Peachtree Premium Accounting 2008 offers the same powerful accounting capability that it's known for, but this year's crop of new features is markedly smaller than in past years. Long-time customers may be hard pressed to find any differences when initially browsing the newest program, but several improvements do boost efficiency and save time.
The best new feature is the capability to attach files to records and transactions. With this, you can attach Word, Excel and image files and effectively relate them to vendors, employees, inventory items, payroll checks, quotes and more. You can also e-mail these attachments from within Peachtree and print attachments with their associated records and transactions.
The helpful new broadcast-invoice feature lets you create and send a single invoice to multiple customers. Its a time saver for people who send identical sales invoices to multiple customers or have to bill the same client multiple times with the same invoice throughout a fiscal period. Helpful filtering capabilities allow you to customize broadcasts as you wish.
New features allow you to attach Word, Excel and other files to vendors, employees, inventory items, payroll checks and quotes.
(Click for larger image).
If youre managing physical inventory, youll welcome a new feature that lets you set the number of decimal points, up to five, that you apply to quantity and unit price fields. Prior versions of the program were limited to two decimal places, and this feature will be particularly useful for businesses that work with conversions, repackaged goods or that need to track fine measurements.
Report on This
As in just about every past year, Peachtree has again slightly improved the reporting and forms features. Reporting offers additional field options, filters and sorts, as well as more drill down opportunities that let you view the data underlying a particular result.
Additional forms capability let you customize layouts and add color, logos and other information. The most significant addition, and this is relative, are stronger options for turning fields on and off and having these reflected in the final printed form. Also, new guide marks can indicate where folds will occur on forms.
As the name implies, a new sales tax wizard helps make sense of sales taxes. It does a good job of walking you through setting up a new sales tax and editing or deleting existing sales taxes. It also provides a means to determine how sales taxes are calculated in your region.
A new broadcast invoice feature lets small businesses send identical sales invoices to multiple customers or bill the same client multiple times over a period with the same invoice.
(Click for larger image).
Sage said that small businesses will experience faster file-saving and file-opening times, however, this wasn't apparent during testing on a fast computer and with a limited data set. Peachtree also now lets you hide the Business Status Center and Product Navigation screens.
Peachtree 2008 doesn't neglect its traditional strengths. Comprehensive security controls provide detailed screen-level and group access. As before, administrators can assign areas as "Add," "Edit," "View Only," or "No Access" for each individual.
The program lets you track inventory based on customer-defined attributes that can include size, color, style and more. You can set Peachtree to generate purchase orders when inventory falls to predetermined levels; it supports ten different pricing levels for each item; it updates prices by applying percentages, and it works with different costing methods. Peachtree can also assign serial numbers to individual inventory items and maintain records for tracking, recall and warranty purposes.
Once again, the Business Status Center offers a clear dashboard that summarizes business data at a glance and effectively displays account balances, customers, overdue bills and more. For newcomers, the intuitive program offers guided tours and instructional demos to get up and running.
Businesses with physical inventory can now select up to a maximum of five decimal points that will be applied to quantity and unit price fields.
(Click for larger image).
Peachtree also offers services to create e-commerce sites and to import Web sales into Peachtree. However, these features dont support Web sites created by third parties. As a result, e-commerce is an area where Peachtree clearly lags behind Intuits QuickBooks. (While QuickBooks doesnt offer e-commerce features of its own, third parties who are eager to work with Intuit have developed the means to support it.)
All in the Family
At the entry level, Peachtree First Accounting 2008 and Peachtree Pro Accounting 2008 offer features to support service businesses. In addition, Pro adds integrated payroll and inventory features to support employees and retail businesses. Beyond Pro, Peachtree Complete Accounting 2008 adds multi-user options, time and billing, fixed asset management and more powerful inventory features that support job costing and the generation of automatic purchase orders.
Peachtree Premium Accounting 2008, the flagship of the product line, offers departmentalized financial statements, the new ability to broadcast invoices, serialized inventory, progress billing and advanced budgeting. The top-of-the-line Quantum version offers support for up to ten named people and is optimized to handle large amounts of data that may be needed to support companies with up to 250 employees.
As before, Peachtree Premium comes in powerful, industry-specific versions. "Construction" offers features such as labor burden calculations and insurance tracking for subcontractors. "Nonprofit" offers specialized features for fund raising, tracking multiple programs and donor and grantor summaries.
"Manufacturing" adds abilities to create and track work tickets and BOM while "Distribution" offers advanced drop shipping management and specialized treatment of vendors and customers. The "Accountants' Edition" comes with features that allow accountants to support their clients that use Peachtree.
As in prior years, Peachtree earns its place among the most popular and able accounting programs. This years additions are minute, but long-time customers will probably welcome the new abilities to attach files and broadcast invoices.
Peachtree Premium Accounting 2008: $499.99
(five-seat license: $1,099.99)
Peachtree Complete Accounting 2008: $269.99
(five-seat license $699.99)
Peachtree Pro Accounting 2008: $169.99
Peachtree First Accounting 2008: $69.99
Wayne Kawamoto has written over 800 articles, columns and reviews about computers, new technologies, the Internet and small businesses. Wayne has also published three books about upgrading PCs, building office networks and effectively using and troubleshooting notebook computers. You can contact him through his Web site at www.waynewrite.com.
Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!