QuickBooks Pro 2000 Packs E-Comm Enhancements

Catching up to Peachtree Accounting, Intuit's QuickBooks Pro 2000 offers small businesses welcome new e-commerce capabilities (with monthly fees), such as a Web Site Builder and a Merchant Account Service to authorize and settle credit card payments. But that's the only area of significant improvement in this updated version of the veteran program.

QuickBooks Pro 2000, which we tested in beta form, does make it easier for sales reps to track contacts, thanks to its new capability to synchronize customer information with Microsoft's Outlook and Symantec's Act. But other changes, such as the reorganizing of information in company and customer centers, are largely cosmetic and add no accounting capabilities. Intuit also made nearly 20 more minor enhancements in the business bookkeeper.

The US$219 multiuser-capable QuickBooks Pro includes all the bells and whistles, while the $119 single-user QuickBooks omits a few of the bells, such as time tracking, job costing, and integration with apps like Outlook, Act and Excel. Most businesses will be better served with the Pro version.

If Intuit continues to rest on its laurels, its dominant QuickBooks may lose ground to more capable competitors. One such candidate is MYOB Accounting Plus, with its multicurrency pricing capability and its ready matrix of pricing for goods that vary in cost based on quantity sold.

QuickBooks users who want to sell on the Web should get QuickBooks Pro 2000 (there's a $70 upgrade rebate). Others can skip this offering and let Intuit work harder for their business next time.

QuickBooks Pro 2000

PRO: Provides small-business path to start selling on the Web.

CON: Redesign camouflages lack of substantive improvements.

VALUE: Worthwhile if you need the e-commerce enhancements; otherwise, save your dough.

List price: QuickBooks Pro 2000 (multiple users) $219; QuickBooks 2000 (single user) $119Intuit+1-800-446-8848http://www.quickbooks.com

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