FileMaker Pro or Quickbooks Pro??

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Hoven, Mar 24, 2006.

  1. Hoven macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    Columbus, OH (USA)
    #1
    Hi all,
    Well, I'll start with the question and then fill in the details.
    The question is, for a small business, would I be better off with QuickBooks Pro or FileMaker Pro?

    I've been reading really, really bad things about QuickBooks on the Mac and Inuit's less-than-proper attention to the Mac. I've not seen too many bad comments about FileMaker Pro, and I see you can download a free "Small Business" set of templates and databases.

    Background: We are acquiring an existing business, which expands/extends our current business. We will keep an inventory of some 100 items and take orders over the phone/fax or via internet either for the items or the item plus customization/personalization work (item + service). So our basic needs are for: Inventory tracking, Sales/Order tracking, Billing, Vendor ordering/paying, customer info/tracking, and shipping (plus 'fancier' stuff like Cost-of-goods sold, ROI, inventory turnover, taxes would be nice). We do this with our simple tools now, but we've only got a handful of products. Now we're talking about 100 items and 5 to 10 vendors.

    The person we are getting the business from is using QuickBooks 5 on a Mac. We have an eMac and an old PowerMac G3 desktop (which I'm thinking we will replace with a new iMac or something). On our G3, we have a way old version of FileMaker (like, v3 or something) and no version of QuickBooks. But the old FileMaker does a nice job of keeping orders and inventory (2 different databases though... not integrated).

    So, as we kick the business into high gear, I was going to buy QuickBooks Pro, but now I'm concerned based on what I've read.

    So, if anyone is using FileMaker and/or QuickBooks for their business…. I'd LOVE to hear your opinions.

    Thanks!
     
  2. ahunter3 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    #2
    I would do it all in FileMaker (and I would integrate your two apps, add modules for personnel & salary, company budget, clientele & contact people, and invoicing). QuickBooks isn't particularly flexible, whereas FileMaker is the epitome of flexibility. And it's very Windows-centric, with Mac support fading in and out over the years but never on par with Windows. You don't get feature parity on a Mac.

    Of course I'm a FileMaker geek. I use FileMaker instead of iTunes to organize my MP3 playlists, I use it instead of the Address Book to manage my own personal contacts, I use it instead of Family Tree Maker to manage genealogy... so far I still use Photoshop and not FileMaker to retouch pix from my digital camera but give me time... ;)

    The flip side of the equation is: is your company public in any way? Will you books ever be audited? Accounting is a very very conservative field. Some accountant comes in to see your books and you say "We developed our own accounting s/w in FileMaker", you get the suspicious eyeball treatment. You mention a known brand name of accounting software, you don't have to put up with that.

    We actually use both at the company I work at. QB is used for the main budget and check-generation and ledger, while FileMaker manages all aspects of the work (orders, customers, products on each order, status, who is assigned, tasks of each product, images, ads, retouching work ordered and its progress, scans, proofs, etc) Also, the invoice to the client is actually generated by FileMaker — only the bottom-line $ amount is tossed into QuickBooks, which generates an invoice number. We use a FileMaker plugin, FileBooks, which lets FileMaker edit data in QuickBooks and obtain data back out of it.
     
  3. Hoven thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    Columbus, OH (USA)
    #3
    Hi ahunter3!
    Thanks for the feedback! We are not a public company... Just a modern Mom & Pop on-line store. :) I'm very sure we'll either be writing checks or (more likely) paying via the on-line bill-pay via our bank. We don't need quicken to do that (nor do I think it will integrate well with our bank anyway). I'm sure that FileMaker is way more flexible... my only concern is that I'm going to have to build it, adjust it, program it, etc, so I'm making it harder for me in the short term that just going to QuickBooks. I just hope the Small Business templates you can download for free make this easy!

    Thanks again!
     
  4. ahunter3 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    #4
    Well, if you want a developer, I do custom work as a FileMaker consultant for several people. Look at the templates first though.
     
  5. forbade macrumors member

    forbade

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2006
    Location:
    US
    #5
    Im having problems finding software

    I looked at the Filebooks website and they only have a PC version of thier program. My Company is wanting me to be able to exchange data between filemaker PRO (8) and quickbooks 2005, both on mac.

    Is there any other solutions other than filebooks that can help me out with this problem?
     
  6. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #6
    The important thing to know is that you can't compare Filemaker and Quickbooks. One is a general purpose database, and one is a purpose-made accounting system. You can buy business management systems for Filemaker up to an including standard accounting ledgers, or you can write your own. Either way, it will cost many times what Quickbooks costs.

    Filemaker is much more flexible, of course, while Quickbooks has only minor things you can customize. But with that Filemaker flexibility comes the prospect of errors, and the cost of programming and maintenance.

