This article was originally written for the Business First publication.

So, you walk into a big box office supply store (OK, Staples) and there you see it.  That piece of technology you’ve been eyeing for months.  Sleek, powerful, wrapped in eye-catching packaging, you just know it’s going to make your life easier, increase your productivity by 69% or whatever.  And look, they’re on half-price sale today.  Snatching up one for yourself and another for your friend, you head off to the checkout.  You’re not really sure what it can do, but you’ve just purchased Simply Accounting.

For quite a few business owners, this is roughly where their relationship with their accounting software ends.  I’d love to know how many shrink-wrapped copies of Simply Accounting and QuickBooks languish at the bottom of desk drawers.  You know those advertisements you see sometimes in magazines?  The one where a smiling business owner assures you that she just paid her bills, finished her employee payroll, and paid her sales taxes, all while sitting at the end of her dock at the cottage in Muskoka?  I don’t want to come across as negative, but this is hardly realistic.  Sure, it’s possible, but I think it creates a bit of an unrealistic image about how a new piece of software will change your bookkeeping.

I’d like to spend a few minutes outlining what Simply Accounting can do.  I actually love Simply Accounting.  I also like QuickBooks, but Simply Accounting and I go back a ways.

First, it will help you create professional looking sales invoices.  Even without customizing a thing, Simply Accounting will still spit out a decent looking sales invoice.  You can personalize it quite quickly, by inserting your logo, maybe increasing the font size, or adding a touch of color.  You can easily email invoices directly from inside Simply Accounting.  Do you ever find yourself wondering if someone has paid their invoice?  Simply Accounting is also good at tracking receivables.

On the flip side, you’ll also want help with knowing what your expenses look like.  You’ll enter all your purchase invoices and receipts into Simply Accounting, and you can see at a glance where your money is going.  Once you have some history built up, you can compare your current period with a previous period.  For example, maybe you want to know what your expenses look like this month compared to the same time last year – with a system like Simply Accounting you can pull up this report in a few seconds.

Simply Accounting has a powerful payroll system built into it.  If you’ve ever spent any amount of time calculating payroll remittances manually, you’d probably appreciate their payroll reports.  And there’s a lot more……bank reconciliations, project tracking, GST/HST reporting, etc.

I’ve seen quite a few Simply Accounting files, and I’ve had the pleasure of helping set up a number of them.  I can’t stress enough the important of getting the file set up correctly.  I’m convinced that the biggest reason people lose interest is that the file doesn’t get set up right.  If you are a bit uncertain how to proceed, do yourself a favour and get qualified help with setting it up.

Simply Accounting works, and it can work very well.  But don’t kid yourself, it’s not going to do it for you, and you’re probably not going to be preparing your next HST return from the end of your dock.

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Sage Simply Accounting says it’s time for a new name.  Effective October 2012, Simply  Accounting in Canada will be known as Sage 50.  If you want to know why the name change, it’s something about positioning themselves as a stronger brand in a global marketplace, so that they can provide superior customer experiences…….. as far as I can understand it.

The good news is, your older Simply Accounting software will still work fine.  And for now, they aren’t changing their pricing.  Actually, for now nothing is really changing, except the name.

As you may have guessed, you can work your way up the accounting software chain, and purchase Sage 100, Sage 300 and even Sage 500.  I’m going to have to start remembering to say Sage 50 instead of Simply Accounting…….. unless I’m talking to one of my clients who still uses an older version of Simply Accounting.  Since I have clients that still prefer to use some really old versions of Simply, I can see that being a bit confusing for the next few years!

You can read more about how Sage Simply Accounting plans to provide you with a superior customer experience by going here:


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Simply Accounting 2010

October 19th, 2009

Simply Accounting 2010 is out.  I’ve been using it for a week or two now, and have formed some impressions.

Really, not much has changed from Simply Accounting 2009.  As  promised, data files do open a bit faster.  That’s sure nice.

They changed the Purchases and Sales screen, giving them a whole new look and  feel.  It’s supposed to be faster to enter data into the screens, but so far I haven’t  noticed that I get much more done!  One interesting touch is a new “Print and Post” button, that lets you Print and Post a sales invoice with one click.

Supposedly the process to set up a new company file has been made easier……. I haven’t done this yet so I can’t comment.

That’s pretty much it.  Not exactly a must-have upgrade.

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I’m frequently asked for my opinion as to which is the better accounting software:  Simply Accounting or QuickBooks.  This is a bit of a tough one, because both have their strong points.  I wish I could design my own, and put the best of both programs into one!  Also, one person’ s opinion about what’s best doesn’t automatically mean it’s right……

I find Simply Accounting a bit more user friendly than QuickBooks (but again, that’s just my opinion).  The reporting function in Simply is quite a bit easier to use.  The payroll feature is also a bit better to work with, and especially if you don’t care to subscribe to the annual payroll service.

QuickBook’s does a much better job of working with year end tasks.  Certain other tasks are also a bit more slick in QuickBooks, like the handling of bank deposits.

In the end, either one will serve you very well.  What tips the scales towards Simply Accounting, for me anyway, are two things.  One is that they are bit easier to use, AND secondly, the company attitude is just plain better.  Sage Software, the owner of Simply Accounting, strikes me as just plain friendlier all around.  And in today’s world, that means a lot to me.

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