The latest QuickBooks software is available online today. The new edition features streamlined versions of older features, such as a more intuitive invoice design function, plus lots of new bells and whistles, including a business app store. Here's a rundown of some of the updates and additions:
Easier Installation: The older QuickBooks installation involved 15 windows. The streamlined version has only six windows, but users can opt for a more detailed custom installation.
Improved Data Import: Based on the conclusion that most users import data from Excel, Intuit redesigned the QuickBooks interface to look and work more like the Microsoft application. Users can now simply copy and paste data from Excel into QuickBooks with minimal tinkering afterwards. The software scans the data for errors, highlights them in red, and explains the reason for the alert--for example, a vendor's name is listed twice.
Customized Invoices: QuickBooks' previous layout design function was complicated and time-consuming. The latest version lets users chose between 35 templates created by graphic designers with a variety of themes--for example, a construction company might choose a design with a picture of a hammer or a blueprint background. Users can then upload a business logo from their desktop, drag and drop boxes, and fiddle with font selections, colors and sizes. The same design can be applied to a variety of forms, including invoices, receipts, and estimates.
Souped-Up Snapshot: QuickBooks improved upon the popular snapshot feature it introduced last year with more graphics and colors. Users can choose up to 12 widgets, including "top vendors by expense" and "top selling items" and print out color snapshots for reports.
New Report Center: QuickBooks automatically generates more than 100 reports based on data input by businesses, but they were hard to find on the old version of the software. The new report center lets users scroll through 3-D thumbnails of reports to find the right ones and also browse through a list of reports viewed in the past 90 days. Since businesses may give different names to the same form, each one is tagged with commonly used phrases that are likely to be used during a search. For example, a form titled "overdue customers" might be tagged with the phrase "past due customers" to make it more search-friendly.
App Center: Jumping onto the app trend, QuickBooks now features a center with free and paid apps, including one called Green Snapshot that helps users make their businesses more environmentally friendly while cutting costs. The center currently features 35 apps created by both Intuit and third-party developers, with more due to roll out in the coming months.
Add-Ons: The software also offers add-ons that cost extra, including a document storage feature that lets users upload documents, such as scanned receipts, and attach them to, say, an accounts receivable file. For an additional fee, another feature lets users upload scan checks that are then automatically matched up to accounts and sent to the bank for processing.
Cost: QuickBooks Pro 2010 starts at $199.95 for one user. The Premier edition, which is tailored to specific industries, starts at $399.95 for one user.
Availability: The software is available on the QuickBooks site today and will hit retailers next week. A Mac version is due out later this month.
If you've already tried out the new QuickBooks and have any comments or tips for other business owners, please leave a comment below or e-mail Nadine Heintz, editor of The Goods, at firstname.lastname@example.org.