Peachtree vs. Quickbooks Review — Sort of

Dave Matthew has emailed me a couple of times telling me that I should take a look at his Peachtree vs. QuickBooks review. As per the usual review, there is the list of features with a checkmark in the column indicating whether each package has the feature. And therein lies the problem with all reviews of this type. The list of features is chosen not to be comprehensive, but to reflect whatever bias the review has.
In the products compared, I note quickly the omission of Intuit’s QuickBooks Enterprise Solution–considerably more expensive than the others, but lifting the 5 user limit.
Bottom line: if you’re looking for a review to tell you which product is “best,” you have to define what you mean by “best.” My experience is that “best” is different for every client. Don’t buy software based on reviews, and be very suspicious of any review you see. Ask yourself, does the reviewer have bias? What is it? What economic stake do they have in the outcome of your decision? (As an example, you should know that I work with QuickBooks. I also work with a Sage product and a Microsoft product in the same general space.)
Second bottom line: Most really small businesses (less than 5 users) don’t really need much accounting. They see it as a cost center, and use it to keep records they are required to keep. In this space, you can pretty much choose whatever you want. Most of our clients wind up picking QuickBooks for a simple reason: Most bookkeepers and accountants are familiar with it. Unfortunately, there’s no other software so ubiquitous.
David, I’m not sure that was what you wanted, but it’s the opinion of someone with just over 25 years experience in what is now the ERP space.
Peachtree vs Quickbooks | A Comparison for Small Business Owners

ERP, or Enterprise Resource Planning

Accounting Software Grows Up

In the “old” days, we called the software that businesses used to manage their operations, “accounting software” or “accounting systems.” These systems provided basic accounting (General Ledger, Accounts Payable, Payroll and Accounts Receivable). We referred to these “modules” as GLAPPAR (rhymes with flapper). Not much has changed since the 1980s in basic accounting software. That’s not surprising since not much has changed in basic bookkeeping since the 19th century. [Note to CPAs: I did not say “not much has changed in accounting.”]

Rise of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

As software matured and businesses became more sophisticated, international, and dispersed, there was a need for a “real time” record of the business transactions. Even more important, the resources of the business like personnel, inventory, assets, and manufacturing plants needed to be allocated effectively. Enter ERP.

What is ERP software?

ERP software typically does everything accounting software does, plus provides support for all the other areas of business operations such as manufacturing scheduling, inventory purchases, personnel scheduling, supply chain management, shipping, warehousing, etc. All of this is done by most ERP systems in real time. Post an order in Taipei; the head office in Shanghai knows about it in a flash; and the plant in Mexico begins producing the product the next day.

Business Benefits of integrated accounting software

Integration of the accounting and business operations software in this way allows data to flow to the far corners of the enterprise where it is needed. By collecting data on real time business operations and redesigning processes such as shipping, warehousing, marketing and planning, the enterprise also accomplishes the following:

  • Increased selling time
  • More efficiency in logistics resulting in lower costs and personnel requirements
  • Reduced shipping rates
  • Better supplier communication
  • Inventory reduction
  • Control over all aspects of the business operation
  • Fewer inventory stockouts
  • Better manufacturing efficiencies
  • …and more.

Is ERP right for you?

To answer this question, more information about your specific business operation, current systems, and business processes is needed. For more information on how this information can help you generate business growth, see the DGG STATICS process.

Knowing Software can Make You Profitable

Software is Always Free

In a previous post, I introduced the idea that software was free. This post continues that thought.

How Much Excel Do you Know?

Many people I know use Excel, at least a little. If I ask, they’ll admit that they know only about 15% to 20% of what Excel will do, and use perhaps 10% of the total capability. That means that there is at least 80% of what Excel will do that most people don’t know about, and therefore can’t use.
Excel is a pretty mundane tool. Most people add up columns and rows of numbers and do simple calculations with it. But if they only know 20% at most of the functions of Excel, what about the rest of the world of business software.
Knowing what business software can do helps profit and cash flow. Diagram of the knowledge gap.

Bridging the Gap Between Software and Business Profit

The diagram above is of what I’ve come to call the knowledge gap. For the first 10-15 years of my career, software capability was behind business needs. Businesses used 100% (or somewhare close) to the capabilities of software. In the last 10 or 12 years, this situation has reversed. While businesses use far more software capability today than 15 years ago, there is even more to use.
Somewhere in the capabilities that businesses don’t use in their software is the possibility of dramatic profit and cost savings.
At Data Guidance Group, we help close the knowledge gap for clients. We provide the bridge from software to business profitability.

Software Is Always Free!

A few weeks ago, I spoke at a conference. I made the statement, “Software is always free.” As I knew I would, I got a few raised eyebrows.
“Let me show you what I mean,” I said. “How many of you keep books on some kind of software? QuickBooks to SAP?” I got a few raised hands.
“How many of you believe that you have gotten a return on your investment in software?” Three hands in a room of over 100. Pretty bad result, wouldn’t you say?
“Ok, that looks pretty much like I expected. Here’s what we’ll do. We’ll give you back all the money you’ve invested in computer software. Like that idea? (Nods and agreement.) We’ll also give you a few other things: some 12 column pads, an adding machine, and about a dozen good sharp #2 pencils. You can’t ever have your computer and software back again. You’ll be doing it with pencil and paper for the rest of your career! Any takers?” Predictably, there were none.
“Now let me ask you again, ‘How many of you think you get a return on your investment in software and technology?'” Every hand in the room went up.
So I repeat, “Software is always free.” Businesses always get more in return than they invest in the software. Of course, they dont’ think about it that way, but they wouldn’t give it up if given a chance.
Here’s the sad thing: Almost every business I walk into could be getting much more from their software. Problem: the way the software is used in the business has reached the boundary of their knowledge. They CAN’T get more from it because the DON’T know where to look.
More later.

Business Software Made Simple

Here’s the 2011 series of web conferences for the last half of the year. The next few web conferences will focus on Inventory Management techniques. Note that this isn’t a conference dedicated to a single product. We’re discussing ways to use software that apply to almost any software product. Come and check out the web conferences. For more information, see this page.