If you run your own business then you’ll need to be accountable for keeping track of the accounts. SimpleStart is basically a stripped down version of the far more expensive and professionally aimed Premier and Pro tools. This is no bad thing, as Intuit has, as the name of the software suggests, aimed the software at the small-time business user who won’t have to worry about dealing with payroll or stock control as these features are only found in the full blown version.

What you will find is an easy to get to grips with interface and a wizard based input system that allows you to start inputting your accounts a lot quicker than the quoted 30 minutes to software claims. One section that will be of benefit is the new enhanced Help section. This has been overhauled and actually helps the first-time user to get to grips with how you should be looking after your accounts as well as how to get the most from the software.

The interface hasn’t really changed, and is still broken down in to three logical sections: Money in, Your Business and Money Out. Within each section you’ll find the most relevant options. For instance, your find invoicing and estimates within the Money in section. When you hover your mouse over each section, you’ll find more examples.

New features tend to revolve around online activity, such as being able to email invoices and estimates, either as a document or even a PDF, to clients. What’s more, there are now plug-ins that allow you to link with Google Marketing and other business directories.

Naturally, when it comes to putting together invoices and reports, there are a host of templates to choose from. On a basic level most people will be happy with these but there is also support for changing formats and generating your own, which adds a level of professionalism to your business. This latest version has support for VAT, so as your company grows you’ll be able to keep track of what is owed to the Government.

The Profit and Loss icon is perhaps the one most people will need to keep an eye on as it can make the difference between success and disaster. It’s simple and lacks things such as cash flow analysis but at least you can keep an eye on how stable your business is.

Price when reviewed:

At a basic level, Intuit QuickBooks SimpleStart 2008 is a solid software package that allows you to deal with key areas of business, from invoices to bank dealings.

If you own and use the 2007 version there is very little here to tempt you to upgrade. However, if you’re new to accounting, or own an earlier version, it’s worth the cost of owning.