Architosh News Reports
  Architosh Staff ([email protected])


Special Report: Financial Software for Architects - Part 1/2

1 Apr 99.

Many Architosh readers have been asking for information on financial applications to apply to their architectural and design practices. In part 1 of this two part news report, Architosh will introduce PC-only or hybrid financial applications that can run on a Macintosh running Virtual PC or Softwindows PC emulation software (especially quick on a new G3 B&W) or on a dedicated PC processor PCI card installed into an empty PCI slot on your Macintosh. A third option would be to purchase a PC just for your financial software needs and connect it to your Macintosh LAN using various products like PC MacLAN for Windows 95/98 or PC MacLAN NT, by Miramar. Either way, the following financial applications may be of value to your office, despite that fact that they only run on PC's.

Financial Software for Architects: Part 1/2 - Leading PC AE Financial Software

QuickBooks Pro99


Peachtree Accounting Plus Time & Billing

Great Plains Accounting

CFMS (Harper & Shuman)


QuickBooks Pro 99 (Intuit)

QuickBooks Pro 99 is a Windows only application which offers Intuit's award-winning ease-of-use and power in a comprehensive, total business financial software package. Intuit's software is very popular and the program offers time-based billing functions and reporting and cost/job estimating. Many of these functions (if not all) are already in QuickBooks Pro 4 for Macintosh, Intuit's last Macintosh version of the program and now over two years old. Additionally, the QuickBooks Pro 99 offers advanced integration with Microsoft Word and Excel, one-click access to business resources on the Internet, four digit date display for completely accurate dates past 2000, built-in stop watch, credit card statement download, pay owners and contractors for time functions, mail label sorting, making and printing, and easier reports. With QB Pro 99, you can easily create letters with MS Word using QB Pro 99 data, and send reports data to MS Excel. Other related features include QuickBooks Online Payroll Services and QuickBooks Online Direct Deposit Services.

Software Requirements for Macintosh: 16 MB RAM for application plus RAM for PC emulator software (see bottom of page). Runs under Windows 95/98 and NT 4.0

Special Note: At this last months Annual Apple Share Holders Meeting a person asked Jobs about the QuickBooks/Pro situation (meaning the lack of an updated version) in light of the fact the Bill Cambell, Intuit's CEO was on the Apple board. Jobs' reply hinted at an upcoming QuickBooks Pro version for the Macintosh. Paraphrasing, Jobs said that Apple, of course, wants to get all the best products on the Macintosh (not necessarily all PC software, but the best PC software). Architosh advises you to write or call in to Intuit stating your interest in an updated version of QuickBooks Pro for the Macintosh. Version 4 is still widely available and supported.


Semaphore (A Novax Company)

Sema4 Financial Management Accounting Software for Windows is a fully integrated project and financial management software package for the A/E industry. The product CSOne is a powerful client/server FM (financial management) package for larger architecture and engineering firms. The product features include an Internet Timesheet for multiple offices, work sites, and mobile professionals. In addition, the program interfaces with Microsoft Project and includes a purchase order module.

Software Requirements for Macintosh: 16 MB RAM for application plus RAM for PC emulator software (see bottom of page). Runs under Windows 95/98 and NT 4.0


Peachtree Accounting Series (Peachtree Software)

Peachtree Complete Accounting Plus Time & Billing is a full featured accounting package for small businesses with time tracking and billing needs. The program features comprehensive time tracking functions, reporting, multiple billing data rates, and networking abilities with newly enhanced multi-user capabilities. With this release (version 6) the program features an "open architecture" that lets you access accounting information from within other applications, such as Microsoft Office, and in the future from contact management software. Built-in Internet access from within the program allows you to access the updates and EZ Add-ins from the Peachtree web site. The program also features electronic payroll and tax filing and electronic payments. Additional features include a QuickBooks Conversion utility for those switching from Intuit's program and navigational aids. Peachtree has seven other financial applications, including Peachtree 2000, One-Write Plus for Windows, and Peachtree Complete Accounting for DOS, among others.

Special Note: Peachtree Software previously support the Macintosh with a product called, Peachtree Accounting for the Macintosh. As in the Intuit QuickBooks case, Architosh advises you to write or call Peachtree and state your interest in a Macintosh version. You may still be able to purchase older Macintosh software from Peachtree, however, the product may no longer be supported. With all of the excellent Macintosh-focused accounting packages we'll be introducing in Part 2 Architosh advises you to not purchase older unsupported versions of software. However, if you feel you must use Macintosh Peachtree software, then please inform Peachtree, as they may be reconsidering Macintosh product support.

