It is time for me to update my Quickbooks license and I thought I would give the new free version of Microsoft’s accounting package a quick spin.

Here are some initial impressions.

  1. It only wants to import a single year of individual transactions from Quickbooks and will aggregate ones beyond that.
  2. It does not export reports to PDF natively but does a great job exporting to Excel. The excel spreadsheet even has the proper formulas.
  3. Less flexible in creating customized invoices. You can define the fields and order but not their exact location like you can with Quickbooks.

As a financial planning practice, I don’t have to worry about inventory. If you do, you will want a more advanced package, but for those who are running service companies Microsoft accounting would work perfectly for most small shops.

With that said, Quickbooks is the gold standard in the small business marketplace and it only costs $200. If you only upgrade every three years, the cost is fairly minimal. So for those who are already on Quickbooks with years of data, I would recommend staying pat. Also, if you plan on getting help from a bookkeeper or CPA, they are much more likely to be familiar with Quickbooks than the Microsoft product.

For those just starting out and trying to keep initial costs low, the Microsoft package would probably work just great. In fact, if you buy the latest Office package, it has some tight integration with Outlook and Outlook’s contact manager, so that you don’t have to enter in your client’s information more than once.

You can find more information and download the product at —