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Intuit — QuickBooks: Premier Accountants Edition

From the Nov. 2007 Review of Client
Write-Up Systems

Intuit offers two professional write-up systems for accountants: QuickBooks
Premier Accountant Edition (QBAE) and EasyAcct, with the QuickBooks system being
the most widely used, and offering full integration with client-side versions
of the small business accounting software. The Accountant Edition of QuickBooks
Premier was also selected as the leading write-up product in last year’s
Readers’ Choice Awards. The program provides full support for traditional
write-up functions with drilldown capabilities and includes GL, chart of accounts,
journals, a wide variety of reporting and analysis tools, and financial statement
preparation. The program also features trial balance and asset management functions.

The Accountant Edition comes with complete versions of all of the other QuickBooks
editions. QBAE costs $449.95 for a single-user license and $1,199.95 for three
concurrent users. If an accountant joins the ProAdvisor program (which costs
about the same as the QBAE and also includes the program), the professional
also receives a free version of the vendor’s Enterprise Edition, as well
as unlimited tech support and discounts across all other Intuit products and
services. The 2008 version will be released shortly, but this review primarily
focuses on the 2007 version.

QuickBooks has always focused on usability, engaging professionals in design
processes. But as the system has evolved and added professional-level features,
it has become a little more complex. Fortunately, all versions of the accounting
system include various wizards, interview screens and other assistive tools
for initial program and account setup tasks, and for those functions that might
not be performed frequently. The QBAE interface is notably different than the
versions for use by clients, providing quick access to client data files, write-up,
reconciliation and other professional tasks through intuitive navigation menus.
The various industry versions used by clients provide a more workflow-oriented
design, allowing them to perform tasks as they relate to their business. Since
the Accountants Edition includes all of the other versions, users can easily
toggle to the same view that a client is experiencing in order to provide them
with support. The integration of all versions into the professional version
also ensures for virtually perfect data transfer from the client system to the
Accountant Edition. For 2008, Intuit is incorporating various managerial dashboards
that can be customized to present summary information as desired by the professional.

Client selection lists and data are intelligently presented and easily accessible
from sortable, searchable lists. Data-entry processes are easy to understand,
with smart data fields that allow for selection of accounts, clients, employees,
vendors and other items from automatically created lists, and with account balances
automatically updating as transactions are posted. Client data can also be easily
imported using the new Accountant’s Copy tool and secure online transfer
functions, or users can remotely access client data.

QBAE offers extremely easy-to-use financial statement preparation tools that
let users quickly add columns, insert rows or group accounts by any method they
wish. A wide array of pre-designed reports is also available, including balance
sheets, summary and detailed income statements, cash flow statements and financial
ratio reports. The system gives users broad customization options, including
the ability to create custom cover pages or add notes to compilation letters
or financial statements. QBAE’s trial balance functions simplify review
and adjustment of account balances, including the entry of workpaper references.
A full-time audit trail maintains a record of all activities. QBAE allows export
of reports to Excel and Word, and users can e-mail reports from within the system.

In addition to saving into the above-mentioned Microsoft Office formats, the
Accountant Edition includes full operating versions of all of the industry-specific
versions of the program, ensuring compatibility and aiding the user in providing
client support. It also offers export directly to Intuit’s ProSeries and
Lacerte professional tax systems. The new SmartMap feature in Lacerte further
helps streamline data integration with QuickBooks by remembering how items are
treated and then automatically assigning tax fields to trial balance accounts
as they are imported into the tax system.

Built-in Help and support features include wizards, interview screens and other
assistance during setup processes, in addition to content-specific Help and
FAQs that appear on-screen during tasks. An online tutorial and knowledgebase
is also available, as is a free professional user community. Intuit includes
free initial support, after which various subscription plans and training options
are available. QuickBooks ProAdvisor Program members receive free, unlimited
technical support from an accountant-dedicated team.

It seems that everybody and their uncle uses QuickBooks to run their business,
which has been a driving force leading professional accountants to the system.
As the product has matured, Intuit has developed QuickBooks: Premier Accountant
Edition into a strong professional accounting system capable of managing monthly
processes for virtually limitless clients and offering exceptional ease of use,
along with unparalleled integration and client data acquisition capabilities.

2007 Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars