One of the challenges of software companies is to create annual (or at least regular) upgrades to their software product. The challenge is two fold. The hope is that their core base of loyal customers will upgrade and that new users will purchase it.
Intuit’s QuickBooks is used by small businesses all over the United States (and I would guess other parts of the world as well). As Microsoft Office is the defacto standard for office applications, QuickBooks is the standard for small business accounting.
In this latest version, Intuit QuickBooks 2008 has raised the bar, considerably, in several key features.
The three key areas that the QB team has focused on is getting started, getting paid and getting information to their accountants.
QuickBooks 2008 new help system is innovative and something that other software vendors should adopt. Intuit has also improved on the initial out of box experience in ensuring the new and current customers are able to get more out of QuickBooks.
It’s context-sensitive search engine ensures that Help content is relevant to the task at hand. Help topics appear next to QuickBooks, allowing users to view the steps while simultaneously working. The new Help also provides a direct link to QuickBooks online support and the QuickBooks Community Site, where millions of members share advice based on their own experience.
Keeping track of billable time is an important component for many small businesses. They need to know how much time their employees spent on a task in order to properly bill their clients. If this process is delayed or cumbersome it can impact the cash flow of the business.
QuickBooks 2008 provides several new ways to help users track time and get paid. Users can easily transfer their billable time from Microsoft Outlook calendar appointments, e-mails and tasks to the QuickBooks Time Tracker Service, an add-on service to QuickBooks, thereby ensuring that billable hours are not lost. New invoicing features allow services firms, such as accountants and consultants, to view all unbilled time and expenses directly from a single screen and create invoices with a single click. QuickBooks 2008 also lets users send invoices, sales receipts and other forms directly from QuickBooks using Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express.
For QuickBooks 2008 Enterprise customers, Intuit integrated two 3rd party applications to enable better inventory management and electronic invoicing.
Enterprise customers are also able to gain much better intelligence from QB and also access a built in directory of customer, employee and vendor information from two new web-based add-ons. Both of these new features are in pre-release.
The Business Intelligence application, powered by Business Objects, gives users an online snapshot of high-level interactive dashboards, such as profitability, cost of goods sold and top sales. The Company Directory application allows QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions customers to access and search for contact information for customers, vendors and employees stored in QuickBooks via the Web or a mobile device, such as a BlackBerry.
Other improvements in QB include Intuit making it easier and more secure to send files to your accountant. This all happens with one, non-confusing, click.
The hundreds of 3rd party applications for QB are an important part of the QuickBooks ecosystem. If you need a specific application, a member of Intuit’s developer network can create it for you, if it’s not already been created and made available in the QuickBooks marketplace.
Get more information on the latest version of QuickBooks, including pricing from QuickBooks.com
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