Software Review: Quickbooks Premiere Edition 2003: Accounting The Easy Way

By Jayne A. Hitchcock

Having used an older version, Quickbooks 99, I felt it was time to break down and upgrade to the newest version, QuickBooks Premier Edition 2003. I didn't want to switch to a different accounting program altogether, even though it may have cost me less, because I liked the easy to understand style of Quickbooks 99, the helpful tips, and layman's language. My tax accountant loves the reports, too. I am not a mathematical genius by any means, so any help I can get in that arena helps a great deal. Quickbooks 99 was perfect for me, mainly because my husband and I are self-employed and have a lot of expenses. We needed a small business accounting program that I could understand and use without tearing my hair out.

QuickBooks Premier Edition 2003 installs as easily as just about any software program these days, with no need to restart your computer. Registration can be done online or via telephone; if you don't register right away, you get friendly reminders. You can use QuickBooks 20 times before registration; after that, you have to register or you're out of luck.

The main startup screen has a similar setup to QuickBooks 99 via frames (like a web page); a toolbar menu at the top with pulldown selections and a Ashorthand@ version just below it with the following selections (this is the toolbar I tend to use the most):

The main window is called the Company Navigator and offers several choices with graphics/text: There are other Navigators to choose from in a pull-down menu:
Customers, Vendors, Employees, Banking, Services. Like the Company Navigator, they have preset choices and selections, which I wish could be customized more by the user.

I found a way to stop this window from appearing when I started QuickBooks each time - in the Preferences section.

I'd imported my old QuickBooks files, which went smoothly. I began entering bills and invoices to catch up with everything for tax time (yes, I am a procrastinator). But I forgot to uncheck the box next to "To be printed" on the bills and invoices and there was no way that I could find, either in the Preferences or via Help to uncheck all of the boxes at once instead of doing what I had to do - open each bill/invoice (over 100 of them), uncheck the box, then confirm by clicking on "yes" when closing the bill/invoice QuickBooks also didn't automatically update the bills or invoices when I changed this option, so I had a hard time keeping track of which bills or invoices I'd already unchecked the box on. This wasted a lot of my time, but I learned my lesson and will make sure the "To be printed" box is unchecked from now on.

One other thing that drives me crazy (which happened in the older version as well) is that when you're done with one window (such as looking at an Item or Vendor list), unless you close out that window by clicking on the X in the upper righthand corner, the window stays open. So, you could be doing several things in the course of a session and have too many windows open. The good news is that there is an "Open Windows" box on the lefthand menu. Any windows open are listed there, but unless you look at that frequently, you tend to forget it's even there. I just wish there was an option so that when you open a new window, the other closes automatically.

Now that I've gotten my gripes out of the way, I do like the new look and ease of QuickBooks 2003 Premier. Being able to go to the QuickBooks web site in the program, instead of opening a separate web browser is very nice. QuickBooks can also be set up so that each time you open the program or go online, it automatically checks for any updates, then installs them without bothering you. As in other versions, you can easily setup an online banking account to pay bills or do your banking online, as well as doing credit checks of customers online (some of these do charge extra fees for their services, so check them out before signing up). It seems that this version of QuickBooks is more "connected" than other versions, offering a variety of online options and services. Plus, there are a lot of new functions that weren't available in previous versions, including:

QuickBooks Premier Edition 2003
Retail $499
Upgrade $379

Other versions of QuickBooks begin at $199.95 for QuickBooks Basic (upgrade $99.95).

(If you are interested in a personal accounting program, try Quicken ( for $69.95) System requirements:
Recommended - At least an IBM Compatible 350 MHz Pentium II with 96 MB of RAM

Multi user (2 5 simultaneous users) optimized for Windows 98/Me/NT4.0/2000/XP (peer to peer network), Windows NT 4.0/2000/XP server or Novell NetWare network.

J.A. Hitchcock is a regular contributor to Compute Me. Visit her web site at

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