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Pros and Cons of Peachtree

by Natasha Bush

Accounting computer programs come in all shapes and sizes. Peachtree retains the strengths of other programs while storing an impressive assortment of inventory features and reporting. This program is both well known and full of reliable characteristics, but it also has its share of cons that need to be taken into consideration--including cost, important missing features and user compatibility.

Noninventory

The accounting features of Peachtree allows users to set up noninventory parts and service items, such as items that are bought and sold but not stocked, but has always been weak on the reporting side. The accounting parts work fine, as do the financial reports, but when sorting how much of a noninventory or service item you sold there are some serious drawbacks. Items that are not on hand do not have information available. More recent updates have added a report to show what items are sold by customer but not by item. This is a major drawback to such a highly sought-after product as Peachtree.

New Users

Although Peachtree is a very powerful accounting system, it can be rough for new users to grasp quickly, especially those without an accounting background. It does its best to make getting started as easy as possible by offering around 75 chart templates to help make the program features understandable and ready to use. Also, Peachtree sports a strong list of tutorials that help explain functions such as entering data into fields. Unfortunately, other features, such as raising budgets and analyzing labor expenses, are made overly complex and can stall many businesses in their tracks.

Manufacturers, Retail and Services

Companies that manufacture their own goods will find Peachtree's features strong. Peachtree Premium offers a very handy consolidation feature for businesses that are operating multiple companies under a single umbrella. Tracking assemblies, accepting partial shipments and handling drop shipments all come standard. Peachtree also enables you to define preferred vendors, create master items and assign related substock items. On the downside, retail and service businesses are nowhere near quite as pampered. Peachtree offers intuitive, powerful payroll features such as accounting for salaried, hourly, and tipped employees; distributing pay using up to 20 levels; and tracking vacation and sick time. Its major weakness is in reporting, where its choice of filters and options leave much to be desired.

Cost

The final consideration to make before purchasing Peachtree is whether the program is worth the cost. Peachtree Complete costs $300 as of 2010, but Peachtree Premium costs $500. This is more expensive than Peachtree's many competitors such as Quickbooks and too expensive for many up-and-coming businesses. Many of the additional features added from the much cheaper Peachtree First are required for optimal performance, such as the increased inventory and shipping manifests, and what is saved in cost is lost in time and effort.

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