MYOB Accounting 16 review
Thanks to a happy marriage of ease of use and a packed feature list, MYOB’s venerable Accounting program has earned a strong following among small businesses. This latest revision marks an attempt to snatch a further chunk of what’s becoming an increasingly crowded business market.
Like its predecessors, version 16 comes in three flavours. As well as the standard version reviewed here, MYOB offers a sub-£100 BusinessBasics program aimed at sole traders, and Accounting Plus, which offers multicurrency support and advanced stock options.
A critical reason for Accounting’s popularity in small businesses is that you don’t actually need an intimate understanding of accounting to start using it. When you first run the program, a wizard walks you through creating a set of accounts tailored to your business; unneeded and potentially confusing accounts simply don’t appear.
The same principle of simplicity guides the rest of the program. Its entire operation stems from a Command Centre boasting a row of chunky icons representing different business elements, and a flow chart underneath illustrates how money moves around each. It’s an interface that works so well it’s been borrowed by other accounting applications, and our only criticism is that we’d like the ability to resize the Command Centre’s fixed window dimensions, as it looks a bit lost on a larger screen.
While Accounting runs on a standard double-entry accounting system and includes a general ledger, these are hidden from view, replaced by self-explanatory buttons such as Spend Money and Receive Money. The only time you need to sully your hands with double entry is through entering year-end adjustments such as depreciation.
But MYOB is more than just a pretty face. Its financial reporting tools may be squirrelled away at the bottom of the Command Centre window, but their depth rivals those of Intuit’s QuickBooks Pro. Version 16 only modestly adds to its reporting reputation, providing a new payroll verification report that gives full details of an employee’s pay and other benefits before you commit to a payroll run.
Elsewhere, changes are useful, if rarely outstanding. The handiest is a new Outlook Sync feature that links Microsoft Outlook contacts with customers and suppliers in your MYOB card list. It works speedily and effectively when exporting cards from MYOB, but if you’re putting contacts into MYOB from Outlook you first need to specify a category for them, so that MYOB knows to treat them as suppliers, customers or employees. Apart from this, MYOB has clearly thought about how it will be used in practice: you can optionally ignore existing Outlook contacts and sync custom MYOB card fields, which are mapped to defined fields in your Outlook database.
Another welcome new feature is how you can duplicate items in a sales quote, or order into a supplier purchase order so you can quickly order goods to fulfil a customer request. Click Create PO in the quote window and an order is created with the line items that appeared in the sales quote. Accounting only transfers those items you buy, and we liked the way the purchase order’s Journal Memo field notes who the original quote was for, so you can correctly allocate the stock on delivery.
In previous versions of MYOB, there was no way of undoing bank reconciliations. MYOB now offers a basic reconciliation undo tool, although it’s an all-or-nothing approach. Once you’ve undone the reconciliation, you have to reconcile again from scratch. Also welcome is the ability to email or print remittance advice to customers to let them know payment is on its way. Usefully, you can do this directly from an individual payment window as well as a Command Centre batch command.