Choosing Accounting Software
In Australia, there are really only two players in the small business accounting software market: MYOB and QuickBooks. Both products are excellent, respected worldwide, with solid Australian support.
How do I compare the two products: MYOB versus QuickBooks?
Choosing accounting software, or indeed comparing accounting software, can be a daunting process. Things get especially tricky if your business has special reporting needs, complicated inventory or a way of working that’s a bit unusual. Both MYOB and QuickBooks are excellent accounting software solutions, but you still need to think carefully in order to make the right choice:
- Work through the features. You can download product demos for both MYOB and QuickBooks free from their Web sites. If you have any idiosyncratic needs that aren’t standard to business, test the demos to see which product performs best. For example, non-profit or community organisations will probably find that the advanced budget features in QuickBooks suit them best, but businesses with inventory in multiple locations will probably be better steering towards MYOB.
- If comparing cost of each product, factor in the current cost of annual support and annual upgrades. If you’re comparing the prices of different MYOB and QuickBooks products (they change all the time, so you’ll need to shop around to get the current prices), remember to factor in the price of annual support. Support is vital, especially at the beginning, and help that’s only ever a phone call away can be a lifesaver. In some instances, annual support is almost equal to the purchase price of the software, and so it's important that you factor it in. Even if the purchase prices includes a year's annual support, find out what the regular annual fee is. (You don't always need to upgrade accounting software every year, but if you have employees, you're often forced into the upgrade in order to get the latest payroll tax tables.)
- Evaluate whether you need any add-ons. Just as you wouldn’t employ a secretary who only speaks French and a manager who only speaks pig Latin, you need to make sure that your accounting software can talk to the other computer programs in your office. For MYOB, you can find a list of add-ons by visiting the MYOB Add-Ons page at this Web site. For QuickBooks, visit www.quickbooks.com.au or contact their customer service line to ask about add-on products.
- Consider your operating system. In Australia, MYOB FirstEdge and MYOB AccountEdge are the only small business accounting software products available for the Macintosh platform. QuickBooks is only available for the Macintosh platform in the United States.
- Talk to your accountant. If your accountant much prefers working with one of other of these products in particular, then you’ll probably minimise accounting fees by following their recommendation.
- Think about who you'll use as a consultant or for training. In the cities, both MYOB and QuickBooks have an excellent network of trainers. There are also lots of venues where you can attend training courses. However, consultants get much more scarce in the bush, and so it pays to find out what the local support consists of, and which product is supported best in your particular locality.
The MYOB software family
In its range of small business management products, the MYOB software family starts with MYOB BusinessBasics and builds to AccountRight Enterprise (for Windows) and MYOB AccountEdge (for Macs). From here, there’s a range of Enterprise products — serving medium-to-large sized businesses — including MYOB Exonet and MYOB PayrollEnterprise.
To find out more about any of the products in the MYOB software family, click the links below:
MYOB Windows Products
MYOB Macintosh Products
The QuickBooks software family
The QuickBooks small to medium-sized business software family ranges from QuickBooks EasyStart to QuickBooks Enterprise, but there’s also an extended family that includes Retail Point of Sale, QuickBooks Payroll Premier and Quicken Personal. (Quicken Personal is the world's bestselling personal finance software, and is the ideal software for managing personal finances and share portfolios.)
To find out more about any of the products in the QuickBooks small to medium business software family, click the links below:
QuickBooks Accounting Plus
QuickBooks Premier Enterprise