Quickbooks vs Pastel

[UPDATE] Have a look at www.xero.com

In short: Quickbooks is better. It has more features and is easier to use.

Hopefully I can save you some time evaluating accounting systems. We’ve run both packages in our business and even had a consultant (who’s an expert in both) come and see us.

At some point someone (typically someone smart, with an accounting background) will tell you to use Pastel. For some reason it’s popular with accountants.

Have you ever heard about how, in software, when you have a bug you simply re-write the manual and call it a feature? Well, that’s what Pastel did.

So whenever someone comes out in favour of Pastel, they’ll cite the old marketing spiel about how you can’t go back and change transactions (a bug) as if that’s a good thing. They’ll say that Quickbooks makes it easier for someone to commit fraud. This is not true: Quickbooks has a full audit trail, so even if someone did go back 6 months to “cook the books”, they’ll leave tracks.

Now let’s just hope Quickbooks sorts out their Windows 7 incompatibility issues…


15 thoughts on “Quickbooks vs Pastel

  1. I’m sorry Henk, but I have to get in your face about what you’ve said here, or rather what you’ve neglected to say.If someone wrote a product comparison review of your service with a competitor’s, that was this half-assed and subjective, you’d be as mad as a snake. Yes I read Christopher Roomes post and it’s better, but it’s still not fair and accurate or considered enough, AFAIC. And it’s so old, as to be pretty much useless. Single point to illustrate. "Pastel" is not a homogeneous moniker for a single product. Neither you nor Christopher specify which product you are comparing/slamming. Pastel Evolution, for instance, is NOT written in VB, but Delphi. Pastel Partner, and SOHO, are/were indeed VB-coded.I *do* agree about the ability to change transactions in QuickBooks, being a good thing. But then I also think most accountants are full of shit. And it’s *their* dogma which drives the "Change a transaction? Heresy!!" attitude.D’you know why it’s so difficult to get data from/into QuickBooks? Because their original database design was SO lightweight and shamatuerish, that it makes it very, very difficult to construct normal transaction data from/for it. Don’t take my word for it. Get the ODBC driver, open the database and try to make some sense of it. Honestly looks like the designer was pissed when he/she/they did it.Full disclosure. I was the Development Manager at Brilliant Business Systems for a number of years, around Y2K. During my tenure, we completed most of the groundwork of re-writing the Paradox-based Brilliant Accounting, into the SQL-server based product, which was eventually white-branded into Pastel Evolution.

  2. Thanks for the clarification Andre. I deliberately did not want to do a full-on review, but rather help entrepreneurs and startups (typically without full-time trained bookkeepers and with limited funds to pay "Pastel Consultants") to make a decision more rapidly. Speaking of Pastel consultants… why are there so many around?

  3. Gah. There’s a complex answer to that seemingly simple question.Some of the reasons are:1. The outsourcing mentality. Many business owners simply don’t want to own the skills, in house.2. In many instances, the software is easy to use at a interface level, but requires MUCH more to manage and maintain.3. Brilliant pioneered the recurring license fee paradigm in the SA accounting software space. And used a network of VARS to sell and support the package. The VAR gets a cut of the sale and a slice of the recurring. It’s an attractive business opp. 4. Pastel operated the paid support model. The quality was iffy, and remote. Business opp for a consultant to come on-site.There are more, I’m sure…:)

  4. I am just a "user" of Pastel and I started using Quickbooks. I leave all the technical jargon to you guys. From my point of view and from my experience with Pastel the most frustrating of Pastel for me is their licenses. It irritates the hell out of me if I have to renew my license every year. Try to install a client; you always require the license …etc. Not even talking about patches and updates. (And by the way, in my opinion there is not much of a difference between VB and Delphi as apposed to VB and C+.) Second to this is the pervasive database of Pastel…. do I need to say more. It takes Pastel about 1-2 years to catch up with QuickBooks features that have been there for a long time. So, from a client’s experience; for me, Pastel is a pain in the a….! Ask your clients what is their experience, (forget about the features of Pastel) with Pastel,…. you will probably be surprised…… Needless to say, I am slowly moving to Quickbooks.

