Intuit shared details of bookkeeping app QuickBooks 2009 on Monday. With this release, the company aims to broaden the focus beyond the ledger book, providing a management center for small businesses that includes expanded online banking, support for transactions in more than 100 currencies, and 12 months of free Web hosting.
The applications are set to arrive in stores October 8.
The 2009 release targets businesses that do work globally, whether that means say, shipping vintage Disney toys to eBay buyers in Japan or employing basket weavers in Uganda. At least 30 percent of QuickBooks users handle international transactions, according to Intuit.
Multi-currency support enables invoices, bill payments, and wire transfers in most of the world's currencies, with online updates and historical tracking of exchange rates. Wire transfers can be made in 100 currencies through QuickBooks Merchant Service, while the other features support 158 currencies. Users can add custom currencies, such as Ithaca Hours in upstate New York or Linden dollars for Second Life.
Intuit is also offering users a free Web site for 12 months at an Intuit domain name. Drag-and-drop page designs come from Homestead, a 2007 acquisition. Once the free period expires, monthly hosting costs are $4.99.
QuickBooks offers banking center capabilities, so users won't need to hop to banks' separate Web sites to check on the status of accounts.
Intuit says its Live Community peer-to-peer tech support, with 2.6 million users since its introduction in 2007, increasingly is being used for general business advice. The context-sensitive question-and-answer interface is docked along the right edge of the QuickBooks interface.
The built-in QuickBooks Messenger enables users of multi-user editions of the applications to chat with each other while logged in.
A new Company Insights view provides quick access to balances, money owed, reminders, and reports.
Expanded tools for accountants include Client Data Review to scan for client errors.
For $99, QuickBooks Simple Start Edition targets users with the most basic bookkeeping needs. The full-featured Pro Edition costs $100 more for one user, or a total of $379 for two people and $549 for three people. QuickBooks Premier, which offers industry-specific flavors, costs $399, or $749 for a pair of users and $1,099 for three-person access.