Peachtree Accounting for Windows 2.0. (accounting software) (Software Review) (Evaluation)
by Kathy Yakal
It's not often that an upgrade of an existing software product looks like an entirely new package. Such is the case, though, with Peachtree Accounting for Windows 2.0. Peachtree built this new version from the ground up, and it shows.
Peachtree Accounting is targeted at companies that employ up to 25 people, with revenues of less than a million dollars, though it's capable of handling much larger businesses. It was designed--like most other products in the entry-level accounting genre--to be used by people with little or no prior accounting experience. The program's new user interface will also accommodate individuals with little or no PC experience.
A simple, friendly tutorial walks the new user through setting up the company's books (13 sample Charts of Accounts are included), and an ongoing checklist outlines the logical steps required to utilize features appropriate for the user's business. "Smart Guides," which can be turned on or off, offer extra help at selected screens.
All of Peachtree Accounting's financial functions--Accounts Receivable/ Invoicing, Accounts Payable, Payroll, Inventory, Job/Project Tracking, Bank Reconciliation, General Ledger, and Financial Reporting--are fully integrated, so data entered in one area automatically updates any other affected areas. And unlike with most other accounting packages, you don't have to go through complex month-end closing procedures; the program automatically assigns transactions to the proper period by reading the date.
Peachtree Accounting is also the first accounting product to take full advantage of three powerful Windows functions: Multiple Document Interface (MDI), Object Linking and Embedding (OLE), and Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE). This means you can keep multiple windows open onscreen simultaneously, customize forms by inserting graphic objects from other applications, and exchange data with other programs.
Though the documentation and the final version weren't available at this writing, the beta I saw looked more intuitive and full featured than any similar product I've seen. The program's new look incorporates state-of-the-art Windows conventions: descriptive icons, real-life representations of graphic forms, and visual flow charts that guide you through an accounting process.
One of the most potentially powerful new features of this upgrade is the Manager Series, which lets you "drill down" through the many levels of your cash, collection, and payables records, and provides graphical analyses and overviews of your company's financial status. Moreover, several new capabilities have been added to every major function of Peachtree Accounting, enhancing the product's flexibility, ease of use, and speed.
There's a lot of competition in the small-business accounting field, and a shakeout is inevitable. When the dust finally settles, however, Peachtree Accounting will likely still be around.