August 14, 2012, 8:36 AM — AccountEdge Pro keeps things simple. You can get a single-user edition of AccountEdge Pro for $299, and each additional user for an existing installation costs $149. The upgrade price for existing customers is $159.
That makes AccountEdge Pro somewhat cheaper than Sage 50 Complete Accounting 2013 (for individuals, at least), but more expensive than QuickBooks Pro 2012--and, at this early August writing (a couple of months before Intuit's annual refresh), you can even find the higher-end QuickBooks Premier 2012 for less. However, QuickBooks' price advantage evaporates if you want to add users: You pay the same for each new QuickBooks Pro license as for the initial license, and extra Premier licenses are more expensive than the current discounted price. Also, while AccountEdge supports up to 15 simultaneous users, QuickBooks Pro and Premier support only 5.
QuickBooks gets a lot pricier with its payroll service, too. That service costs $42 a month or $504 a year, whereas Acclivity's equivalent service runs about $350, and you can save even more by opting for a basic service that does the payroll math but doesn't e-file forms.
In terms of usability, AccountEdge Pro 2012 sharply reduces the intimidation factor in setup by letting you tackle it in chunks. To create a new company file, you walk through half a dozen screens that cover entering basic company info (name, tax ID, address, and so on), making a few basic accounting choices (defining fiscal year, setting the date for your first transaction entries, specifying the number of accounting periods), creating a list of accounts (AccountEdge offers suggestions based on common business types), and specifying the location for the data file.
After that, AccountEdge Pro presents you with the Easy Setup Assistant screen, whose wizards address options in five categories: Accounts (to edit the list of accounts and enter details on starting balances), Sales (including customer and pricing information), Purchases (for vendor and expenditure data), Payroll (for employee and payroll tax numbers), and a Customization section (for miscellaneous options relating to data entry, reminders, and more). The program explains these features clearly and identifies common choices instructively, with additional details on a well-organized and thorough Help Center.