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Daphne Back Road Bears
Laconia, NH USA
Posts: 6,568
Website

I've been using a combination of all the various programs Microsoft Office comes with to keep track of my business..... and I'll admit I'm not too profecient at merging info, keeping records up to date, etc. especially when it's all in 20 different places.

Is there an easier way??? One software program that does it all? I know there are, actually but what do you all recommend? I need to track sales, inventory, expenses, mailing lists, show registrations... the list goes on and on. Have you heard of Filemaker? Is it any good? What about Quicken or similar.... hubs says you can get those with all sorts of business software.

The key here is that it be fairly easy to operate or I won't keep everything up to date.... I hate all this administrative stuff as it is!

Help!!!  :pray:

Tami E Tami Eveslage Original Teddy Bears
Milford Ohio
Posts: 2,367

I need this too!

bearlykidzbears Bearly Kidz Bears
Lodi, Ca.
Posts: 166

me too and a lesson on how to use it :crackup:
Denise

rkr4cds Creative Design Studio (RKR4CDS)
suburban Chicago
Posts: 2,044

Fpr those on a Mac there's an excellent small Business program called TinyBooks. It can be used to track income/expenditures for anything: family, club, business, etc.

I LV mine!

http://www.winograd.com/

Ken Winograd is extremely easy to work with  he developed the software.

If nothing else you can all play Brickles for Free!!

Daphne Back Road Bears
Laconia, NH USA
Posts: 6,568
Website

Sounds like a great program for MAC users, Bobbie!

I need a Windows based program for a PC.  bear_sad

FenBeary Folk FenBeary Folk
Pointon Fen, Lincolnshire, UK
Posts: 2,234

Hi Daphne, I am not sure exactly what you want, I think you are after a 1 program that holds everything, I'm not sure if one exists but I can tell you that Quicken is not so hot from an Accountants point of view, unless you have the professional (more expensive) editions, we have several clients who use the basic version and the reporting part of it does not seem adequate. Also their seems to be a problem with the vat (unless they have corrected it), it will not lock the vat returns, so for example if you have an item that should have been in a previous return that is where it will put it, not in your current return, if you lock the months, therefore saving the vat, then this means that anything prior will have to be dated later-adjusting your reciept or invoice. All a bit messy. For book-keeping I would recommend Sage Instant (the basic package) It will hold all your customer addresses, deal with vat correctly etc, but if you require an invoicing facility you may need a more expensive version, hope all this helps :hug:

Daphne Back Road Bears
Laconia, NH USA
Posts: 6,568
Website

Thank you for the advice, Sue and the heads up on Quicken.

I guess if I had to choose between accounting software and one that will track customers, orders, mailing lists, etc. that I'd rather have the latter. I do have a money management program, I just don't use it.  bear_tongue  and again, if I could find one that did everything I'd be in heaven!

Someone has suggested QuickBooks to me and the program looks like it would work well for me but I've yet to see where it says it'll print mailing list labels for me from the list of customers it will track. I do not want to enter names and addresses into two different programs. I hate repetition and have a huge mailing list due in part to the shows I promote.

I suppose perhaps I'm asking for something that doesn't exist. I'm still considering Filemaker also. I was hoping someone might have had experience with it.

FenBeary Folk FenBeary Folk
Pointon Fen, Lincolnshire, UK
Posts: 2,234

Hi Daphne, QuickBooks is made by Quicken and has the same problems. It sounds to me as though you may need Sage Line 50 (single user, single company), It has your book keeping, vat, profit and loss etc I also think that it will print your customers names and addresses onto sticky labels -I think. It has a facility to use templates to compile letters as well - please check all this. The stock facility is reasonable as its designed for medium sized companies who manufacture so you can set up a stock code for a bear and add all its componants to make the whole, a word of caution if the parts are not on stock (not been entered) and it goes into negative stock it will use the selling price of the item to enter into the P&L, therefore messing figures up. The big down side is the price Sage Instant (mentioned earlier but has none of the extras) is about £100, Sage Line 50 last time I looked was about £1500. I have to say thats a lot of bear pennies.
I would also recommend having a word with your accountant, its amazing how many of our clients never ask and then end up paying us more as we have to do extra work to correct and adjust the books.
I hope this extra bit helps :hug:

Daphne Back Road Bears
Laconia, NH USA
Posts: 6,568
Website

Sue, upon looking into Sage it seems its a program designed for UK/SA users.... the references to VAT made me think this at first.... we don't have VAT here in the states. I'm afraid I don't know what it is but guess it's your form of taxes. If I'm going to use a program that is primarily for accounting and it's going to refer to government financial reporting forms I'd want US forms and reports that would help me in preparing documents for such. It does seem to have a majority of features that could be used in any country however. But I don't even find it for sale in the US.

I'd still really like something that will handle customers/vendors/mailing lists..... my husband has Access on his computer.... not an accounting program but might help with all the other things I want to do, reports I want to be able to generate, etc.

Seems that no matter what I do, I'm going to have to use more than one program.   ***sigh***

wazzabears Wazza Bears Australia
Bulli
Posts: 623

what about Myob. Its a excellant account keeping system. it hold all the info you want to put in it.

