As a small business, you can still remain competitive in today’s marketplace by keeping up to date on the latest advances in your technology platforms. The enhancements to accounting packages can help save time when managing finances in order to give you the ability to focus on managing the business more effectively.

For small-sized construction businesses, QuickBooks from Intuit, www.intuit.com, Mountain View, Calif., and Sage Peachtree from Sage, www.sagecre.com, Beaverton, Ore., are still the two most widely used products for accounting in the construction industry.

Last week, Intuit announced the 2012 versions of QuickBooks Pro, Premier, and Mac. The new versions will allow business to become more organized and minimize duplicate data entry.

QuickBooks 2012 Pro and Premier have improved integration with Microsoft Excel that retains formatting changes to reports exported from QuickBooks to Excel. The new release also has a library of more than 1,000 user-contributed reports.

With a new lead center, document center, and inventory center, construction companies will also be able to organize information and make the data accessible in three new central repositories. Batch timesheets and batch invoicing reduces repetitive tasks, saving time and minimizing errors.

In addition to saving time, a big trend in accounting today is gaining a look into business trends. QuickBooks 2012 Pro and Premier gives insight through a calendar view of important business tasks such as invoicing and bill paying deadlines.

When Sage announced Sage Peachtree 2012 in May of this year, the company also provided new features for insight into business trends. With Sage Peachtree Business Intelligence, contractors can use templates for sales, purchasing, and financial reporting or create custom reports. The company says the release has features to control profits and make smarter business decisions.

Other new features in the Sage Peachtree 2012 product that was release earlier this year is a vendor management center and Sage Advisor, which allows contractors to seek out advice on how to use the software.

Some of the new features announced last week in the QuickBooks release are similar to the capabilities announced by Sage earlier this year.

The new enhancements to QuickBooks for Mac 2012 include a new user interface, customer and vendor information panels, and a batch online banking transaction entry. Users can also receive one hour of free technical phone support through the new Get Started Right program.

For small business, accounting software has new capabilities to minimize redundant data entry and increase visibility into business insights for owners. Are you taking advantage of some of these updates in the technology? These new capabilities could give your business a competitive edge and ultimately a better bottomline.