Quickbooks 2010 Preview

box_premierThis week, Intuit announced that it will be releasing the 2010 versions of Quickbooks Pro and Quickbooks Premier to users on Oct. 7.

So what’s new for Quickbooks users in 2010? Intuit says it has streamlined the install process from 15 screens to only six for small businesses with simple accounting needs. You will be able to edit multiple items in the lists of items/customers/vendors at one time in a spreadsheet-style screen, and data can be pasted into those lists from Excel. There are new form templates, and more form customization options, including decorative backgrounds. For more advanced customization, there is integrated access to design services. Quickbooks 2010 users will also have the ability to put their signature on their checks directly within the program without printing them.

Some of the more useful-sounding new features are the additions to the Company Snapshot screen that was introduced in Quickbooks 2009. This screen can now be personalized to display the data most relevant to the user’s particular business. If this works half as well as described it will be a great improvement to what was already one of my favorite features in the 2009 version. This is the most promising sounding of the newly announced features, but also reminds me of iPhone cut-and-paste: something that should have been there from the beginning.

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Another promising area of improvement is in the reporting. According to Intuit, it’s been “radically redesigned” to make it easier to find reports. The redesign includes a carousel view, a list view, and a search function, as well as a favorites view to show your most frequently used reports. As a Quickbooks user who gets annoyed by having to wade through a massive library of irrelevant reports to get to the few that I use regularly, the ability to go directly to a favorites list of reports sounds very helpful.

The most common complaint about Quickbooks has long been its heavy-handed marketing of add-on services inside what is already an expensive software package. Unfortunately, most of the new features being advertised for Quickbooks 2010 appear to simply be an extension of Intuit’s philosophy of aggressively generating add-on sales. Popular personal finance management app Mint.com, recently purchased by Intuit, also operates under a business model based on selling add-on services through its software. But there is a major difference between Mint and Quickbooks: Mint is free.

The features that fall under what Intuit calls its “Connected Services Strategy” include:

  • Document Management Services: These services allow attaching of documents to transactions, accounts or people in Quickbooks. The documents are stored online and can be accessed remotely and shared with others.
  • Check Deposit Services: With Intuit Check Solutions for Quickbooks, users can deposit check payments into their bank account. For companies not already using Quickbooks merchant services, the check service starts at $19.95 per month plus per-transaction fees.
  • Marketing Center: Quickbooks’ integrated email marketing service (currently in beta) offers customizable templates for creating email marketing campaigns and then allows for tracking the results of those campaigns through Quickbooks data.
  • App Center: Everyone has to have apps these days, and Quickbooks is no exception. The App Center contains about 25 programs in four categories. The apps cover topics from task management to project management to online storage. Most are only peripherally related to the core accounting functions, and all but a few require a monthly subscription (although free trials are available).

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Quickbooks Pro 2010 will have a single-user MSRP of $199.99, or $179.99 for an upgrade. Pre-order street price for the full version Quickbooks Accounting Pro on Amazon.com is currently $149.99. Quickbooks Premier 2010 will have a single-user MSRP of $399.99, or $349.99 for upgrade buyers. The pre-order street price on Amazon.com is $249.99 for the full version of that program.

If you bought Quickbooks 2009 in the 60 days before the 2010 product announcement on Sept. 28, you will likely be happy to know about the existence of a little-advertised “migration upgrade” program that provides free upgrades to the 2010 version. To get the upgrade if you qualify, make sure you have your 2009 product’s information and sales receipt and call 888-246-8848. Stay on the line after the menu options to reach customer service.

Are you a Quickbooks user? Are you planning to upgrade your software?

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