Product Review: Peachtree Complete 2012

Small and mid-sized businesses need to stay on top of the books, and making good use of a top-notch accounting package is a vital prerequisite.

One of the best available packages is Peachtree Complete 2012.

Peachtree Complete 2012 shines in these areas:
  • organized: interface clean and uncluttered
  • good menu structure: easy to find what you need
  • reliable: virtually bug-free
  • flexible: many options for tailoring the program to your company
  • helpful: integrated help is surprisingly useful, offering very clear explanations of accounting topics and how to use the program to accomplish specific tasks
Challenges for Peachtree:
  • registration: the product registration web site is cumbersome, and is completely unusable in IE9
  • installation: can be a bit daunting - make sure you follow the instructions to the letter
  • support: online and telephone support offerings are scattered and confusing
If you are upgrading from a previous version of Peachtree, I do recommend choosing the "clean install" option (i.e., installing 2012 to its own folder, rather than overwriting the existing version). This provides a measure of safety, providing the option to return to 2010 in case anything does go wrong wrong.

An additional benefit is that your Peachtree program files folders are not cluttered with files from your previous installation.

Overall, a very solid accounting package.  Over time, many tasks (such as recurring invoices or bills) can be automated, saving a lot of time.  I recommend spending some time getting to know your way around the program, possibly using the sample companies, before putting it to production usage.

OpenOffice: Ditch the Office Ribbon

If you really dislike the Office Ribbon bar as much as I do, join the club!

Personally, I dislike it so much that I avoid using MS Office at all costs.  There are many reasons to dislike MS Office, but for me the ribbon is reasons 1 through 10.

Fortunately, there's a fantastic alternative -- Apache OpenOffice - from The Apache Software Foundation.  And they've just released a new version 3.4.

I've been a huge fan of OpenOffice for quite some time.  Think of OpenOffice as everything you wish MS Office could be: Nimble, fast and easy to use -- with logically designed toolbars and menus -- and not a ribbon in sight!

OpenOffice installs quickly, without a fuss -- and yes, you can even work with MS Office document formats.

Got SPAM? Fight back.

We all get it, and as far as I know, we all hate it.  SPAM.  As far as I'm concerned, as Ben Franklin said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure".

The best SPAM prevention technique I can think of is not to give out your real address, ever, unless you are certain the recipient is trustworthy (essentially, family and friends).

The tool you want is Spamex.  For a tiny annual fee, create as many disposable email addresses as you like, that forward to your real address.  If you receive any SPAM at any disposal address, simply turn it off, which renders that address invalid.  Problem solved.

For more information on reducing SPAM, visit