Another Quicken-style feature is Company Snapshot, a single-screen overview of your business's vital stats. To access it from the home page, you click Company Snapshot on the Icon Bar. What follows is a screen with information to help business owners better manage their daily cash flow. The list headers avoid accountant gibberish and give it to you straight: customers who owe money, vendors to pay, and so on. This 30,000-foot view is handy for users who get lost in the minutiae of daily bookkeeping.
QuickBooks users now get a free Web site for one year, after which Intuit changes $4.99 a month. While many Web-hosting services offer free starter sites, Intuit does make the process very easy, and no coding skills are required. The company's Homestead subsidiary provides dozens of design templates, which you can customize by changing colors and backgrounds, adding your own images (like company logos), and so on. The finished product isn't anything fancy--it's mostly a marketing site--but its appearance is professional.
Premier now supports most of the world's currencies, a boon for small businesses that need to send invoices, bill payments, and wire transfers internationally. And the Client Data Review feature in the Accountant Edition makes it easier for bookkeepers to find and fix their clients' errors.
Service and support
We have mixed feelings about Live Community, introduced with QuickBooks 2008, which makes it easier to get technical support from fellow users rather than Intuit. The Live Community window is positioned on the right side of the screen, with a context-sensitive list of discussion topics. For instance, if you're working on the home page, one topic may be "Moving QuickBooks from one computer to another." Switch to Company Snapshot, and new topics appear, including "Open purchase orders." Can't find the information you need? Type in your own query and click Ask My Question.
But will anybody respond? Two of our questions on online banking were never answered, but another query on the QuickBooks Learning Center tutorials got a response within a few hours. Intuit sends status e-mails to let you know whether someone has responded to your query. Live Community is nice, but we felt in part as if Intuit is merely dumping technical support--at least the free variety--off on QuickBooks users.
We're disappointed that Intuit no longer offers 30 days of free setup support. Given Premier's steep price and vast array of features, this seems like a short-sighted move to cut costs. Self-support is available via Live Community and at Intuit's support site, but you'll have to pay dearly to interact with a human being. The monthly plan, for instance, costs $79 for the first month, and $39 per month thereafter.