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What Is QuickBooks?

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Made by Intuit, QuickBooks is a line of financial software designed to help small business owners stay organized.

Small businesses can use QuickBooks Pro or QuickBooks Premier as a data hub for storing their vital details, including customer information, inventory specifics and income and expense reports.

Among the software's many features are options for creating customized invoices with company logos, tracking sales and expenses and managing customer, vendor and employee data. It also offers opportunities for managing bills and online banking. [Trying to choose an accounting software for your business? Check out our reviews of the best accounting software here.]

QuickBooks' detailed calendar also tracks all appointments, to-do items and important business tasks, such as invoice and bill due dates.

In addition, the software can instantly generate more than 100 different reports that allow small business owners to see year-over-year income and expense trends, along with details on things like top customers.

The software is updated each year. The 2012 edition offers three new features, including a lead center to track prospective customers, a document center to manage things such as contracts, proposals and receipts, and an inventory center to help centralize a business' inventory tasks and reports. It also offers options for creating timesheets for multiple employees at one time, as well as billing multiple customers at one time.

QuickBooks Pro currently retails for $229.95. The Premier version, which includes more than 150 sales, financial and tax reports, as well as customizable tools for tracking inventory, creating purchase orders, setting pricing levels and forecasting of future sales, expenses, and growth opportunities is sold for  $399.95.

Other products in the QuickBooks line include specialized software for payroll solutions and merchant services, as well as QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions for more extensive inventory tracking and QuickBooks Accounting, a financial reporting system specifically for accounting professionals.

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance business and technology writer who has worked in public relations and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter. You can reach him at chadgbrooks@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @cbrooks76.

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