MYOB Accounting Plus 15 review

£250
Price when reviewed

Accounting Plus 15 is built on the same simple truism as its predecessors: if you’re a sole trader or manage a small business, you have enough on your plate without having to worry about double-entry bookkeeping. So although Accounting Plus – the most powerful version in the new range – offers comprehensive stock control, time-billing and payroll features, what really sets it apart is its ease of use.

Rather than throwing you straight into a traditional double-entry ledger system, Accounting Plus guides you through your accounts setup and then presents information in a quirky yet intuitive format, reassuringly unchanged from the last version.

It separates the accounting process into eight logical command centres: Accounts (the nominal ledger), Banking, Sales, Time billing, Purchases, Payroll, Stock control and a Card file – essentially a contact manager for customers and suppliers. Each command centre sits above links to the command that relates to it, shown in a chart format that accurately simulates the flow of money through your business.

While you’ll occasionally need to get your hands dirty to make ledger entries for year-end adjustments such as depreciation, most financial instructions are self-explanatory: to buy stock, click the Enter Purchases command in the Purchases command centre. Accounting Plus is flexible about how you enter information too, so when a cheque comes in from a customer you can record it using either the Receive Payments command in the Sales command centre or Banking’s Receive Money command.

But MYOB’s ease of use (boosted by excellent paper documentation) doesn’t come at the expense of power. Version 15 adds a fresh batch of reports and analysis tools to an already near-exhaustive list. These reporting options, on a par with those in Intuit’s QuickBooks Pro 2005, are accessible from drop-down menus at the bottom of the main window. Handily, you can drill down through the headline figures contained in many reports to get to the individual transactions that make them up. Reports can be emailed or exported to a host of other formats, including Excel, PDF and HTML. You can also group reports to be printed in a single batch, which is handy for regular month- or quarter-end reporting.

Although the list of new features in Accounting Plus 15 is reasonable, most of the work has been done on fine-tuning existing features. The most welcome change is more flexible stock handling; you can now track stock at multiple locations and move items between them in a single window. Of less critical importance is the way you can now choose to sell items that aren’t yet in-hand, and elect to record incoming stock even if it arrives without an accompanying invoice. You can estimate a cost – added to an accruals account – and make an adjusting entry when the bill arrives.

Budgeting is also much more powerful than it has been in the past. You can create a budget for an upcoming financial year at any time – no longer do you have to wait for the current financial year to end – and budgets for all profit-and-loss and balance-sheet accounts can be examined and edited in a single Prepare Budgets window. Entering data for the budget is much improved too. Not only can you import existing budgets from Excel, but working with MYOB data is quicker. You can copy an account’s actual financial figures for the current financial year to the forthcoming year’s budget at the click of a button, and duplicate a single month’s data to all remaining months of the year.

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