QuickBooks Premier 2005 review: QuickBooks Premier 2005

The bulk of QuickBooks Premier Edition 2005's other enhancements span the entire product line, including the $199.95 Basic and $299.95 Pro versions. One welcome change is the new Report Navigator, which provides cogent descriptions of specific reports (for example, standard profit and loss statement) and is easier to browse than 2004's cryptic Report Finder. Another seemingly minor (yet helpful) upgrade: You can now resize column widths in lists by dragging the column dividers like in Excel. And you can also move, add, and delete columns via a right-click menu. Furthermore, the Pro and Premier versions let you schedule both UPS and FedEx shipments from inside the program.

The QuickBooks Learning Center loads at start-up and provides a wide assortment of interactive tutorials. Novices will like it; experts won't need it.

Carryovers from the 2004 version include QuickBooks Expert Analysis Tool, which is very good at comparing your company's vitals--profits, sales, assets, and so on--with comparably sized businesses in your industry. And the Business Plan Tool, a well-designed guide that leads you through the process of creating a business plan, even lets you export the plan to the Acrobat (PDF) format for e-mailing.

Another carryover is QuickBooks' payroll add-on. Renamed QuickBooks Enhanced Payroll, this $499 subscription automatically fills out and updates federal and state forms, automatically upgrades you to the latest version of QuickBooks Premier, tracks workers' compensation, directly deposits paychecks to employees' bank accounts, and seamlessly performs net-to-gross calculations.

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