    Exchanging data between any outside program and an accounting program is a major issue no matter what.
     
  7. weldon macrumors 6502a

    weldon

    Joined:
    May 22, 2004
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #7
    As a former owner of a small business, I would recommend that you use Quickbooks Pro for Windows for accounting and Filemaker for any other data management / organization tasks that you need. The primary reason is that the version on Windows is always a step ahead of the Mac version and it will be more compatible with an outside accountant or tax preparer. You may be used to doing your own taxes, but hiring a tax professional is a good idea with a small business.

    As an aside, I tried running Quickbooks Pro in Virtual PC on a PB G4 867MHz and it was too slow to be usable. You might find it works fine with a faster G5 system. I would suggest just getting a cheapo Dell system and dedicate that to accounting.

    My basic reasoning is that accounting is a pain, but incredibly important to your business. Anything you can do to simplify accounting and (counterintuitively?) keep it separate from other activities will only help you. Having QB Pro on a separate computer dedicated to accounting will help you stay organized and on task.
     
  8. Hoven thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    Columbus, OH (USA)
    #8
    I guess one way to look at it is.... do I want an inventory & invoicing system that I can pull accounting info from, or do I want an accounting system that happens to track inventory?

    I think in my case it's the former... I need to be able to track inventory, who it comes from, when to reorder, who's buying what & when, etc. Then, if I want to see what my average unit costs are or how much I spend with each vendor, I can do that. But my concern is more about workflow for our order fulfillment.
     
  9. Hoven thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    Columbus, OH (USA)
    #9
    Hmmm. Interesting point.
    Well, I have an eMac which seems to be fine for FMP. I admit it didn't occur to me to buy a cheap Wintel machine for Quickbooks. But if you're not using the sales and inventory parts of QB, how does it do the accounting? Double-Entry? Or can you send from FMP/Mac to Win/QB?
     
  10. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #10
    The easiest way to run an inventory/sales database and an accounting system separately is with a Z-total transfer system -- you take the bottom line totals from the inventory/invoicing system and manually enter them into the accounting system. You have to make a decision whether to track your accounts receiveable and accounts payable inthe inventory system or the accounting system, or run with duplicated entry on supplier inv oices, for example. This depends on whether you have only cash customers or account customers too, and how often you are buying from suppliers.

    There are other dedicated Mac systems that do the inventory and the AR.AP: POS*IM Diamond from Ensign and Multiledger, and Filemaker based systems such as Office7 and BigBusiness You also need to determine whether you need to run this multi-user (networked) or will one machine doing all the sales, receiving and accounting be sufficient. If you live outside the USA, you also have to check carefully whether the system will handle your tax invoicing and reporting structure.
     
  11. Hoven thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    Columbus, OH (USA)
    #11
    Again, all great points. Thanks for the perspective. I appreciate being able to “think this out” with someone.

    We don't have an actual storefront. My wife is an artist/calligrapher and she sells custom artwork as well as prints with custom calligraphy. We are now acquiring a business where my wife will “represent” other artists. She will inventory their artwork (on consignment), take orders for their artwork (usually with her own calligraphy added for customization), and ship them out to the end customers. She bills the customers (resellers, galleries, or end-user). At the end of each month she sends a check to each artist for the prints she sells.

    This is done via e-mail, phone and fax (fax because the calligraphy includes Hebrew characters which need to be written and faxed… can’t be keyed in via e-mail).

    So, we need to
    * inventory the artwork,
    * fill in invoice/order forms which double as bills to the customers,
    * do the shipping,
    * collect payment for the invoices,
    and
    *report on the sales by artist so we can pay them each month.
    There are “hard” items to sell (artwork) and “service” (calligraphy), which we should track separately.

    We use a single credit card account for buying supplies (and paying for the UPS shipping account), and a separate checking account for all other incoming/outgoing monies related to the business.

    That’s it in a nutshell…. Pretty simple really.

    So, I’d love to find a pre-built Filemaker template/app that we can modify to handle all this. Filemaker has its Business Solution Pack, but it’s really just 5 different databases/forms. For example, the Inventory isn’t adjusted based on the activity in the Invoice database. However, at this point, that’s what it looks like I’m starting with.

    Anymore thought, ideas, hints, suggestions are most welcome.

    Thanks again!!
     
  12. ajavu macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2010
    #12
    filemaker ahunter3

    I just read an old post on filemaker and quickbooks and would like to ask about fp11 with quickbooks 2012. first, why use both? second, who can help with the right set up for our filemaker system. we are a small mill (grains and beans) and want to track inventory (raw crop, packaged goods, supplies, etc.) and contacts, customers, vendors, etc, for starters.
    ajavu
     

Share This Page