Quickbooks: Desktop or Online?

I chose to run Quickbooks Premier for PC under Parallels on my MacBook. This sufficed for a year, despite an underpowered machine and major inconvenience. Recently, I gave up on the desktop version of Quickbooks and transitioned onto Quickbooks Online.

Quickbooks 2010 Preview

box_premierThis week, Intuit announced that it will be releasing the 2010 versions of Quickbooks Pro and Quickbooks Premier to users on Oct. 7.

So what’s new for Quickbooks users in 2010? Intuit says it has streamlined the install process from 15 screens to only six for small businesses with simple accounting needs. You will be able to edit multiple items in the lists of items/customers/vendors at one time in a spreadsheet-style screen, and data can be pasted into those lists from Excel (s msft). There are new form templates, and more form customization options, including decorative backgrounds. For more advanced customization, there is integrated access to design services. Quickbooks 2010 users will also have the ability to put their signature on their checks directly within the program without printing them. Read More about Quickbooks 2010 Preview

Guide to QuickBooks on the Mac

QuickBooks is a critical tool for many small businesses, and one of the more frustrating issues for switchers to figure out as they come to the Mac from a Windows PC. While the options for running QuickBooks on the Mac are improving in 2009, there are also good reasons, and good solutions, for running QuickBooks for Windows on the Mac. In the articles detailed below, I attempt to guide you through all you might want to know about QuickBooks on the Mac.

QuickBooks 2009 for Mac

quickbooks_mac In this latest release, Intuit (s intu) has updated QuickBooks 2009 with a revamped user interface and streamlined access to frequently used aspects of the seminal accounting software for the Mac. The addition of the new home page and various “centers” provide an overview of the most common workflows associated with running a business. This new version also features integration with the Lightspeed Point of Sale system. It still has the Mac-specific goodies like online backup straight to your MobileMe account and syncing with Address Book.app and iCal. You can read our look at QuickBooks 2009 for Mac to get the big picture.
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QuickBooks Online to Be Updated for Mac Users

We looked at QuickBooks 2009 for Mac last week, and also slated to be updated for 2009 is QuickBooks Online. Intuit (s intu) was showing off the latest version at their booth at Macworld Expo running in the Safari web browser (which was not previously possible). QuickBooks Online is an interesting alternative for Mac users because it is the only multi-user version of QuickBooks that will run directly on the Mac, even if it is in a web browser.

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If you have 2-3 users and do not need to track inventory, then QuickBooks Online might be a great solution for your business. You get multi-user access at a lower cost than implementing a multi-user Windows installation. You can also provide online access to your accountant, but cannot export an accountant’s copy for editing in the desktop software like you can in QuickBooks for Windows.

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Tips and Tricks for Running QuickBooks for Windows In a VM

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Running QuickBooks for Windows in a virtual machine (VM) on your Mac is often the best way to get all the advanced features of QuickBooks that are only available in the Windows version and still have fun using your Mac the way nature intended, running OS X Leopard. If you choose to go this route, here are a few tips and tricks to help you run QuickBooks smoothly inside a VM.

Clean Installs Are Always Best

I know it’s tempting to just run VMware Converter or Parallels Transporter and just suck the contents of your current PC into a VM. For many of us, we only really need to run one or two critical Windows applications and everything on our old PC is way more than we really need. In that situation, you’ll thank me later for telling you to take the time to set up a clean and lean VM that does exactly what you want it to do, without all the cruft and junk that often creeps into a Windows install. Load Windows, load your anti-virus software, and load QuickBooks.
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Running QuickBooks for Windows on Your Mac

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QuickBooks is one of those key business applications that many people who are considering a switch to the Mac are worried about leaving behind. While QuickBooks 2009 for Mac might be the perfect answer for many, others do not want to give up some of the key features of the Windows version.

Intuit provides a list of key differences, and I think the most important ones are the industry-specific editions of QuickBooks Premier, multi-user access, and the ability to create an Accountant’s Copy of your company file. If you need any of those features, then you’ll want to continue to run the Windows version of QuickBooks.

Fortunately, there are several good methods to accomplish this feat that won’t break the bank or leave you pulling your hair out. Just remember that you are still running Windows (with one exception pointed out below). You will need to make sure that you are protected from viruses and spyware. You might be tempted to turn off networking entirely to avoid the anti-virus tax, but QuickBooks receives frequent updates over the Internet and many people use the DirectConnect features to pull down their financial statements through the intertubes as well.
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Reasons to Stick With QuickBooks for Windows

quickbookswindowsYesterday, I looked at QuickBooks 2009 for Mac and while the new version is an improvement in many areas, it does not replace the Windows version in all situations. In fact, there are a number of good reasons to continue to use the Windows version of QuickBooks despite your desire to switch completely over to the Mac. Here are the major reasons to stick with QuickBooks for Windows.

Multi-user QuickBooks

If you have multiple people in your company that need access to QuickBooks (maybe AR, AP, controller, CFO or CEO) then you have to use the Windows version. The Mac version simply does not support multiple users. Period. You could also consider using the online version of QuickBooks, as long as you can live with the limited feature set.

QuickBooks Premier

QuickBooks Premier is really five industry-specific flavors of QuickBooks: Contractor, Manufacturing & Wholesale, Nonprofit, Professional Services, and Retail. If you need the extra features to support these industries, then you will only find them on Windows. Some of the features are pretty compelling, so I would recommend you take a hard, long look at the product description before you pass on Premier.

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QuickBooks 2009 for Mac: A Real Step Forward or Just a Facelift?

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QuickBooks for Mac is one of those products that feels like it is always teetering on the edge of disaster. The releases over the last five years have lagged far behind the Windows version, and Mac users have watched the gap widen over the last two years since QuickBooks Pro 2007 was released. New versions with significant features popped up on the Windows platform while Mac users watched from the sidelines with envy.

Just a couple months ago, Intuit showed a renewed commitment to the Mac platform by releasing QuickBooks 2009 with support for Leopard and a number of additions that help somewhat to close the distance with the Windows version. Feature parity is still a long ways away, but Intuit is displaying energy around the Mac this year that has been absent in the past. In fact, Ian Vacin, the Offering Leader for Mac Financial Sofware (basically, the guy in charge of delivering Mac software) assured me at Macworld Expo that they have been adding engineers to his group this year and the commitment at Intuit to developing for the Mac is stronger than ever.
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PayCycle Makes Online Payroll Even Easier

PayCycle LogoWith the end of year near, many small business owners start to think about what changes they can make that will make the upcoming year easier than the last. Whether it is reconciling accounts or cleaning up receivables, organizing the finances always seems to be high on that last.

In my experience, payroll is one of those items that most people would really rather just get off their plate completely though. So when we covered PayCycle back in May, I was glad to see our readers quick to chime in with their own favorable reviews of the online payroll service.

The folks at PayCycle have been busy trying to make things even easier though.

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