  5. Quickbooks and Pastel are both for small businesses. I have never come across a “biggish” business which is using it. Pastel evolution in comparison can be used by bigger companies and outclass both QuickBooks and Pastel Partner. Their drawback is that it is quite complicated. the best package by far is Smart-IT Accounting (www.smart-it.co.za). It is written in the newest technology and the database is a firebird SQL. It’s friendly user interface is a breeze, even for those who are not computer boffins. “Even Ladygaga would grasp it” . Take a look for yourself.

  6. We are currently using pastel and i could never get the full grasp of it, more for my accountants use than mine. I am so happy i found Smart-it as i have so much more control over my business and there is more hands on opputinities and customer services that i doubt any other system will give. Smart-it is the complete business package. I love it. once i got the grasp of the system it flows smoothly, and i do think it is “Smart” and I expect and got “Great Things” Try it, you’ll thank me for this

  7. Just wanted to add that using an accounting software requires training, and a good accounting software should be designed with the customer in mind meaning that it should be simple yet detailed enough to cover all areas of operations in a normal office or for the sector it covers… now i have worked with sage and many other products and quite frankly sage 50 is in its death bed, simply because it has failed to adapt… no great improvements or advancements in all its versions, does not go out of its way to be a solution, it was a great software but times have changed and unfortunately sage 50 is not changing with the times, Sage the company has acquired software solutions like , Pastel evolution (formally brilliant systems ) and now is hyping this software to be a mid market ERP Software what a con !!!! simple because it is not an erp , pastel evolution bundles, resolve s crm and alchemex bi which sage bought into pastel evolution ( note sage has integrated alchemex into all its product tiers ) these are good briilliant software but pastel evolution has nothing to offer… cannot compare to many top tier erp softwares, it has no workflow to speak off order entry to goods receipt or dispatch is a one step simple process, its chart of accounts is not segmented until you fork additional $$ to get the segmented chart of accounts, inventory processing is to over hyped and does not compare to erps, no replenishment rules, no vendor tracking no substitute or accessory items, no warranty tracking, no lot tracking using Fifo etc , simply pu no where near an erp list of capabilities, and to further the con, this company now bundles, what it calles addon functionality to the software ( evolution Core ) so for additional $$ you can get advanced procurement…really , it sales you the procurement module ( basically a resolve notification procedure ) and then ask for additional $$ for advanced procurement , they continue to insult our intelligence wtih modules like voucher entry , mult-
    warehousing, cash manager, etc… all asking for additional $$$ my question is it possible to label a software an erp , just because of marketing hype, not true functionality , for instance the mutlwarehousing module priced at 1000+ $$$ does not offer bin tracking or offer options for puttaways etc, let me ask how do you cancel an order in pastel evolution … how then do you track your cancelled orders,…. is it possible to track order history with all documents associated with that order in one window, … if not from this one example how then do you call pastel evolution an erp… it does not offer collaboration period ….

    they are many other areas i can point out bank management … no subsidiary ledger for bank and cash equivalents to track the bank one has to go the the gl , and most of the transactions apart from order entry are simple batches

    this is not an erp please stop comparing to mid market solutions,

  8. Pastel leaves less room for fraudulent entries – the ability to change an entry without leaving some indication that that entry was changed is not a good idea – In pastel correcting an entry already updated to the GL requires a reversal of the entry or a JNL it may be ok for a quickbooks owner doing his own set of books – but for a company who relies on staff – quick books definitely makes it easier for staff to defraud the company!!!

    • Hi Melanie, I’ve heard that argument plenty of times, almost always from people who resell Pastel and don’t seem to have any good argument against QuickBooks (or Xero, for that matter)

      But it’s simply not true! Quickbooks has a Full Audit Trail specifically to cater to companies that have staff making changes. (wait… I just repeated myself. I already addressed this in my original blog post.)

      Either way, these days I’m a supporter of Xero.com, rather than Quickbooks or Pastel.

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