I want to give you my honest and fair opinion of what’s out there on the market. Firstly, let’s examine the most popular ones.
The original QuickBooks is now owned by Reckon. Reckon is reasonable for a decent-sized business, but it has really lost that micro and gig business markets. For bookkeepers and business owners who are used to Reckon, it’s still good software and it works reasonably in the cloud.
QuickBooks Online is now an American piece of software. It’s a good, sleek piece of software that isn’t overly expensive. The difficulty in Australia is that not a lot of contract bookkeepers know it. So when you go out there as a business owner, and you look for help, or you’re looking for another contract bookkeeper, there’s not many of them around.
MYOB has fought back pretty hard in the online market. They’ve got MYOB Essentials, which is a reasonable bit of software which can do quite a few things. It’s also totally cloud-based. Their main legacy product from the old days is Account Right. This is partially cloud based and still has different version issues but hey we use it here at Paris because our bookkeeper knows it backwards and if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. The fact that MYOB has had such a big foothold in the market from the first decade of the noughties, means it’s still used widely
There are a lot of bookkeepers out there who understand Xero, which is why many accountants tend to use and recommend it. It’s purpose built for the cloud and for the Australasian Market. Two massive ticks.
There’s also Saasu, Sage and a couple of others but they occupy a minor share in the market. The lack of bookkeeper knowledge of these pieces of software hampers their takeup.
My favourite for clients (but they’re also a hidden monster for efficiency)
I tend to predominantly recommend Xero for client software.
Be careful though… this company has had a massive impact on smaller accounting firms. They’ve cut their prices for the use of their software for small firms of 1-10 people and have shoved their bookkeeping/one ledger solutions down the throats of accounting firms. The result is that many small accounting firms have lost their way by trying to solve bookkeeping queries and installations all the while becoming Xero’s debt collector and losing focus on tax. Fancy that – Xero have made the most foolproof debt collection policy in the history of the world. Everything is paid C.O.D. by their major customers accountants and bookkeepers. I’m green with envy – that was a masterstroke. For accountants, it provides a mountain of administration and paperwork.
The amount of terrible tax structuring and tax advice coming out of smaller firms when the tax laws have become even more complex proves to me that many Xero based Accounting firms are caught up in lower grade work and penny pinching on software. Dumb, Dumb, Dumb.
Us Public Accountants should stick to tax. It’s no wonder we can offer a 20% discount for first year’s fees because so many new clients we see have been badly structured by Accountants right up to date in IT but way behind in tax knowledge.
If you would like to know more about the history of accounting software, please read this blog post.