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Software Review of:
Peachtree Accounting Software
A Climbing Accounting Package

 

Steve Arvin, Red eyed late night bookkeeper.

From the March, 2002 issue of PC Alamode Magazine

The last time I looked into Peachtree Accounting Software was back about 1988 in the heyday of MSDOS. Peachtree was a small accounting package back then with very limited features. What they did seem to do right was accounting by the numbers, their math all came out right and that after all is half of the battle. I dug a little deeper and found out that they had good support and even had local classes on how to use the program. That was impressive for an accounting package that cost less than half of what the competition did at the time. What it didnít have was a way to efficiently integrate a point of sale package that would be of any use. 

Today fourteen years later I had been under the impression that with the rise of Quickenís small business packages for Windows Peachtree had died on the vine. Well I was sorely mistaken they have gone into full-blown competition with Quicken. Peachtree is supplying four versions of a matured small business accounting package for Windows. They are now a subsidiary of Best Software who produce larger accounting packages like MAS90 and BusinessWorks, this must be what has given them the steam to give Peachtree 2002 its robust set of features. Which include full Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, Payroll, Inventory, and General Ledger. 

Since I thought the numbers would come out right and this package wouldnít be any more confusing to learn than any other high end accounting program I decided to concentrate on the Point of Sale and Inventory, since they are notoriously the weakest link in the accounting process.  So I popped in a CD fully expecting a near to impossible setup procedure. To my surprise in about 20 minutes it had installed and it walked me through the setup. I built a test company called Crunchy Peachy Pie Co. Inc. named so due to my week long craving for a good homemade peach pie, brought back to mind by the name of the software. 

Envisioning a small hometown bakery that sells out its daily stock like clock work before 1pm in the afternoon everyday and only makes fresh bread and a few truly five star fruit pies, I went to work. The interface was easy to use and let me pick a custom setup. Out of the list Bakery Shop was one of its selections so I was set. Next I spent a few minutes reading the menus to get acquainted with the way things were laid out.  The inventory was my next stop adding in every thing from flour and pencils to pie, which wasnít to hard. The program does prompt you along and the accounting extensions are automatically assigned. The big plus in the inventory is the ability to have 5 or 10 different selling prices for each item.  It even lets you get away with setting up your peach vendor as a tree, location the backyard, so be careful.  After that I needed someone to sell to so I set up some customer records easy enough, and low and behold I discovered a simple contact manager where you can setup dated notes to refer back to. 

Note: this dude buys two pies a day and will soon weigh 400 pounds without help.
   Turns out this works for vendors as well, very cool 

An invoice is simple thing to do but when you are trying inevitably to talk to someone on the phone or your walk-in trade is standing over you wondering why it is taking you so long to finish their paper work, you would be well off not to have to think to hard on how to make the computer function. I started an invoice and I donít know about you but the thing that burns me up most about Windows based point of sale software is the inability to carve your way through an invoice without having to touch the mouse. So I gave it the acid test and I have to say itís a site better than most of other Windows based point of sale systems Iíve seen. You can TAB through most of the invoice but I still felt uncomfortable going to the payment screen and printing and having to use the mouse to do it.  In my view that means they still have improving to do in the invoicing area so that you donít have to think about what to click next, you should be able to just single key through without having to stop and think it over. 

Peachtree has added new services to this latest version like so many Web-based companies attempting to ďMonetizeĒ their intellectual property and services. They have a Credit card service, a Website creator and Web trader software that look like a decent addition to the package.

They have also added a Web accounting feature, which is possibly the best addition and gives you the ability to access your business information or write invoices from anywhere you can get a Web connection.  Wow they are finally pulling all of the technologies together. Crystal reports has also made its custom report writer integrate with Peachtree and a trial version comes with it.  Another integrated addition is stamps.com so you can print postage from within Peachtree right along with your checks. With the services all added up it could cost as much as $50 to $100 per month depending on which version (single or multi-user) you want. 

I have found the single user version of Peachtree Accounting 2002 for $169.95 and Peachtree multi-user 5 license version for $599.00 on their Web site. They seem to have a good following with over a million users and good Web support. Check out these sites, 

www.peachtreeusers.com
www.Accountingadvisors.com 
for more information.

In conclusion I think for entry level small business software this is as full featured a package as you will find and It should be a bit more palatable to any serious bookkeeper than the other under a 1000 dollar solutions out there.  By the way I finally got that homemade crunchy peachy pie Iíd been craving tonight and it was delicious many thanks to my lovely wife. Happy accounting 
 


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