NolaPro 4 review

In business, price is a convincing argument. So while NolaPro is a full invoicing, stock control, payroll and ledger-based accounting suite, it’s the fact that it costs nothing that will pique the interest of small business users.

Price isn’t the only thing that separates multi-user NolaPro from the crowd, though. Unusually, the program is accessed entirely through a web browser. The program consists of an executable file that automatically installs web server tools on a Windows or Linux PC – either your own or a local or remote server – and it can then be shared via any PC with a browser.

NolaPro’s frame-based interface is gratingly ugly compared to the polish of MYOB Accounting or Microsoft Office Accounting Express. But it’s simple: each of the program’s modules appear in a menu, and as you enter each module a box on the left handily shows relevant recent activity.

Its features are impressive, too. As soon as you set up items in the program’s inventory – a quick task – you can add them to customer orders, complete with field auto-completion. The program includes a dedicated Point of Sale view – great for retail environments – and even a web-based shopping cart. Budgeting tools are here, there’s an easy-to-use bank reconciliation feature and its reporting functions are comparable to anything you’d find in a commercial application. There’s even a time-tracking function.

So what’s the catch? There is none, unless you require more esoteric add-ons, such as filtering access to a server and NolaPro offers a hosted option that bundles these. You’ll also have to pay for telephone support, which is a pricey $199 for each year. However, set against that, the free video training on the NolaPro website is the most comprehensive we’ve seen for any business application, so you may be able to get by without it.

There is one major drawback, however – the program has a notable US bias. Sometimes this consists of simply a difference in naming conventions – ‘inventory’ rather than ‘stock’ for example; others require a workaround, such as changing the default dollar currency in the program’s Admin menu.

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But the lack of UK-specific options is most keenly felt in the payroll module, which lacks localised payroll tables. And while you can adjust the standard sales tax setting to account for VAT, NolaPro won’t help prepare a UK VAT return in the way that MYOB Accounting or Sage Instant Accounts can.

But for businesses on the tightest of budgets, retail outfits or those working remotely, it’s a workable, effective accounting system. For those who don’t need the advanced multi-user, stock control and budgeting features, however, we’d still recommend Microsoft’s less powerful but easier to use Office Accounting Express.

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