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QuickBooks Pro 2012 review


Modest improvements, but the monthly payment option is pricey for smaller businesses

Review Date: 2 Nov 2011

Reviewed By: Tom Gorham

Price when reviewed: £162 (£194 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
4 stars out of 6

Value for Money
3 stars out of 6

Ease of Use
4 stars out of 6

It’s hard for any annual upgrade to produce fireworks, especially when it’s the sort of sober accounting application relied on by thousands of small businesses. True to form, this new version of QuickBooks doesn’t offer earth-shattering changes. But its modest improvements should make your business easier to run.

QuickBooks Pro is the middle option of Intuit’s range of business applications, which includes the budget Simple Start and enterprise-level Premier. This release concentrates on usability adjustments rather than powerful new functions, for example the new Express Start option to set beginners up after answering basic questions.

While that may appeal only to a niche of the program’s target market, there will be broader appeal for a new Calendar view that displays posted transactions by date alongside to-do items. Click on a day in the calendar and transactions are listed below, from where you can drill down to the transaction details. We found it a useful way of checking whether we’d remembered to post a transaction.

QuickBooks Pro 2012

Similarly, a new Collections Centre, which lists overdue and almost due invoices organised by customer, makes it easier to issue reminders: just select a customer and a reminder email can be generated at the click of a button. Snapshot views – at-a-glance information about business performance – have become more useful business tools, with the Customer snapshot now showing details such as how quickly a customer pays.

The standout new feature, however, is Excel integration. QuickBooks has long been able to export reports to Excel, but now you can make changes to an exported worksheet, whether to adjust formatting or add formulae, and when you later update the report, you can apply it to the same worksheet, with the formatting and formulae you applied still respected.

An easier option is to use the QuickBooks Excel plugin, added on install. This allows you to enter new report dates in a dialog box directly from Excel, and on those dates the report will run automatically and be reimported. Handily, the original export is retained as an underlying worksheet. There are limitations – it will break if your report no longer includes the line referenced in the worksheet formula – but overall this will be a huge timesaver to those who generate regular reports.

QuickBooks Pro 2012

Other timesavers include a new batch timesheet feature and – probably most useful to accountants – the ability to create one invoice that can be sent to multiple customers for a single service.

One disappointment is the way you still need Excel or the clunky Intuit Interchange Format to get information out of the program. That’s exacerbated by the fact that there’s no way to get your data from here into QuickBooks Online, Intuit’s modest web-based accounting offering. Granted, the features of the two programs differ, but given the move towards cloud-based accounting applications, we’re surprised Intuit hasn’t made more effort to make the program more accessible away from the desktop.

QuickBooks Pro is a good program, and a decent upgrade if you’ve skipped the last couple of versions. But compared to online alternatives such as Xero or FreeAgent, it’s pricey if you don’t need all its features – especially as support beyond 30 days isn’t included in the standard price. Unless its improved reporting options are fundamental to your business, this edition can be safely skipped for users of 2010.

Author: Tom Gorham

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User comments


Given that the cheaper alternatives are £20 and £25 per month respectively, I struggle to see how this can be considered expensive. Only the smallest businesses will save with the on-line options.

By tirons1 on 2 Nov 2011

With support, QuickBooks Pro is £32 plus VAT a month for a single user. That's why I felt it was pricey.

By tom_gorham on 2 Nov 2011

Quickbooks Alternative

If you are a small business or contractor you would be better of using PC Pro A list recommended FreeAgent which cost less and will more than satisfy your accounting needs. For a 30 day free trial and a 10% discount use this link

By Koubs on 2 Nov 2011

QB update

I feel the limited range of improvements underscores my view that it is a way of forcing people to pay again as support for the older versions will be dropped. I have used QB since Jan 1997 and only Pro-2006 was a real change, offering multi-currency and some other very useful changes. I updated to 2010 as they stopped support to 2006 and the upgrade provided problems with some of the data so, even now, some of my A/P info looks odd.
If you have not gone for 2006 or 2010 then maybe give it a shot but otherwise stick, if it works. Also consider using a local QB advisor instead of their support. The local advisor tends to understand the problem better, can use QB support free if needed and seems to be cheaper than the pay-monthly support.

By Zippy204 on 3 Nov 2011

See also Solar Accounts

Another review here

By knottedhandkerchief on 20 Mar 2012

poorest customer service ever

The Service reps are hard to understand, so one has to wonder if they really even understand what you are saying to them? - I asked a rep about a feature we were looking for, and having QuickBooks Pro 2011, she assured me that the feature was available in QB Pro 2012 - and that I could upgrade for the special price she could authorize for me (it wasn't any special price - and when I told her I found a cheaper upgrade price on the QB website, she said I could have it for that price) - that should have been my first red flag - but did I pay attention? - NO - I upgraded - could not get the server to run, had to call QB support, and within 45 minutes, Support figured out the problem - BUT - that's just the start - since March 14, I have spent a total of 6 hours on the phone with support, was told I would get call backs, and, thankfully my life is not depending on this, because I am still waiting for the call backs!!! - the last call back was supposed to happen Friday, April 23 between 1 - 3 PM, today is Monday April 23, 4:30PM, and I'M STILL WAITING!!!

By ljt604 on 23 Apr 2012

"old" quicken files

I've upgraded to Wiindows 7. Will I be able to import my old files?

By OldSeagull on 22 Dec 2013

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