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Database Creations — Business! Standard Edition

From the June/July 2006 Review of
Small Business Accounting Systems

Business! Standard Edition from Database Creations provides a customizable
small business accounting and management system built on Microsoft Access. The
program’s core modules include GL, AP, AR, inventory, sales management,
customer management, point-of-sale, checkwriting, 1099 generation and report
tools. Available optional modules include payroll, online sales, fixed assets,
credit card acceptance, and extended inventory functions such as a barcode warehouse
module and barcode printing. The vendor also offers a more comprehensive system
through its Professional Edition of the software. Business! Standard Edition
costs $795 for one user; $995 for a site license that supports up to five concurrent
users. Database Creations also offers a developer license that includes the
full source code and the authority to customize the program. Microsoft Access
is required to use and customize the program, but users can also create a runtime
version that does not require Access.

Steven W. Shaner is the president and senior developer of a small custom software
solution company called Database Solutions (
that specializes in database programming. His company has one full-time employee
and six subcontractors with clients in Utah, Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska.
Shaner says the most beneficial aspect of the program is the open source nature
of the product. “It’s built on a Microsoft Access foundation, so
we are able to easily customize the product to meet the needs of our clients,”
he said.

“We have built modules that run in tandem with the accounting software,
and virtually all of the Office suite products can be interfaced with the programs.”
Shaner recommends that anyone preparing to implement this program should work
with a reseller or directly with the vendor through the implementation and maintenance
of the programs. “This program is very powerful and offers many variations
of analyzing data, but if it is not used properly and maintained properly, the
results produced from the program can be confusing,” Shaner noted. “I
would also recommend purchasing adequate training on the software so you can
get the most benefit from its use and reduce the sharpness of the learning curve.”

Ease of Use/Basic Functionality — 4.5 Stars
The program opens with Microsoft Access to a multi-tabbed window that offers
easy access to the core modules, each of which, when opened, provides a customizable
homepage for that module that offers icons for various tasks, such as entering
checks or managing bank accounts in the Banking module, or receiving payments,
managing receivables or reviewing customer sales histories in the Customers
module. All features are intuitively laid out, simplifying navigation. Business!
supports multiple companies and an unlimited number of customers and vendors.

Data-entry sheets offer field selection lists for selecting account numbers,
clients, vendors and other frequently accessed information, and utilizes a batch
processing method. Initial company setup, as well as setup of clients and vendors,
is guided by a series of wizards, while a selection of template charts of accounts
for various industry types assists with setting up the core accounting functions
of the program. Basic company information is automatically transferred to all
forms and reports, and users can set defaults for sales orders, invoices and
other items to speed invoicing and other data-entry tasks. The program also
allows for a variety of invoice types, shipping methods and inventory methods,
while allowing tracking of sales commissions, sales people, and monitoring of
undeposited checks. The system generally provides a simple interface that is
enhanced if users have some familiarity with MS Access.

Modules/Customization/Expandability — 4.5 Stars
All of Business! Standard Edition’s integrated core modules work seamlessly
with each other, transferring data as necessary and posting transactions either
individually as directed or using a batch processing function. The program offers
a strong inventory system that can be used for retail, wholesale, distribution
or manufacturing entities, that allows FIFO, LIFO and average costing methods,
with support for inventory categories and subcategories. It also supports multiple
warehouse locations, multi-pricing, matrix items, serialization, and assembly
based multi-part items. Query functions within the Inventory module enable users
to search by description, item number or barcode (if used).

Business! offers several customization and user preference capabilities, including
through dashboard views and reporting options, and since the system includes
the source code with every license, techies with experience in MS Access can
directly tailor the program to do whatever a company needs, including adding
functions, changing interface appearances and even modifying terminology used
in the application to more accurately reflect a particular industry. The ability
to extensively modify the program offers some scalability, while the Professional
Edition of the program allows companies to expand their user base and increase
features as a business grows.

Reporting & Management Functions — 5 Stars
The program provides more than 200 standard reports that are grouped in categories
for sales, customers, purchases, suppliers, accounting, banking and inventory,
that can be customized using MS Access, as well as the ability to add homemade
reports to the system. Reports can be output into Excel, *.PDF and Word. Business!
also offers a very beneficial Analysis section that includes inventory projections,
sales analysis, purchase order analysis, and cash flow management forecasts.
Management functions also include a good banking system that supports MICR printing
and electronic management and reconciliation of bank accounts, with support
for any number of accounts and analysis features specific to this module.

Audit Trail, Integrity & Accountant Control Tools — 5 Stars
A full-time audit trail is built into Business!, providing a record of all transactions,
with drilldown capabilities that show data including the user, date, changes
and debits or credits resulting from the change. Security administration allows
user- and function-level restrictions, enabling management to restrict access
to specific data or sections of the system. Additional field-level password
protection can be added to specific transaction tasks. The system utilizes a
traditional double-entry accounting system.

Import/Export/Integration — 4.5 Stars
Database Creations is a Microsoft Partner and has geared its products to offer
strong integration with Microsoft Office programs. Being based on MS Access,
Business Standard! can import, export and save data to and from these programs,
and also offers the ability to save in *.PDF format with Adobe Acrobat. The
ability to save directly to Excel provides excellent customization and editing
capabilities to the report function.

Help & Support Options — 4 Stars
Business! includes a standard built-in Help utility along with good right-click
menus and content-sensitive assistance, while the company also provides an online
support center that includes an online user community, knowledgebase and downloadable
program updates. Initial installation support is free; continuing or subsequent
support is available through optional assistance packages.

Relative Value — 4.5 Stars
Business! Standard Edition is fairly easy to use (more so for those with MS
Access experience) and provides a good suite of accounting modules for small
businesses. The system’s inventory functions are particularly noteworthy,
offering significant flexibility and depth. As such, the program is best suited
to small businesses with strong inventory needs, whether retail, manufacturing
or distribution.

2006 Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars