Later this week Intuit Inc. will officially announce QuickBooks: Pro 2005 for Mac, the latest release of its small business accounting software — although the company has already posted details of the new release to its Web site.

Major changes in this new release include integrated iCal support, the ability to back up data files to .Mac, easier file sharing with the Windows version of QuickBooks and the ability to add PDF backgrounds to forms.

QuickBooks: Pro 2005 for Mac sports enhanced compatibility with its PC counterpart, now with the ability to open QuickBooks for Windows files (converting QuickBooks Basic, Pro and Premier and Premier Accountant for Windows versions 2004 and 2005). Windows users can also open up Mac files. And Intuit has updated the Macintosh version’s menu structure to mirror its PC counterpart, to help make it easier for Mac users to get help from their Windows-using accountants.

New features for small business owners include the ability to view unbilled costs including hours and expenses and new alerts that show when there are unbilled hours or expenses. “QuickZoom” lets users check the details behind numbers in Pay Bills and Receive Payments screens. Unused items in customer, vendor and other lists can be rendered inactive and hidden from view, but can later be reactivated if necessary. And users can now sort lists by column.

While previous releases of QuickBooks for Mac have enabled users to embed corporate logos and other graphics in their QuickBooks-generated invoices, the layout itself has been rather structured and rigid, permitting only limited customization. This new release adds the ability to put in any PDF-based background into their forms, enabling QuickBooks users to use their own stationery. Form fonts, printed fields and status stamps can be customized and added as necessary, as well.

QuickBooks integrates with Apple’s iCal calendaring software, to remind users of time-based tasks. And if you or your business has a .Mac account, QuickBooks: Pro 2005 for Mac features a one-click backup that automatically uploads an archive of your data to the .Mac account.

QuickBooks: Pro 2005 for Mac is available for online purchase directly from Intuit’s Web site now for US$299.95; existing QuickBooks customers can get a US$100 rebate for an adjusted price of US$199.95.



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