Software Requirements for Macintosh: 16 MB RAM for application plus RAM for PC emulator software (see bottom of page). Runs under Windows 3.11, 95 and NT 3.51 or higher.


Great Plains Accounting (Great Plains Software)

Great Plains Accounting is a heritage DOS-based product for smaller businesses. There is also a Windows version of the same package. The product has core modules that include System Manager, General Ledger, Cash Management, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Payroll, and Direct Deposit. In addition, there are inventory modules that can be added to the program.

For small to medium sized businesses with limited IT resources, they offer Great Plains Dynamics, a widely-used business management solution for Windows and NT. Features include customized reporting and seamless integration with Microsoft Office and industry specific products. Great Plains Software is a global leader in business solutions for various industries.

Special Note: Great Plains Software previously made a Macintosh version of the Great Plains Accounting package. It know longer seems supported but, like the Peachtree case, may be available for purchase with or without technical support. It should be noted that Great Plains Software does author Macintosh solutions, and therefore may be able to support older Mac software. Great Plains Dynamics (the latest version) is available for Macintosh but that will be covered in Part 2 of this special report.

Software Requirements for Macintosh: 4 MB RAM for application plus RAM for PC emulator software (see bottom of page). Runs under DOS, Windows 3.11, and Windows 95.


CFMS/Advantage and CFMS/RD (Harper and Shuman)

CFMS/Advantage represents a new generation of project control and financial systems for the AE (architecture and engineering) profession. The program uses 32 bit technology for Windows 95 and NT deployment. It integrates with Microsoft Access JET and SQL Server products. CFMS/RD is a comprehensive project control and financial management system specifically designed for larger firms with 500 or more employees. It uses client/server technology and is based on the Oracle RDBMS. Features include payroll, accounts receivable, accounts payable, billing, and general ledger. Since 1973, Harper and Shuman has focused on building the most integrated project control and accounting systems available to architects, engineers and environmental consulting and project-based professional services firms. Harper and Shuman are currently developing browser-based applications for CFMS (computer-based Financial Management Systems) which will allow cross-platform interaction with CFMS data from anywere in the world.

Software Requirements for Macintosh: RAM varies on application and operating system. Assume 16 MB RAM minimum plus RAM for PC emulator software. Runs under Windows 95 and NT.


PC DOS and Windows Emulation Software Information

  RAM recommended Minimum Processor Minimum Mac OS Suggested
Virtual PC DOS 32 MB Any PowerPC OS 7.5.5 OS 8.1
Virtual PC 95 32 MB 604e/603e 180MHz OS 7.5.5 OS 8.1
Virtual PC 98 64 MB Any G3 OS 8.0 OS 8.5
Softwindows 95 24 MB Any PowerPC OS 7.1 OS 8.1
Softwindows 98 32 MB G3 or 604e OS 7.1 OS 8.1
RealPC 24 MB Any PowerPC OS 7.1 OS 8.1

To run Windows NT under either RealPC or Virtual PC DOS, add an additional 32 MB RAM to the following chart information. It should be noted that the minimum RAM is less than the values for recommended RAM in the chart above, but it is not advised to run any software under emulation on the minimum RAM footprint. Emulation software works better when you can give the program as much RAM as you can, but after a certain limit speed improvements will drop off or flatten out.

The Architosh Recommended PC Emulation Scenario:

Apple Power Macintosh G3 Blue & White, 350 MHz G3, 128 MB RAM or higher, with a dedication of 100 MB RAM to the emulation software alone. This will adequately cover you for running Windows 98 (Virtual PC 98) in combination with the largest RAM eating application above (Harper and Shuman, Peachtree, or QuickBooks Pro) while still providing over 30 MB RAM for the Mac OS. If you were to run other PC software side-by-side the financial app, then add additional RAM as needed.

Closing Comments:

There are certainly more Windows and DOS financial applications out there, including Windows versions of the Macintosh programs we will cover in Part 2 of this special report. The question is, why buy a Windows financial package at all? Well, all of these programs introduced above are either extremely popular on the PC side or specific to the AEC industry, providing specific solutions that cannot be found in a Macintosh product. It may be the case that your accounting consultant or employee works only with one of these packages. The important thing to remember is that with the speed of today's Macintosh G3's running these Windows/DOS applications under emulation on a Macintosh is a viable option and a way to leverage your Macintosh hardware investments.

As introduced above, you can choose to buy a PC for accounting only, install a PC card, or run one of these programs on a Macintosh under emulation software on a PC card.

Part 2/2 of this Special Report will be coming next week.


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