Peachtree vs Microsoft Small Business Accounting 2006

Anybody have any comments re product comparisons?
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I've been doing a comparison of just these two products lately. I like Peachtree's ability to do consolidations which MS doesn't offer in the Small Business Financials software. I haven't tried PT's on-line banking capabilities yet but at least the product has the feature, MS is curriously lacking this functionality. One feature that I particularly liked in the MS product was that it gives up to 5 segments in the chart of accounts numbering field which could be a big benefit if your company has multiple divisions, product lines, departments, etc. that you want to track separately. The jury is still out for me but the lack of on-line banking capability and no consolidations in MS are pretty much deal-killers for me.

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IMHO, if you're a single owner/operator of a really small business as I am, and you're not an accountant, you'll be better with Microsoft Business. It's easy to setup and you'll be up and running within an hour, whereas with Peachtree you'll spend three months trying to figure out how to enter data and then you'll finally give up on it. I think Peachtree classifies a "Small Business" as somewhat larger than one person and they also expect you to have excellent accounting skills. A one owner/operator store won't have the time necessary to learn Peachtree because he'll be too busy running the store. It's definitely not plug and play. For all of Mickeysoft's shortcomings, it's still the easiest thing to use.
Bob
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I was part of the beta test, and I didn't like the inflexibility in the MS program. If you make any kind of a mistake you must create adjusting debit/credit entries. It won't let you go back and edit the original transaction. I found it very unforgiving.
Diane Koers www.thepeachtreelady.com

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I agree, there is no such thing as perfect software. I don't think that programmers who write financial software ever owned a business. Therefore, they need Beta testers and buyers to determine what will happen in the real world. For a non-accountant, though, Mickeysoft is still the way to go. Peachtree sits here on the shelf because I'm a store owner, not an accountant and I need something simple enough for a non-accountant.
Bob
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I've been part of the SBA beta, and have been playing with it extensively - and while it has some really cool features, I still prefer Peachtree :^)
On the SBA cool features list - if you use Outlook as your primary contact manager / calendar, you can actually flag appointments on your calendar as billable, along with the Customer/Job it's associated with and billable duration. Then with a simple menu option, you can transfer your timesheet to SBA, with all of the time entries showing up in the Job details to be billed . . .
Another big bonus of SBA is that it uses MSDE as the backend for it's data - which means you don't have to go through the SBA application to retrieve data - you can get to it directly from applications like Word, Excel & Access.
Also - if you do retail, the new Microsoft Point-Of-Sale product is awesome for the small (read: single location) retailer. I haven't seen anything announced publicly, but it's been rumored that POS is going to integrate *very* tightly with SBA - as in they'll use the same database, and you'll be able to view transaction detail from either SBA or POS . . .
I really think SBA has the potential to be a QuickBooks killer . . . primarily because of it's open data source, tight integration with Office, and most of all it's underlying architecture. Basically, Microsoft has taken the stance from day one on this project that they see SBA as handling the basic accounting functions for a wide variety of 3rd party industry-specific solutions. As a result, they've engineered it from the ground up to expose key business functions. What this means is that SBA ships with everything in place under the hood for 3rd party developers to build solutions on top of SBA. Basically, this means that 3rd parties will be able to develop add-ons and vertical-market solutions for SBA in a fraction of the time it would take them to do so with QuickBooks (or admittedly Peachtree as well), and those solutions will have much tighter real-time integration with SBA than they can achieve with QuickBooks or Peachtree.
As for the less-than-desireable parts of SBA? First, when installing you can't select where you want your data to reside - the MSDE instance & database have to reside on the machine you're installing SBA on (obviously you can open a company file on another machine that already has SBA installed). I'm an IT consultant, and almost all of our customers have dedicated servers (our smallest client w/ a server only has 3 users). The problem is that we don't store *ANY* data on the workstations - everything lives on the server so it can be backed up every night and taken off site. Best practices discourage data on the workstations, as well as installing user apps on the server. As a result, SBA puts us in a bind as to how to centrally locate & backup the SBA data.
Also - I have a long-time loathing of ADP, which Microsoft has chosen to provide Payroll services/functionality for SBA. Granted, you don't have to use ADP's full payroll service, but from what I've seen, you're still using ADP if you want to do payroll in-house, and even then - it doesn't appear to happen within the SBA application natively, rather within a web connection to ADP. Ugh. So forget about not subscribing to payroll and maintaining manual tax tables . . .
SBA does have online banking capabilites - although I have not played with those as of yet.
Little annoyances with SBA - they require an entity for each transaction - E.g. - you have a random someone you need to cut a check to, and you know you'll never ever do anything with them again in the future. With Peachtree, you can just fill in the details on the check without setting up the payee as a Vendor. Not with SBA - you have to set them up before you can use them in any transaction.
While I really, Really, REALLY would love to see Sage kill off the btrieve engine once and for all (and I'm hoping SBA using MSDE will help with that), there are still a lot of features that I like about Peachtree. First, it has much better security (granularly speaking) than SBA. Next, I like Peachtree's use of accounting periods, as well as the ability to lock prior periods. And call me crazy, but I like being able to pull up all of the various journals, which QuickBooks and SBA apparently don't see as being very important :^)
Admittedly, if you're a one-man shop with no bookkeeping / accounting experience and you're looking for a solution that will handle the basics, then I would strongly recommend SBA. However, if you have accounting experience and know what you're doing - SBA (like QuickBooks) can be rather frustrating when it makes you jump through their hoops.
--

