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Latest salvo fired in battle for hearts and minds of SMEs

  • 03 April, 2007 15:30

<p>The release of QuickBooks 2007/08 marks the latest salvo fired by Quicken Australia in its battle with MYOB to win the hearts and minds of the 1.9 million small businesses in Australia.</p>
<p>"QuickBooks is the world's best-selling accounting software with over 3.5 million users worldwide and, here in Australia, one out of every three sales of accounting software is a QuickBooks sale," says Gerald Chait, the Group Marketing Manager of Quicken Australia.</p>
<p>He said that the launch of the new QuickBooks 2007/08 product offered small businesses the most comprehensive and functionally-rich version of QuickBooks ever released as well as a number of major benefits including:</p>
<p>• a new annual subscription product for SMEs – QuickBooks Accounting – which has a recommended retail price of $150</p>
<p>• a suite of tools to help QuickBooks customers run their businesses more efficiently – and the addition of a new business tool called Customer Payment Solution</p>
<p>• specific functionality to help users easily comply with the new Work Choices legislation</p>
<p>• compatibility with Microsoft Vista which ensures that small businesses can use QuickBooks 2007/08 on both their existing Windows PCs as well as on any new PCs which operate on the Vista platform</p>
<p>• a free 12 month membership to Quicken Australia’s highly-regarded Advantage Program – an offer which includes unlimited technical phone support on weekdays</p>
<p>QuickBooks range extended – QuickBooks Accounting now available in subscription</p>
<p>"According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there are 1.9 million SMEs in Australia and of these 784,000 are home based,” says Gerald Chait.</p>
<p>“QuickBooks EasyStart and QuickBooks Accounting are perfectly suited to the needs of home-based SMEs. For this reason, we are extending the QuickBooks range by offering a subscription version of QuickBooks Accounting to small businesses in Australia for the first time. A one-year subscription of this product has a recommended retail price of $150.”</p>
<p>Extending the QuickBooks range has played a major role in Quicken Australia growing its market share in recent years.</p>
<p>Initiatives undertaken by Quicken Australia - to broaden the QuickBooks offering in the Australian market - include:</p>
<p>• in 2003, it released QuickBooks Enterprise - a product designed specifically for business with more than 20 and up to 150 employees</p>
<p>• in 2004, it released QuickBooks Premier - a product that comes with industry-specific versions including editions for retailers, property managers, professional services businesses, not-for-profit organizations, manufacturers &amp; wholesalers, construction businesses and accountants</p>
<p>• in 2005, it launched QuickBooks EasyStart - designed for first-time users of accounting software. This breakthrough in simple book-keeping is for new and home-based businesses</p>
<p>Tools to help small businesses</p>
<p>"Our ongoing commitment to SMEs in Australia ensures continual improvements that enhance the QuickBooks' user experience by delivering a wide range of tools designed specifically to help them in their business," says Gerald Chait. These tools already include:</p>
<p>• Online Banking - you can download bank statements directly into QuickBooks Accounting, QuickBooks Plus, QuickBooks Pro, QuickBooks Premier and QuickBooks Enterprise. If you hold an account with any of the major banks such as ANZ, Commonwealth, NAB, Westpac and St George, and you have one of the above-mentioned QuickBooks products you can get started with online banking immediately</p>
<p>• Payment Services - is a service that is provided by Verisign. Payment Services enables you to receive payments from your customers by credit card so you get paid faster and, because the transaction is recorded immediately in QuickBooks, it reduces time spent on data entry</p>
<p>• Debt Recovery Services - you can escalate your doubtful debts from within QuickBooks simply by clicking on Refer Debt. QuickBooks customers can subscribe to this service for 12 or 24 months - and in doing so reduce administrative costs and save time that is spent on chasing doubtful debts</p>
<p>• Customer Payment Solution – is the latest addition to this range of tools and is designed provide a small business’ customers with more than one way to pay invoices. This solution is provided by Bill Express. Available to users of QuickBooks Accounting, QuickBooks Plus, QuickBooks Pro, QuickBooks Premier and QuickBooks Enterprise, Bill Express details are added to QuickBooks invoices – and these can be paid at over 3,000 newsagencies Australia-wide, or by phone or online</p>
<p>• SuperLink - takes away the headache of Super Choice compliance because this integrated solution transfers information and payments from the SME business owner to employees' super funds. Because it is integrated with QuickBooks 2007/08 you simply create your pays, export to SuperLink and then go online to process the transaction</p>
