal for those already using QuickBooks,
the Contractor Edition will supply you with industry-specific details such as
job costing and invoicing. This product is ideal for smaller businesses that
do not need intricate levels of detail, but rather want general industry-specific
capabilities and the option to be up and running almost immediately. QuickBooks
is available in four sizes, including an Enterprise level for up to 15 simultaneous
users, which uses an industry standard SQL database.
LEARNING CURVE — 5 Stars
A welcome screen will appear upon installation where you can choose to view
a tutorial, explore the system using the installed sample company, jump into
creating a new company file or open an existing file. To set up your new company,
click on the Start Interview tab, where you will be asked a series of questions
about your company. Tutorials are also included for setting up accounts, customers,
and items, products and services you may sell. Clicking on View allows you to
customize user interface screens. I really like this feature. It’s easy
to use, and it’s available for all of your data-entry screens, not just
the main screen.
At the top of the main screen is a drop-down menu bar with the various system
features available. Below this menu bar is a series of icons that features one-click
access to a series of system lists and frequently used functions, as well as
a flowchart that maps out the sequential order of the functions found in QuickBooks.
While this may seem oversimplified, for those who are not familiar with accounting
products, or do not have a dedicated accountant or bookkeeper on staff, this
can be a lifesaver.
MODULES & FUNCTIONALITY — 4 Stars
QuickBooks: Premier Contractor Edition is an all-inclusive system, containing
features rather than separate modules. Features found in this edition are divided
into sections that include Contractor, where you can create estimates and charge
orders, access the Job Costing Center, and track information such as job profitability
summaries, estimates versus actual, and job costs by vendor or job.
New features in the 2006 edition include a simplified Home page, the addition
of “Centers,” where you can view a wide variety of detail for customer,
vendors and employees, as well as enter transactions, edit data and view up-to-date
information. The Job Costing Center displays your three most profitable jobs,
three least profitable jobs, provides links to job costing reports, and displays
job costing highlights, which includes actual vs. estimated costs, total dollar
amount of expenses not yet assigned to a particular job, and the dollar amount
currently due to vendors. These are excellent tracking and monitoring tools,
particularly for the small construction company. The customer feature lets you
enter general and user-defined information. You can also assign customer types,
enter standard service rates in the system or assign custom rates per customer.
Pricing levels can also be used with the ability to assign multiple price levels
per customer and enter custom billing rates, track your profitability by job
type, and assign all of your expenses to jobs.
IMPORT/EXPORT/INTEGRATION — 4 Stars
QuickBooks is an all-in-one product so there is no need to worry about integration
between modules. A link to more than 400 third-party software solutions that
will work with QuickBooks is also provided, including Inventory Management,
Business Management, Time and Project Tracking, and Payroll. This newest version
of QuickBooks: Premier Contractor Edition has improved its synchronization with
Microsoft Outlook, Excel and Word.
SUPPORT & TRAINING — 5 Stars
Upon installation, you are provided a link to QuickBooks support with several
support options from which to choose. New users are provided with 30 days of
free callback support after registration. A variety of plan levels are available
including a monthly plan or a yearly plan. Cost varies by number of users, and
you can also pay per incident. Version 2006 also includes a series of tutorials
designed to assist every level of user through setup to data entry to report
processing. An excellent Help feature rounds out your support options.
REPORTING — 4 Stars
QuickBooks: Premier Contractor Edition comes with 120 standard reports, plus
18 contractor-specific reports. The Report Center is where all report processing
can be handled. Clicking on a module displays the reports that are available
in that module. Reports are divided into categories such as Jobs and Profitability,
Job Estimates, Time and Mileage, and can be viewed on-screen, e-mailed or modified.
All reports are easily customized to reflect your needs. You can choose to memorize
frequent reports, and enter user preferences from the Report Center, as well.
RELATIVE VALUE — 4.5 Stars
QuickBooks has added a lot of features to its Contractor Edition to make it
even more attractive to small construction and contracting companies. QuickBooks:
Premier Contractor Edition is available for $399.95 for a single user, and $1,399.95
for an additional five-user pack. QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions: Contractor
Edition 6.0 is $3,000 for up to five users, $4,500 for up to 10 users, and $6,000
for up to 15 users. QuickBooks: Premier Contractor Edition is an excellent choice
for small construction companies looking for a basic, but solid software program,
excellent customer service and an easily navigated interface.
2006 Overall Rating — 4.5 Stars