Peachtree vs QuickBooks | A Comparison for Small Business Owners

by

ERP Analyst, Software Advice

As a small business owner, your to-do list is a mile long. It’s stressful enough handling customer demands or vendor requests, but then there’s day-to-day administrative tasks that must be completed as well. While accounting software programs can’t keep tabs on your new competitor down the street, they can at least make one part of your job a little easier.

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Sage Peachtree and Intuit QuickBooks own the lion’s share of the small business accounting software market. They both provide excellent solutions to many, if not all of a small business’s bookkeeping conundrums. QuickBooks is usually considered the easiest accounting software to implement for someone without an accounting background. Since many of you probably wake with nightmares about double-entry bookkeeping or cringe at words like ledger, you might assume that this is the best product for you.

But with the recently released Sage Peachtree Pro Accounting 2012, Sage has taken major strides in usability. They now offer intuitive features like Setup Advisor and Sage Advisor, a tool that follows user activity while explaining how the software can handle different tasks (sort of like Microsoft Word’s Clippy, but without those irritating questions).

Single-User Products

Product Features
Peachtree Pro
QuickBooks Pro
List Price
$229
$229
Max Number of Users
1
1
Accounts Receivable
Accounts Payable
Automated Purchase Orders
-
-
Fixed Asset Management
-
-
Automatic Check Signing
-
General Ledger
Job Costing and Forecasting
-
Multiple Customizable Dashboards
-
Industry Specific Features
-
-
Serial Number Inventory Management
-
-

Multi-User Products

Product Features
Peachtree Pro
Peachtree Premium
QuickBooks Premier
List Price
$699
$1,199
$749/two; $999/three
Max Number of Users
5
5
3
Accounts Receivable
Accounts Payable
Automated Purchase Orders
Fixed Asset Management
Automatic Check Signing
-
-
General Ledger
Job Costing and Forecasting
Multiple Customizable Dashboards
Industry Specific Features
-
Serial Number Inventory Management
-
-

Head-to-Head: A Cost Comparison

At the Pro level both products come in at the same price: $229. The difference in cost comes another rung up the ladder. Peachtree Complete for a single user is $299, whereas QuickBooks Premier is $399. When multiple users are added to Peachtree Complete (up to 5) the price jumps to $699. On the other hand, QuickBooks Premier’s multiple-user pricing increases per person. Add a second user, and it is $749; add a third and it hits $999.

The problem with this price comparison is that these products aren’t offering the exact same tool set. For example, Intuit has wrapped a wide array of features around its QuickBooks Premier software product, including six industry-exclusive variants that Peachtree only offers in its Premium software line (and they offer just four at that). As you might imagine, Peachtree Premium comes at a premium price, running at $499 for a single user and $1,199 for users 2 through 5. Saying that though, it packs in even more features than QuickBooks Premier.

An Overview of Essential Features

When it comes to tracking financials, there are simply no substitutes for accuracy, usability or quality reporting. While you can certainly find basic accounting and financial management solutions for little or no cost online, these bare-bones programs typically offer few if any real capabilities. And it’s in usability and depth that QuickBooks and Peachtree both really shine.

Both versions of QuickBooks boast a well-developed and easy to use invoicing system dubbed the Collections Center. QuickBooks Premier includes the ability to track data from different departments, locations or funds, all in one report. Batch invoicing is another new feature that QuickBooks offers, allowing one invoice to be created and applied to everyone in a group.

From top to bottom, QuickBooks has updated their offerings to keep pace with software and technology trends enabling easier online integration. For example, all versions of QuickBooks can be used in conjunction with your online banking and web-based email account (e.g., Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail). They can also be connected via QuickBooks Sync to Intuit’s online servers, making information seamlessly available.

QuickBooks Screenshot

QuickBooks' easy-to-use interface

Peachtree, on the other hand, is great for loads of specific small business tasks and offers a very customizable tool set. Each version of Peachtree 2012 can deftly manage workflow analysis, volume pricing, complicated inventory concerns (e.g., multiple warehouses) and vendor reports. Peachtree has also teamed up with business intelligence firm Alchemex to provide Excel-based business intelligence summaries for Complete and Premium users.

With Peachtree you can keep an eye on cash flow with preset alerts that send email notifications when inventory amounts get too low or an account’s balance passes a predetermined threshold. Perhaps the most valuable tool that Peachtree offers is its Internal Accounting Review that audits your data to detect common accounting mistakes. This makes sure that your hard earned money doesn’t slip through the cracks.

These are slightly different products being catered to slightly different crowds, and they aren’t cheap, but they are well worth the investment in terms of both dollars and hours saved. In fact they will allow you to get back to the really fun tasks of running a small business…like complaint resolution.

Sage Peachtree Demo

Managing your cash flow is easy with Peachtree's detailed features

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  • http://twitter.com/qbguy Scott Gregory

    David:

    Thanks for this handy comparison chart of the two leading accounting software packages for small businesses.

    A couple of thoughts to add:

    1) Depending on how you are defining job costing, the single user version of QuickBooks can do that when properly set up.

    2) The max number of users for QuickBooks Premier is actually 5. The max number of users for QuickBooks Pro is now 3 – this was a change in the 2011 version.

    So I’m curious – which would you pick for running a small business?

    Scott Gregory
    http://www.BetterBottomLine.com

  • http://ccrussell.myopenid.com/ Charlie Russell

    QuickBooks Premier allows up to five users, not three. You can buy the three user version and add two additional single user licenses to get to five. Also, it is important to many businesses to know if you can move to a larger number of users or a higher capacity system – QuickBooks Premier lets you move up to QuickBooks Enterprise, as an example.

  • Geni Whitehouse

    I just can’t get around QuickBooks lack of inventory features. Every time I run into a problem with a client it’s there. Peachtree works like real accounting. QuickBooks still focuses on the checkbook and goes from there and the functional trade-offs are difficult. Just try to find a list of transactions by actual date entered, for example.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jimmie.martin.98 Jimmie Martin

      Find; Advanced;Date, enter the date range of the transactions you are looking for.  You can also sort them by date modified including the date entered

  • Clasen Amahit

    Scott, i would suggest to get peachtree complete. it will be a wise investment. i was using p3 since 2002 and nver regretted it. i also tried quickbooks but i was disappointed.

  • Frustrate QB user

    We have Quickbooks enterprise and the job costing for sales rep is nonexistent.   To many workarounds and loose accounting.

    The job costing is not there in true fashion and will not transfer over the the rep sales/ profitablity

  • Allen

    can Peachtree Pro integrate with your online banking?

  • William

    Will QuickBooks or Peachtree either one allow multiusers to create invoices or enter checks at the same time without duplicating invoice or check numbers?

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