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What Kinds of Businesses Shouldn’t Use Quicken 2012?

You’re probably saying to yourself, “Quicken 2012 works for corporations (sort of), and it works for partnerships (sort of). Does that mean that it works for just about any kind of business?”

The answer is no. Quicken is a darn good product. In fact, for many small businesses, it’s a great product. But it doesn’t work in every situation.

The following is a three-part test that you can use to determine whether your business should use Quicken. If you answer yes to two or three of the questions, you should seriously consider moving up to a full-featured, small-business accounting system (like QuickBooks).

  • Do you regularly need to produce business forms other than checks?

    • If you answer no to this question, you’re in good shape with Quicken, which produces checks easily. And if all you need is an occasional invoice, you can create it easily enough on your computer. To produce a handful of invoices per month, for example, you can use your word processor.

      If you want to, you can also use one of the super-sized versions of Quicken: Quicken Home & Business or Quicken Rental Property Manager. Both of these versions of Quicken not only do invoices but also monthly customer statements.

    • If you do produce a lot of forms besides checks and invoices — for example, purchase orders — you should probably consider moving to a small business accounting system that produces the forms you want. If you’ve been using Quicken, for example, take a look at QuickBooks, another Intuit product.

      Another more powerful but wonderfully designed product you might try is Peachtree Accounting for Windows from Sage Software. You can probably buy any of these programs at the local office supplies store. You can certainly buy the QuickBooks and Peachtree Accounting programs online.

  • Do you need to track assets other than cash, accounts receivable, or investments?

    For example, do you buy and resell inventory? Do you have a bunch of fixed assets (furniture, equipment, and stuff like that) that you need to track? An accounting system is usually helpful in tracking these items. Quicken doesn’t do a very good job of tracking these other assets, so you may want to look at one of the other small business accounting products — QuickBooks, for example.

  • Are you having problems measuring your profits with cash-basis accounting?

    You should know that if you can’t accurately measure your business profits by using cash-basis accounting (which is what Quicken uses), you may be able to more accurately measure your business profits by using accrual-basis accounting. To do so, use an accounting system that supports accrual-basis accounting. To measure your profits the right way, you (or your accountant) need to use — horror of horrors — double-entry bookkeeping.

If you’re a Quicken user but realize that you’re outgrowing the checkbook-on-a-computer scene, check out QuickBooks. Here’s the deal: QuickBooks looks and feels a lot like Quicken. Plus, it uses the data that you’ve already collected with Quicken, so you’ll find that moving from Quicken to QuickBooks is only slightly more complicated than rolling off a log.

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