Chad A. Gross - SBS MVP
SBS ROCKS!
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While this comparison did not include Quicken Home / Business, I bought that first because it was advertised as doing everything for a small business. After receiving it, I discovered it won't handle inventory at all and the help section then tells you that if you have inventory, you must upgrade to Quickbooks. Oddly enough, it has categories for small businesses which would normally have inventory. Not very nice of them folks. That's when I bought MS. My only gripe with SBA is that it can't track individual inventory items. I have over 500 items and I'd like to be able to know how many I sold of a particular item and when it was bought or sold. It'll tell me how many of an individual item I have in stock but no running history. It does have a place to display inventory transaction history but it lists all items and it's next to impossible to find a particular item. I couldn't do it with Peachtree either although some say it can be done if one knows how to do it. Therein lies the rub with Peachtree. It'll probably do everything I could ever want if I could figure out how to do it, but I can't so to me it's the same as if the software isn't capable. Peachtree's ads tell you how easy it is to use and then after you buy it, they call you every other day telling you that you'll never learn how to use it if you don't sign up for their expensive support. Truth in advertising?
Bob
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ok lemme stick my 2 cents in here
ascending soapbox...
although I've not yet seen the new MSFT product, I've only seen & heard their marketing of it
I do get the impression that they're most interested in targeting the quickbooks folk
while MSFT is also interested in PT's customers, I think that will be a much harder sell & the MSFT product will have to prove itself in the trench's first.
reading this thread reminds me of some of my biggest gripes about the intuit products in this space
first, as an accountant, I NEVER found any flavor of quickbooks/quicken user friendly not to mention their marketing... feed this cd into your computer & presto you're instant accountant
that brings to mind the year end nightmares that get brought into my office to prepare a tax return (I wind up turning most of them away because there's just too much risk in the garbage created by the feed this cd to your computer...)
not to mention the IRS audits of businesses that have only quickbooks recordkeeping again, I've learned to be quite selective about which of these situations I'll even consider taking on
onto the criticisms of Peachtree that it isn't plug & play that one needs to be a bookeeper to use it
well, I think they are both valid comments in their own right
I for one I'll be the first to say it isn't plug & play It requires someone with (at least some) accounting knowledge to set it up But that avoids those year end nightmares (the old dime of prevention is a lot better than a dollar of cure)
onto the bookeeping knowledge issue again, I agree wholeheartedly however, having set up Peachtree over the years for small businesses who aren't clearly accountants (& just as clearly don't wanna be), I have learned how to teach small business owners how to use it it just takes some time patience and some understanding of the business I'm installing PT into
the biggest complaint I've regularly heard over the years when converting a QB client to PT is "I didn't have to do that in QB" & my standard response to it has always been "well now you've got a real accounting system with some real accounting controls"
... time to get off soapbox
--
<<< Benjamin Yazersky CPA [NJ & NY] >>>
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I couldn't figure out how to make a recurring entries for purchases, invoices or journal entries. Also couldn't figure how to make a reversing journal entry for ending inventory.

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recurring purchases aren't really all that complex its just getting it done the first time is the hardest part in the purchase screen there's a recur button that you click on after you're done entering your data and from there just follow where the program guides you
about those journal entries generally not something I would expect a non accountant to completely understand & get right so, I usually prepare them myself for the client then depending on the client's accounting abilities, either I will enter them myself or give the JE's to the client for him/her to enter
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I sure don't see a "recure" button on SBA 2006. At least on the version I'm looking at.

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The down side to discussing all of these different products in one thread . . .
Ben's post was referring to Peachtree. I'm not aware of any method to do recurring entries in SBA . . .
--

Chad A. Gross - SBS MVP
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