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Sage — Peachtree Premium Accounting 2009

From the June/July Review of Small
Business Accounting Systems

Sage Software’s Peachtree line has maintained the number two position
in the small business accounting space over the years because of its relationship
with its users and professional accountants who service these small businesses.
The key concern for many such accountants regarding other programs has always
been the integrity of the books, since many programs have offered audit trails
that could be turned off or were not as thorough as the one in Peachtree. On
other fronts, Sage has kept Peachtree at the forefront of business management
technologies, introducing dashboards two years ago, and bundling in a multitude
of enhanced functions, such as financial analysis, advanced inventory, new cash
flow management tools, enhanced reporting and alerts, and more powerful payroll

Sage also provides industry-specific versions of the system for nonprofits,
manufacturers, distributors, construction businesses and professional accountants.
Peachtree Premium costs $499 for a single user, or $1,199 for a five-user value
pack, with industry versions (except Accountants) priced at $599 and $1,299,
respectively. Additional products in the Peachtree family range from the more
basic Peachtree First Accounting, through the top-end Peachtree Quantum, which
is geared for small enterprises with more complex needs and more users.

Ease of Use/Basic Functionality — 5 Stars
Initial installation and creation of a company’s books is guided by a
setup wizard that provides more than 100 template charts of accounts for various
business types. With operation of the program centered on several Navigation
Centers, Peachtree Premium’s interface is exceptionally well-designed
and provides abundant, seemingly unending customization options, including selecting
which data is displayed in the key business indicator dashboards in the Business
Status Center. The Business Status Center provides an overview in graphical
and/or textual format of the business data most important to the user, such
as account balances, YTD and period totals, AR, inventory and customer credit.
These items offer instant drill-down access to the full data and transactions
behind them.

Other customizable status centers are provided for Customers & Sales, Vendors
& Purchases, Employees & Payroll, Banking and Company, all of which
can be tailored to each user’s preferences. Additional customization options
include resizing and relocating panels, graphical elements and other items.
Users also have the ability to set up alerts, to-do items and calendars. In
the basic and industry-specific versions, the program generally uses non-accounting
terminology, which can aid less-experienced users. Transaction entry screens
are consistent throughout the program, providing intuitive navigation and utilizing
smart entry fields and selection lists that help speed account, customer, vendor
and item lookup, while a tabbed interface simplifies moving to other functions.

Core Accounting/ Security Functions — 5 Stars
At the heart of Peachtree Premium Accounting is its automated double-entry accounting
system that includes a full-time audit trail and screen-level security settings,
utilizing true period closing/locking to maintain appropriate GL accounts and
journals. The system provides full AR capabilities, with advanced billing options
that allow for progress billing, job costing, job WIPs, transaction histories,
setting of credit limits and electronically broadcasted invoices. Customer quotes
can be easily converted to sales invoices. The payables module offers multiple
transaction reports and can support electronic payments via EFT. Premium’s
inventory management is likewise strong, supporting FIFO, LIFO, average costing
and specific-unit control costing with the ability to set up to 10 price levels
per item, in addition to tracking serialized inventory and assembled items.

Items can have user-defined attributes, like color, size or style, while users
can keep on top of inventory replenishment tasks with automated purchase orders
that are created when items hit a specified quantity level. Additional noteworthy
features include Peachtree’s improved Cash Flow Management tool, which
helps users track projected cash fluctuations, with data exportable to Excel
for further examination. The program also includes fixed asset management and
financial analysis options, while payroll options enable a business to manage
the process in-house or outsource it using one of Sage’s payroll service

Reporting & Management Functions — 5 Stars
Among its more than 140 customizable reports, Peachtree Premium includes the
ability to produce full financial statements and even consolidated statements
for multiple entities. All reports are easily accessible from task screens or
the report center and feature drill-down access when viewed on-screen. They
can be saved into and edited using Microsoft Word or Excel, or output into PDF
format. Client invoices, collection letters and other statements and reports
can also be e-mailed from within the system. The program can support any number
of businesses, and its budgeting tools and improved Cash Flow Management utility
can support unlimited scenarios for each business. Wage and contractor reporting
forms can be printed through the system.

Import/Export/ Integration — 4.5 Stars
Peachtree Premium integrates with Microsoft Word and Excel for report editing
and Outlook for contact management, while the system can also import data from
QuickBooks and export reports into PDF. Integration with Sage’s Timeslips
program is also offered for time-based billing, and remote access options are

Help & Support Options — 5 Stars
Peachtree includes a built-in Guided Tour, along with more than 20 instructional
demonstration videos to help users learn common tasks and functions. The program
also includes an interactive “How Do I?” feature that provides tips
while within certain program areas, and offers task-specific assistance and
right-click menus throughout. The company’s online support center includes
a Knowledge Base, product updates and support contacts. Tech support is included
for the first 30 days and by subscription following this period.

Relative Value — 5 Stars
Sage’s Peachtree family of small business accounting products offers excellent
scalability, allowing the smallest of concerns to get started with a true, double-entry
system and then gradually and easily move up to more power systems as their
business needs require. Premium Accounting 2009 is among the most powerful systems
on the market, providing core financial management components, along with associated
business management and communication tools that greatly empower small business
owners to achieve stable financial control for their businesses.

2008 Overall Rating: 5 Stars