QuickBooks Pro 2012 review

Price when reviewed

It’s hard for any annual upgrade to produce fireworks, especially when it’s the sort of sober accounting application relied on by thousands of small businesses. True to form, this new version of QuickBooks doesn’t offer earth-shattering changes. But its modest improvements should make your business easier to run.

QuickBooks Pro is the middle option of Intuit’s range of business applications, which includes the budget Simple Start and enterprise-level Premier. This release concentrates on usability adjustments rather than powerful new functions, for example the new Express Start option to set beginners up after answering basic questions.

While that may appeal only to a niche of the program’s target market, there will be broader appeal for a new Calendar view that displays posted transactions by date alongside to-do items. Click on a day in the calendar and transactions are listed below, from where you can drill down to the transaction details. We found it a useful way of checking whether we’d remembered to post a transaction.

QuickBooks Pro 2012

Similarly, a new Collections Centre, which lists overdue and almost due invoices organised by customer, makes it easier to issue reminders: just select a customer and a reminder email can be generated at the click of a button. Snapshot views – at-a-glance information about business performance – have become more useful business tools, with the Customer snapshot now showing details such as how quickly a customer pays.

The standout new feature, however, is Excel integration. QuickBooks has long been able to export reports to Excel, but now you can make changes to an exported worksheet, whether to adjust formatting or add formulae, and when you later update the report, you can apply it to the same worksheet, with the formatting and formulae you applied still respected.

An easier option is to use the QuickBooks Excel plugin, added on install. This allows you to enter new report dates in a dialog box directly from Excel, and on those dates the report will run automatically and be reimported. Handily, the original export is retained as an underlying worksheet. There are limitations – it will break if your report no longer includes the line referenced in the worksheet formula – but overall this will be a huge timesaver to those who generate regular reports.

QuickBooks Pro 2012

Other timesavers include a new batch timesheet feature and – probably most useful to accountants – the ability to create one invoice that can be sent to multiple customers for a single service.

One disappointment is the way you still need Excel or the clunky Intuit Interchange Format to get information out of the program. That’s exacerbated by the fact that there’s no way to get your data from here into QuickBooks Online, Intuit’s modest web-based accounting offering. Granted, the features of the two programs differ, but given the move towards cloud-based accounting applications, we’re surprised Intuit hasn’t made more effort to make the program more accessible away from the desktop.

QuickBooks Pro is a good program, and a decent upgrade if you’ve skipped the last couple of versions. But compared to online alternatives such as Xero or FreeAgent, it’s pricey if you don’t need all its features – especially as support beyond 30 days isn’t included in the standard price. Unless its improved reporting options are fundamental to your business, this edition can be safely skipped for users of 2010.


Software subcategory Accounting

Operating system support

Operating system Windows Vista supported? yes
Operating system Windows XP supported? yes
Operating system Linux supported? no
Operating system Mac OS X supported? no

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