Quickbooks Simple Start 2020 is Intuit’s entry-level bookkeeping software aimed at those with little financial expertise who just need a way to manage cash flow, produce estimates or invoices, and create tax reports.
The software is suitable for both cash-based businesses and those who invoice customers.
It has VAT support, but it can only file VAT returns on a cash basis and can only use a single currency, although this is unlikely to be a problem for most small businesses in the UK.
A three-step wizard sets up the basic company details.
A sample company file is included that is useful for getting to know how the program works, and there’s a selection of excellent interactive tutorial videos.
Data can’t be imported from other programs or spreadsheets, so this program is suitable only if you’re starting fresh and not switching from a rival program.
The home screen is a graphic with icons and connecting arrows showing the flow of money in and out of the business.
In other places the interface looks quite daunting and old-fashioned, but is generally quite logical, with navigation buttons to help users keep track.
Clicking an icon brings up sub-menus with associated tasks,
Does QuickBooks have all the relevant Financial modules?
such as creating new sales receipts or receiving payments for invoices.
A more taxing problem, especially if you have less than perfect eyesight, is that text was quite small when viewed on a 22in screen with a resolution of 1,920×1,080 pixels and cannot be made larger.
Adding new customers or products is straightforward, as is the process of invoicing and receiving payments. Standard reports allow users to immediately see the financial state of the business, and there are accountant reports for end-of-year tax purposes.
There are lots of customisable print templates included, although we had to adjust and align the output settings for our printer, which was a bit fiddly.
Invoices and statements can also be made into PDFs and emailed via the user’s default email software.
As well as the main Home screen, tasks are listed in a pane at the left, and below this is a list of related tasks that changes according to which section is open in the main window.
Help links are always shown, and there’s a Live Community help box which is a kind of mini-forum where other users can be asked for advice.
Despite its sometimes daunting interface, Quickbooks Simple Start 2020 is a capable application.
Extra features such as payroll or credit card processing can be added as your business expands, but dummy buttons leading to an ‘upgrade now’ screen are just annoying.
However, this program still has almost everything a micro-business needs to keep customers, accountants, and the tax man happy.