For the most part, Quickbooks is an effective small business application. I have worked with Quickbooks Pro Desktop (Mac and PC) and the 2005, 2006, 2007 versions. I have used the Quickbooks online version which is like Skipper to Quickbooks’ Desktop Barbie. Quickbooks Simple Start version, which retails for $99.95 and it is absolutely useless. To take the doll analogy further, this version is like the “Midge” of the Quickbooks family of accounting software. I realized this recently when two of my clients erroneously bought the Simple Start version thinking it was easy and cheaper than Quickbooks Pro. However it did not provide the functionality they needed and it was a waste of time and money which is something an entrepreneur cannot afford.
Yes, it’s cheaper but it very little functionality. Also there is a FREE version of the Simple Start that is almost identical except that it has a limit on the number of vendors and contacts you can add. Look at the comparison. I am a little peeved that Quickbooks would put out a $100 version of a free service which adds very little except support and unlimited contacts. Anyway, if you are a business, don’t use Simple Start. It is useless.
I recommend getting the Quickbooks Pro which facilitates getting banking, credit card and Paypal data uploaded into Quickbooks. Math is not hard, but I also recommend getting someone who knows basic accounting to get you set-up so that you start off with your best feet or (on your tippy toes like Barbie) forward.