FenBeary Folk FenBeary Folk
Pointon Fen, Lincolnshire, UK
Posts: 2,234

Hi Daphne, sorry didn't realise the US has no vat, most of us across europe have to endure it bear_wacko
I have heard of MYOB (mind your own business) but never seen it, it is Australian :hug:

wazzabears Wazza Bears Australia
Bulli
Posts: 623

if you go to the website it will ask which country you want. its the most popular one here in australia

Bonnie Mountain Dreamer Bears
wooly woods of Missouri, USA
Posts: 1,538

HI Daphne,

Have you checked into Peachtree?
I have used it in the past and it seemed to do everything I wanted and more. I liked it much better than Quicken from a business point of view. It is for the USA, but is made by Sage, I'm not sure if this is the same company Sue was talking about but it is a good program that has been around for quite a while. With it you can integrate Windows Office and Excel files if you want to. They also have a variety of levels to choose from...  Startup, Pro, Premium etc.
Here is the link if you'd like to check it out:
http://www.peachtree.com/

PS: They have a free trial version you can try! bear_thumb

Lauren Posts: 1

Daphne,

Microsoft came out with Microsoft® Office Accounting Express 2007 this year.  You can download a free trial version here http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/accou … 81033.aspx.  I have no personal experience with it, but have heard great things about it.  It is worth the free download just to see if it will meet your needs.  It stands to reason that it would easily interface with the other Microsoft products you currently use on your computer, and it probably would have some functionality of printing your customer base to address labels.  Also, if you are familiar with their other programs, you maybe could get the "feel" for this one more quickly than something totally new.  I hope this helps.

-Lauren

FenBeary Folk FenBeary Folk
Pointon Fen, Lincolnshire, UK
Posts: 2,234

Hi Bonnie it is the same, I guess they must have called it something different over there. I do know that Sage has been buying all the competition and is the biggest accounting software company in the world. We at work use TAS which was a small UK company, they are slowly changing it to look like Sage, it still has an advantage -PRICE, its still alot cheaper :hug:

Daphne Back Road Bears
Laconia, NH USA
Posts: 6,568
Website

OK, Ladies.... I now have 3 different programs on my computer as Free Trials!!! I'm going to be so confussed!!!!

FileMaker - which is more for tracking customers/mailing lists/orders/inventory

QuickBooks - because I've had a couple of bear business people recommend it highly and I am familiar with Quicken products

Peachtree - I recall using this years ago at a job I had and found it quite user friendly. I'd forgotten all about it!

I looked at MYOB and read up on it..... I think I'll put that Free Trial on my laptop and test it out too. It had great reviews and it's AFFORDABLE!!! Only down fall with it, as with File Maker is that I can't import my bank account history.

So I do need to decide on what I want most out of the software.

Thanks for all the great suggestions! I'm open to more!

FenBeary Folk FenBeary Folk
Pointon Fen, Lincolnshire, UK
Posts: 2,234

Hi Daphne, do let us know how you get on with the trials please, its always great to add to ones knowledge and there is no better way than giving it a go yourself :clap:

Laura Lynn Teddies by Laura Lynn
Lexington, KY
Posts: 3,647
Website

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Ya know... I never thought I needed anything else besides Excel... but your post got me thinking I could be more organized... and yep, those collector mailing lists!

Searched on google for "craft business software" and came up with this. 

http://www.jaminmark.com/acbo/

It looks very interesting to me.  Don't know if it's any good..... but I may try it out....

Laura Lynn Teddies by Laura Lynn
Lexington, KY
Posts: 3,647
Website

Laura Lynn Banner Sponsor

I've been checking out that software... there's a feature on there I really like!  You can filter and sort your collector mailing list by State if you want!!!  The cost of this software is $50.

Laura Lynn Teddies by Laura Lynn
Lexington, KY
Posts: 3,647
Website

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I decided to go ahead and buy it.  So far, I'm really liking it!  I'll like it more after I have everything from the year inputted... that will take a while as I'm getting ready for the next show (Schaumburg)

One thing it does not offer yet is the ability to print out your mailing list on labels.  He's working on that and will hopefully be in the Spring '08 upgrade (no charge to current owners)

The person who created this software created it with File Maker.

I'll print out some "how to's" with photos as I get a chance.  Not much time to do that... but I'll fit it in here and there.  Once you get the hang of this - it seems awesome!

Hugz,
Laura

EDITED to add:  He said he's CONSIDERING adding it in the spring....

Daphne Back Road Bears
Laconia, NH USA
Posts: 6,568
Website

Why can't these programs incorporate a "print mailing list' feature? Why is that so bloody hard????  bear_angry

Oh well, it just means I buy another toy.... a label printer with it's own software that imports from Excel and prints mighty fast.... it'll even print just one label ... no fussing with whole sheets of labels and fussing with formatting, etc. I love toys!!!

FenBeary Folk FenBeary Folk
Pointon Fen, Lincolnshire, UK
Posts: 2,234

Hi Laura, have had a look at this program and it looks good, is it just on US dollars or can you change the currency? Also can you obtain a profit and loss from it and see what is in your income and expenses catagories? :hug:

Laura Lynn Teddies by Laura Lynn
Lexington, KY
Posts: 3,647
Website

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Hi Sue,

Haven't gotten that far yet - but if you download the free trial version it allows you to click on tabs to see what is what.  If you have questions that I can't answer... try emailing John.  He usually gets back to you that same day.

Hugz,
Laura

Cleathero Creations Cleathero Creations
Ripley, Queensland
Posts: 1,925

Really Daphne the MYOB package would suit you down a T.  You can have an email list and all.  I just don't know whether it can be converted to another country.

Daphne Back Road Bears
Laconia, NH USA
Posts: 6,568
Website

Thanks, Bronwen. They do make it for the US! bear_thumb  :dance:

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