When it comes to counting the green, particularly here in small-business world, "news" is sort of a one-word oxymoron. So take heart, my fellow bean counters, we have an actual headline: a brand-new accounting package called MoneyWorks. (Prices start at $99.)
For all the techno intrigue swirling through new-age online business technologies, small-business accounting is still basically a two-beat affair: Intuit and everybody else. Yes, Web-based personal finance and tax-filing services like Wesabe, Taxbrain and the IRS Web site -- where you can file your taxes all by your little self -- have taken a bite out of established Intuit products like Quicken. Intuit announced a few days ago it will offer free efiling to consumers in 2009 as part of an effort to keep pace with new online rivals.
But small-business folks looking to cut bookkeeping costs are not seeing such action in the market. Exact figures here vary, but Intuit (STOCK QUOTE: INTU) claims 87 percent market share in its QuickBooks accounting-product markets, which is probably correct. The remaining share goes to a mix of Microsoft Office Accounting, the Microsoft (STOCK QUOTE: MSFT) accounting tool, and good, old-fashioned, self-done spread sheets and paper ledgers.
Yes, I use the software. QuickBooks can handle everything from invoices to billing. It can automate my payroll. Track my inventory. Reconcile with my bank. And more recent riffs can set up accounts with Google and help me with Web marketing. And the company is planning even more fancy-schmancy upgrades, with a major new announcement for QuickBooks expected for next year. But the real reason I use the tool is the same reason everyone else uses the tool: My accountant uses QuickBooks. And what am I going to do? Invade his office and force him to use other software?