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There is an awful lot that is good about QBE as we like to call it.  But the single best thing about QBE is its price.  It is four times cheaper than the average mid-market accounting system.  Four times, not four per cent, four times!  A 20 user version of a Sage or Iris Exchequer mid-range system will cost about £20,000.  QBE costs £5,000.
Having got your attention I hope to keep it before you start thinking about what to do with the remaining £15k in your budget.
For me the remaining top 5 benefits are:
2. Easy to use.  Yes they all say that but some systems really are very difficult to use.  QBE is well designed to make it simple, it has an active technical community forum and it has tips and movies for most of the functions.
3. Well connected.  QuickBooks has a huge base of users, most in the US but nevertheless this has resulted in a large number of independent business applications that connect to QuickBooks and the Enterprise system, QBE. They all connect through the QBE web connector so it’s a consistent and fairly simple set up.  We use an on-line web time sheet system which took about 2 hrs to set up.  It has connections to CRM systems like Salesforce, Sage CRM, Sugar and a few CRM applications designed specifically for QuickBooks.  There are also a number of plug-in e-commerce applications and point of sale systems.
4. Great filing.  QBE has an integrated document management system.  You can drag an email attachment onto the transaction or account and it’s available for look up at any time.  Besides this, QBE provides a click through to the original transaction from all of its reports.
5. Smart financial report writer.  Its called QSW.  It completes the reporting job that many other systems leave undone.  Apart from enabling you to create the report through a designer in Excel it recognises the need to pull a number of reports into a financial pack.  Typically this would be a Balance Sheet, P&L, Cashflow, some divisional reports, a commentary etc,  Each of these are on separate tabs,  Once you are ready you run the report and it combines the lot into a PDF.

There are many other benefits and in the next post I will cover 6 – 10.

It’s important however to point out some negatives.
1. You won’t look so good at a dinner party with other business leaders when the subject of ERP systems come up.  The others who preside over SAP, Sage, Microsoft and Exchequer may have a guffaw at your expense when you tell them that QBE is running your multi million pound business.  You will have to wait till the end of the evening for your payback as you drive off in your Porsche paid from the saving in switching to QBE. (Calculated saving over 5 years including maintenance and consulting fees).
2. There is only one field that controls the fiscal period allocated to a transaction.  That is the document date.  For those of us who are used to the older systems this is a big weakness.  Typically, almost half of the supplier invoices are not posted into the period that corresponds to the date of the invoice.  There are two main reasons for this;
– invoices are received late
– there is a delay in getting them approved and entering them in the system.
– To a large degree, businesses are sending invoices out promptly, particularly in this economic climate, so it’s not as big a problem.  Nevertheless we would still opt for a separate fiscal period field.
3. Certain accounts are fixed, their position cannot be changed.  This applies to the Exchange Gain or Loss account.  We would like to split it by currency and between gains and losses.

Overall QBE is an amazing system because of its price and functionality.  It will make your staff more productive too.  There is very little need for on-going support once you are set up but, we will try our hardest to recommend add ons and reports. We have to do something !

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