Simply Accounting holds bookkeepers accountable

Accpac International Inc. has upgraded the standard and advanced versions of its Simply Accounting software by integrating them more closely with Microsoft Corp.’s Office software, and adding batch printing capabilities that facilitate invoice generation and bill payment, the company announced Monday.

Version 9.0 of the advanced version, Simply Accounting Pro, also supports up to 6 concurrent users, allows for transactions to be made in a variety of currencies and languages, and enables direct-deposit and other payments through electronic transfers from the Simply Accounting interface.

Users of Simply Accounting and Simply Accounting Pro will now be able to design reports in Microsoft Office using data linked from the software’s Microsoft Access database, without having to take the extra step of exporting that data into Office. Also, companies will save time by setting up a batch of checks or invoices to be printed in a batch. Previous versions required the user to individually type out and print each document separately.

Simply Accounting combines journal entry, invoice, and other accounting services into a product for the small office/home office market that runs on Microsoft’s Windows 95/98/2000/NT/ME/XP. The product automates the payment of bills, tracks inventory, and provides reporting tools for managers through a single, customizable interface.

A key feature of the product is its full audit trail, which does not allow modifications to the recorded history of sales, expenses, and other journal entries, said Scott Zandbergen, product-marketing manager for Simply Accounting. Other accounting software products allow the user to credit certain accounts without debiting an opposite account, for example, recording a sale without decreasing inventory, said Zandbergen.

“Small business users shouldn’t have to settle for non-GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) standards” in their accounting software, said Zandbergen. “In my view, the primary difference between our product and others is its accounting integrity.”

Simply Accounting also allows users to switch between traditional accounting terminology, like debits and credits, and more straightforward language, such as payments and sales. This allows the product to be used by people with different degrees of accounting knowledge, said Zandbergen.

Simply Accounting 9.0 is priced at US$39.99 per user for the basic version, or $89.99 for Simply Accounting Pro, which includes both a bill of materials and time and billing applications. Comparable products from Intuit Inc. are Quickbooks Basic, which costs $179.95 and Quickbooks Pro, which costs $279.95. Intuit’s line of Quickbooks products lead the market for small business accounting software in the U.S.

Most users of the product find the general ledger, accounts receivable, and accounts payable options most helpful, said Henry Czubkowski, owner and president of HPC Business Consultants. Czubkowski’s firm trains small businesses and churches to use the product, and also resells it.

“It’s simple to use, and the basic version provides more than enough features” for users, he said. His clients also value the reporting tools, which allow them to create custom reports through the Crystal Reports software product from Crystal Decisions Inc., he said.

Barbara Sprafkin, president of My Pet Enterprises Inc. in Baldwinsville, N.Y., switched from Quickbooks to Simply Accounting about one year ago. “My business has grown, and I needed much more capability,” she said.

“Quickbooks was fine for a business out of my home, but it does not provide the proper audit trails I needed when running a larger business,” she said.

Accpac, a subsidiary of Computer Associates International Inc., holds 80 per cent of the small business accounting software market share in Canada, but is making its first concentrated push into the U.S. market with the release of Simply Accounting 9.0, said John Schousten, vice president for press and analyst relations at Accpac.