Windows Accounting - Is It Worth It?

By Quigg, H. Daniel | The CPA Journal, March 1994 | Go to article overview

Windows Accounting - Is It Worth It?


Quigg, H. Daniel, The CPA Journal


One of my first computers in my early days of computing was a Macintosh. KPMG Peat Marwick mandated the Macintosh for all CPAs on staff. Applications that ran on the Mac those days were slow and limited in power, but at least had the friendly user interface. As I progressed in my computing pilgrimmage, I got more and more acquainted with the IBM PC and compatibles that offered the same type of application but without the friendly interface. Could there be a compromise that offered mainstream applications with the friendly user interface?

IS WINDOWS THE ANSWER?

little did I know at the time, but Microsoft was developing and promising a graphical interface for DOS. The long awaited Windows 3.0 product heralded a rise to productivity and ease of use (at least according to Microsoft). Accounting software manufacturers on the whole were slow to embrace Windows as a standard claiming it did nothing to improve accounting software. After all, there are so many ways to put a number in. If you make it Helvetica 12 point type, it is still a number.

The user community keeps pushing, however, and accounting software developers slowly acquiesced. Today we are expecting a proliferation of Windows-based accounting solutions. Great Plains recently released the Dynamics product line. Macola, Platinum, Open Systems, Solomon, and State of the Art have all announced Windows-based software. Do Windows-based applications actually improve accounting? I have pondered this question for several years and have gone back and forth on the issue. To the average CPA, there are numerous issues to consider.

THE CONS

* Overhead. Windows adds an element of overhead that can slow an application down. This decrease in performance is highly dependent upon the application and the hardware.

* Additional Hardware Requirements. Windows requires at least four megabytes of RAM to run efficiently. If you will be doing multitasking with multiple windows, the RAM needs expand to at least eight megabytes. Minimum processor requirements would be a 486SX, but expect to use a 486DX to achieve good work station performance. Fortunately, computer and RAM prices have dropped; making the requirements less of a strain on corporate budgets.

* Data Entry. Windows still uses some different keystrokes to accomplish data entry tasks. For example, the key is typically used to move from field to field. To use this, a clerk doing data entry with a number pad must use both the right and left hand. More programs such as Dynamics offer the same user the option of using to change fields.

THE PROS

* Consistent Design. …

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