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Small Business Software

2009-07-01 by

Today TaxMama hears from Leah in Georgia who wants to know. “What is the best small business tax software? I have doubts about QuickBooks and Quicken for business.”

Dear Leah,

Hmm…I can understand your doubts about QuickBooks and Quicken as tax software, since neither of them are. They are bookkeeping programs. Tax programs, for professional use, include software like ProSeries, Pro fx, Drake, ATX and more, programs you can find here:

Are you asking about the best software to use for bookkeeping? That’s a different matter. The best software depends on the level and complexity of information a company needs. You can get accounting programs costing several thousand dollars, or just a couple of hundred dollars.

You’re right about Quicken. I see it used for business. But the reports are a total pain. Too much personal stuff gets mixed into it. It is terrific for managing and understanding personal finances. And it has some nice features I particularly like. – not for business.

Personally, for working with small business offsite, I prefer QuickBooks online.

Why? Without having to visit the client’s office or business location, I can do all the bookkeeping from my office. We can get on the phone and look at the same information at the same time. They don’t have to stop working, while I have their books – and I am not limited to the accounting adjustments in the accounting back up of QuickBooks.

Besides, everyone seems to be traveling for business these days. My clients can log in from anywhere in the world and enter their daily cash expenses, or issue checks.

It’s gotten much faster and more versatile than it used to be. AND, now you can convert a regular QuickBooks file to the online version when you set it up. That was not a possibility in the past.

The software has always been flexible. You can always make entries for prior periods, out of order – so you don’t have to wait until you have all the check information or invoice information. You can correct entries when you reconcile the checkbook. And if you learn all the capabilities of the system, you can use QuickBooks for just about any kind of business and generate just about any kind of reports. Those are just some of the reasons why I prefer it.

Stay tune to TaxQuips #1269 the comments from other tax and accounting professionals for their favorite software.

And remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions about bookkeeping and other tax issues, free. Where? Where else? At

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  1. Bonney Says:

    Client in our office use Quick Books or Peachtree are the most popular. Some us excell which we can work with also. But my favorite is Peachtree it has some quips just like any of them. But to me P'Tree is the easiest once the client uses it for a while and the reports are awesome to pick and choose what they are looking for. I have even set up some specific reports for the client to use. I get my client to send me a back up (which is for last year & the current year) it is not so big as Quick Books (some clients are so big they can not email back ups). I can restore the info into my system work on the bank rec. ect. and them email it back to them to restore. So easy. But if you want to keep your books and be able to retieve the inform. you need to me Peachtree is the best and easiest. I still have to into in my accounting software the monthly information but it is really user friendly.

  2. Thomas Avery Blair, EA Says:

    I certainly concur with Taxmama, and wish to add that I have professionally tried a substantial number of alternatives to QuickBooks Pro, up to and including their more complicated and specialized systems, but have always turned back to QuickBooks Pro. Main reasons: (1) The user need not have a bookkeeping or accounting backgroud to use it, (2) IF the Chart of Accounts is properly set up by a tax pro, and the options are set to the specific needs of the independent business firm, it will serve the purposes of handling account reconciliations and the financial statements needed, and (3) even as the next version of QuickBooks Pro come out each fall, the transition remains optional and easy (and relatively inexpensive).

    I've read in third-party publications that approximately 90% of all American startup small business firms now most commonly use QuickBooks as opposed to others…not Quicken, not Peachtree, etc. I hope this helps.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Thomas Avery Blair, EA

  3. Mary Fran, EA Says:

    Speaking to point #3 by Tom, QuickBooks does stop supporting old versions after about 3 years. Not a problem with the online version as it is constantly updated.

  4. Toni McIntyre, E.A., CPA Says:

    I use QB too. There are a couple of significant issues however.
    Inventory – there are no options, just averaging. Technically this is not an allowable method for federal taxes. Is anyone aware of this ever causing a problem?
    W-2s online – Last year you had to purchase Intuit forms, you could not use IRS's free forms. Hopefully they will fix that.

  5. software development in Surrey Says:

    That was an inspiring post,
    Some great advice for anyone involved in small business…
    Thanks for writing about it

  6. Freelance Says:

    QuickBooks is an excellent software. I also use it and would say that its really work for small business.

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