Two accounting software programs, Sage Peachtree and Microsoft Dynamics, were tested under similar conditions for a direct comparison. General information categories were created with more specific segments to pit both of the programs against each other. The reaction to each segment was based on a Liker Scale, where each segment was graded 1-5 based on the following criteria: 1-Completely dissatisfied/very difficult 2-Slightly dissatisfied/moderately difficult 3-Neutral 4-Satisified/not difficult 5-Extremely satisfied/very easy

The following analysis displays a matrix for each category with corresponding segments, showing the liker scale grade and explanation. | Peachtree| Microsoft Dynamics| General Ledger:| | | Adding new account/account#| 5| 3| Entering transactions| 4| 4| Adding vendors/customers| 4| 4| Entering invoices/purchases| 5| 5| Entering receipts/payments| 5| 4| Entering Payroll| 5| N/A| The first comparisons between the two programs are general ledger functions and typical tasks. When a user creates a new company in Peachtree and proceeds to create new accounts, the software explains how to create accounts and how they are typically numbered.

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In Dynamics, there is no feature to explain the functions of the account creation process, but there are many choices for account categories that any types of company would use. Also included in the general ledger comparison is the ease of entering transactions into the ledger. Peachtree offers a direct link to general ledger activity and allows the user to enter a transaction with a detailed explanation and reference. Peachtree also allows for users to view a list of posted general ledger transactions and delete or edit any transactions.

Though Dynamics does allow a user to utilize a general ledger function, the user must look through the menu to find it. Dynamics users may enter transactions in two ways: general journal transactions and bank register transactions. The great feature of entering transactions in Dynamics is that the user may expand the description bar to view the account information and it can be collapsed when not needed. Both programs allow users to create vendor lists that include information such as name, address, phone number, payment terms, and credit terms.

At the time of this comparison, there was no current analysis of payroll for Dynamics, but Peachtree offers a number of options for setting up payroll including taxes and types of pay such as salary, hourly, and overtime. Both programs allow for the entering of invoices, as well as receipt of payment. Peachtree has both an invoice and receipt function located on the main screen or under the “Tasks” toolbar, but Dynamics users must search for the same function within the various menus of the program.

Both programs allow users to choose the customer or vendor for each transaction and to create invoice numbers, as well as allowing the user to select the correct invoice for payments. Financial Statements:| Peachtree| Microsoft Dynamics| Contains standard statements| 5| 4| Ease of creating special statements| 4| 4| Comparative period statements| 3| 1| Contains payroll register| 5| N/A| Statements generated automatically| 5| 5| Peachtree features all standard financial statements located under the “Reports & Forms tool bar. Reports are broken down by type and require minimal customization.

The financial statement Wizard feature allows user to create statement similar to standard ones, but not create one from scratch. As for comparative period statements, only a comparative Income Statement was offered. The Payroll Register was also included in “Reports & Forms” tool bar. Statement values change automatically with each transaction, the user only has to choose date range for statement. Dynamics users may have a harder time accessing each financial statement. The user must create and customize the statement before viewing, and all financial reports are not located in a central location.

Dynamics users may have an easier time creating special statements and statements are updated with each posted transaction within a specified time period. Miscellaneous:| Peachtree| Microsoft Dynamics| Ease of use and overall appearance | 4| 1| Technical support or help function| 5| 3| Upgrade capability| 5| 4| In evaluating software, once of the most important criteria would be the ease of use and appearance. Peachtree’s main tasks are listed under the toolbar menus, so finding a function is simpler than Dynamics. But even so, tool bar menus are not in alphabetical order which can cause confusion when looking for a task.

Dynamics has a number of menus located on the left side and the user must determine what menu to use before finding the correct function. Dynamics was extremely difficult to use and time consuming; the main difficulty lies in the inability to locate links within the small font of the menus. Peachtree has many often-used functions that appear on the main screen, cutting down on time. Peachtree also allows users to export files directly to Microsoft Excel or Adobe Acrobat, and asks the user whether the file is new or an addendum to an existing workbook. The resulting file looks very close to the original and requires very little customization.

Exporting a file from Dynamics is frustrating and confusing. Files exported to Excel have to be altered and are not saved as a continuous workbook. The other option for exporting file from Dynamics is a Word Pas text file which is very difficult to read and interpret. Sage Software has a website and phone number for technical support and general questions, and there is a help function on the tool bar. Dynamics also has a help function on the tool bar, as well as technical support, but the support staff is partially outsourced to foreign countries, so it can be difficult to communicate.

Callers can also be charged for help if it requires the support staff to access an IP address. As far as upgrades are concerned, Sage Software has different versions of Peachtree that can be purchased based on company needs, and can be upgraded to other versions. There are a number of different versions of Dynamics, though it is unclear whether it would be cost-effective to upgrade or change. The last major comparison is the ease of installation. Peachtree was easy to install and access and not much assistance was needed. Dynamics required a few tries for installation and the loading/unloading of data to specific files can be confusing.