<p>Work Choices Legislation and record-keeping</p>
<p>"QuickBooks is designed to help small business owners reduce the time and effort required to comply with relevant legislation such as the new record-keeping requirements of Work Choices. Various media reports have highlighted the fact that from March 27 of this year, SME owners who have not updated their Work Choices records face the risk of large fines.</p>
<p>"This means that SME owners who employ casual, part-time and/or full-time workers will be required to ensure that records of hours worked are up to date and accurate - and especially those records of overtime hours worked. Fines - for companies whose time-keeping records are not up to date and accurate - range from $550 to $2750 for each employee.</p>
<p>"QuickBooks 2007/08 is designed to help our customers comply with the Work Choices legislation while still using salary configuration for payroll management purposes," he adds.</p>
<p>QuickBooks and Windows Vista - free upgrade offer</p>
<p>"The fourth major benefit to buyers of the new QuickBooks 2007/08 product is that it will support small businesses wishing to upgrade to Windows Vista.</p>
<p>“We know that all new personal computers sold in major retailers are going to be pre-loaded with Windows Vista. According to IDC research, 90 per cent of all PCs sold to home users will be powered by Vista - and ABS figures show 41% of all SMEs in Australia are home-based.</p>
<p>"So, what we have done with QuickBooks 2007/08, is ensure that it will run in a Vista environment. We've also advised customers who have purchased a full or upgrade version of QuickBooks 2006/07, or who are current members of the Quicken Advantage Program, that they will receive a free upgrade to QuickBooks 2007/08," he says.</p>
<p>Free membership of Quicken Advantage Program</p>
<p>"Any SME owner who buys a full version of the new-release QuickBooks 2007/08 software, or who upgrades to QuickBooks 2007/08, will receive a year's free membership to the Quicken Advantage Program,” says Gerald Chait.</p>
<p>The benefits of the Advantage Program include:</p>
<p>• unlimited technical phone support on weekdays</p>
<p>• free product upgrades to their software released during the 12 months - including tax tables</p>
<p>• priority contact phone numbers for customer service</p>
<p>• free access to a Members-only website</p>
<p>• free access to QuickChat - the online chat service</p>
<p>• members-only special offers and discounts</p>
<p>• a free, exclusive quarterly newsletter</p>
<p>"Given that annual membership of Quicken Advantage for a product such as QuickBooks Pro has a joining fee of $100 and an annual fee of $365, we think one-year's free membership is a sensational offer," says Gerald Chait.</p>
<p>Recommended retail prices for QuickBooks 2007/08</p>
<p>Of all the products in the QuickBooks range for SMEs, QuickBooks Accounting, QuickBooks Plus, QuickBooks Pro and QuickBooks Premier are available both as full versions and subscription versions.</p>
<p>QuickBooks EasyStart is in full version only while QuickBooks Enterprise is a subscription only product.</p>
<p>Product Name Target Full version Subscription</p>
<p>QuickBooks EasyStart Small business $129 N/A
QuickBooks Accounting Small business $299 $150
QuickBooks Plus Small business $579 $259
QuickBooks Pro Medium business $849 $329
QuickBooks Premier Medium business $1399 $529
QuickBooks Enterprise 20 -150 employees N/A</p>
<p>Note: QB Enterprise if a subscription only product
- $4500 first year
- $2500 per annum thereafter</p>
<p>Note: QuickBooks Premier is a three-user license and QuickBooks Enterprise is a 10-user licence</p>
<p>Accolades for QuickBooks</p>
<p>QuickBooks has also won numerous accolades and awards in recent years in its head-to-head comparisons with MYOB, including:</p>
<p>• In January 2007, PC User Magazine named QuickBooks as “Best-Value Small Business Accounting Software”</p>
<p>• In August 2006, the QuickBooks range was named Top Buy by PC User Magazine
• In 2005, QuickBooks Premier was rated as the “Swiss Army Knife of small business accounting software” by In The Black Magazine (formerly CPA Magazine, one of the industry bibles for Chartered Accountants)</p>
<p>• In 2004, QuickBooks Pro was named winner of the Best Small Business Accounting package in Australian PC User’s Top 100 Products review</p>
<p>• In 2003, Australian Personal Computer Magazine reviewed QuickBooks Pro and said: The budgeting feature is the best we’ve ever seen in small business accounting software”</p>
<p>• In 2002, Australian Personal Computer Magazine reviewed QuickBooks Plus and had this to say: “QuickBooks data entry is the fastest we've seen in any accounting package... QuickBooks Plus is clearly a step ahead."</p>
<p>Media queries or request for software for review purposes should be directed to:</p>
<p>John Kingsley-Jones
PR &amp; OEM Manager
Quicken Australia</p>
<p>Ph: (02) 9577-5422 or 0417 291 765</p>

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