Managing Professional Services - Page 2

By Patricia Fusco
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Managing Professional Services
For professional services that focus more on billable hours rather than inventoried goods and costs of materials, there are several editions of QuickBooks Professional Services 2004. New features include the ability to set up flexible billing rates on a per client basis and alerts for outstanding times and expenses while creating new invoices.

Advanced Chemical Safety is an international health, safety and environmental protection consultancy based in San Diego. The company works with industrial firms to help prevent accidents, injuries, illnesses and environmental contamination.

Dr. Neal Langerman, Advanced Chemical Safety founder, said his staff is experienced in the safe and effective handling of hazardous materials within the confines of environmental regulations. But when it comes running the business' financials, QuickBooks Pro is the tool he uses to track project costs and control expenses.

"QuickBooks allows me to see where and when large jobs may affect my quarterly taxes," Langerman said. "This allowed me to reduce the amount I paid at one time by $25 thousand dollars."

Advanced Chemical Safety also makes use of the "not to exceed" feature built into QuickBooks Professional Services. Langerman said the feature is critical to efficient project management.

"We need to know if we're on target with every single project so we can keep our clients up to date with our progress," Langerman said. "The closer we get to a 'do not exceed' limit, the more we need to manage our costs and our clients' expectations."

For accountants, QuickBooks Premier Accountant Edition 2004 and QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions - Accountant Edition offer new and improved fixed asset and loan management functions, as well as adjusted trial balance and reconciliation-discrepancy reporting.

Steve Sabba, TaxPro Financial Network president, won't do business with a small business unless it uses QuickBooks.

"Some might find this strange," Saba said. "That I demand all my clients us QuickBooks. For me, it's all about productivity. I can handle more clients because I know that the quality of their data is good with QuickBooks."

Intuit gives professional accountants 15 percent off from retail pricing for clients that buy QuickBooks. Sabba said the discount is just something he passes along to his clients, not a way for cashing in on QuickBooks popularity.

"I'm not running a retail software outlet," Sabba said. "I'm an accountant that happens to believe QuickBooks offers one of the best business management systems out there."

Happy Returns
As you can see, one-size-fits all accounting software is a thing of the past — at least at Intuit. Scott Cook said that back in 1992 there were a lot of accounting programs available to small businesses. So what's made QuickBooks the financial management darling of the small business crowd?

"Accounting is one of the oldest software categories around. It's also the software category that suffers from being most frequently returned. This is because the software industry thought the software should be about accounting, not the business, Cook said. "QuickBooks isn't about credits, debits and journal entries. It's about writing checks, processing payroll, and keeping track of sales and inventory. QuickBooks provides small business owners with what they want to know, not try to teach them something they don't need to learn."

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This article was originally published on November 13, 2003
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