Microsoft Office Accounting Professional 2009 review

Price when reviewed

A little more than two years after its first welcome shake-up of a staid UK accounting market, Microsoft Office Accounting has released another polished upgrade to its user-friendly accounting package.

In most practical respects, both Express and Professional versions feel identical and they’re still both just as easy to use as ever, helped in part by an Office-style interface that will be more familiar to most people than more proprietary interfaces of the likes of Ability Accounts, NolaPro 4 or MYOB Accounting 17.

As with Sage Instant Accounts, when you select logically discrete accounting areas – Customers, Employees and so on – from a source list of tabs on the left, related information appears in the main window. With the home Company tab selected, the main window shows current reminders, cash flow status, and important account balances. It’s a more useful overview of your accounts than MYOB’s simple icon-based approach.


Accounting offers many other features aimed at the less experienced bookkeeper too. When you create your first set of accounts, you can choose from templates for various business types, which allow you to quickly tailor your accounts to suit your type of business. More obviously useful, though, is its Quick Start Window, accessible at startup and at any time through the toolbar, giving one-click access to common tasks, such as creating invoices or receiving payments.

When most accounting applications offer broadly similar feature sets, small advantages matter. The ability to generate Inland Revenue-accredited accrual and cash-based VAT returns is something most budget accounting applications can do, but Office Accounting copes better than most with changing VAT rates; handy given the current rate’s fleeting status. In the program’s VAT settings, you can set a date on which a VAT change is applicable, and even when it occurs in the future. This is much more reliable than manually adjusting a rate as Accounting’s method correctly accounts for backdated transactions.

On the flip side, there’s no direct support for the flat rate VAT scheme for small businesses, where VAT liability is calculated as a percentage of VATable sales. But this minor weakness is shared by most other accounting applications we’ve looked at, and the workaround involves a single ledger adjustment.


Software subcategory Accounting


Processor requirement None

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
Other operating system support N/A

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