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Good Low-Cost Accounting

By Richard Morochove Although Intuit's QuickBooks dominates the small-business accounting market, ACCPAC International offers a viable alternative to the leader with its inexpensive Simply Accounting package.

I looked at a $39 shipping copy of Simply Accounting 9, the newest update of a program introduced almost 20 years ago. No warmed-over software from the eighties, version 9 has an up-to-date user interface and the latest electronic business capabilities, allowing you to e-mail forms, download bank statements, and (optionally) tap into electronic funds transfer. It comes with a new Daily Business Manager that enables you to keep track of key financial tasks and to-dos. A training CD has clickable links for added help and FAQs, and you can quickly switch back to the program to practice skills learned in each section.

The single-user Basic Simply Accounting program has the general accounting capabilities most small businesses need, such as general ledger and financial statements, sales and accounts receivable, payments and accounts payable, job costing, and payroll. If you require more, you can get a single-user package of Simply Accounting Pro for $89, or pay $269 for a five-user package. For service businesses, Pro adds new capabilities in time tracking and related billing; it also supports an unlimited number of foreign currencies.

If you make a mistake in an accounting entry, Simply Accounting lets you correct it, but it retains a record of your original, which gives you an additional trail if needed. In contrast, QuickBooks allows you to eliminate a first entry.

Overall, Simply Accounting 9 offers business accounting capabilities comparable to those of the industry leader at one-third or less of the cost. From the August 2002 issue of PC World magazine

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