I used QuickBooks for several years at my last two companies. It's perfectly adequate for general ledger, basic reporting, running payroll, etc.
Out with the old...
My gripe with QuickBooks has always two-fold: 1) I don't want to have to deal with their crummy API to integrate with my other apps, and 2) they MAKE you upgrade their product. One day, online banking and payroll just don't work in QuickBooks. They cut you off. Don't like it? Here's the URL for upgrading. Argh!
So my feelings on QuickBooks have ranged from shrugging acceptance to hostile anger. But looky here in the MSDN subscription! Microsoft has a small business accounting tool! We're a Microsoft Partner; we should be using Microsoft tools, right? I installed Microsoft Accounting 2009 to see how it compared to QuickBooks.
In with the new...
On the plus side, the interface is a little nicer in Microsoft Accounting 2009, especially if you're used to Microsoft Office. It just feels familiar. The database is a normal SQL Server database and you can do whatever you need to with it. The table names are pretty obvious, so with a little guessing and a little investigation, you can integrate other apps straight from there. You can also customize all the reports, invoices, etc. since they are Word and Excel templates.
On the minus side, the online banking is atrocious. Major banks and credit cards don't work with Microsoft Accounting. I guess Microsoft is waiting for the financial institutions to support it, and the banks are waiting for users to fall in love with Microsoft Accounting? Either way, for most financial institutions, you have to go to their web site, log on, download your transactions to your machine, upload them into Microsoft Accounting, then import/match them into Microsoft Accounting. This would have been fine 15 years ago, but to have a modern accounting tool just open up a browser for you? Microsoft Accounting's "online banking" is just storing some bookmarks for you. Uhhhh.no thanks.
I have also read other reviews that the payroll side, which you pay a subscription to ADP to use, has the same kind of non-integration. It apparently just opens a browser for you to run payroll on ADP's web site and then turn around and re-enter that same data into the accounting tool when you're done. I didn't test this out, I just read someone else complaining about this online. I didn't want to pay for a subscription to verify.
And back to the old?
This is lame. You have to be pretty terrible for me to go crawling back to QuickBooks. Microsoft Accounting is prettier to look at, but way less useful. And for me and accounting software, it's just about getting my work done as quickly as possible so I can move on to the real work.