MYOB AccountEdge – Accounting Software for Macintosh
I have been a regular user of AccountEdge since September of 1999, having switched when intuit could not guarantee a Y2K patch for QuickBooks Pro. Since MYOB has a new version of the software, I thought this would be a good time to take a look at what other accounting programs for Macintosh were being offered. I was surprised to see three other robust programs available. Reading the specs though I could see they were designed for smaller businesses such as sole proprietorships, or specific types of businesses (i.e., retail), or individuals. The two big players on the market for small to medium businesses are still QuickBooks Pro and MYOB AccountEdge (or Peachtree, if you are running an Intel Mac.) I know that MYOB maintains a commitment to continue to develop for the Macintosh platform. This is not necessarily so for Intuit and definitely not for Peachtree. And, Intuit recently had some major issues with user data being lost. http://db.tidbits.com/article/9378.
It’s not my intention to review MYOB AccountEdge by using QuickBooks Pro as their foil. The truth is that there are very few Accounting programs that are supported on a Macintosh. And even though I always give kudos to MYOB for their support of the Macintosh platform, there are always features that can be improved upon. Most notably for me was the length of time it took MYOB to be up and running for the OS 10.5 Panther release. At this point in time, MYOB has the following statement on the website:
AccountEdge and AccountEdge Network Edition 2008 are certified compatible with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. Make sure you are on the latest version by opening the Help menu from the top menu bar and choosing Check for Product Updates from the Help menu. Following is a list of known issues.
Payroll forms – In order to run any payroll forms – including W-2s – at the end of the year, you will need to download an updated Payroll Forms Viewer. This update can be accessed by opening AccountEdge, navigating to the Help menu, and then selecting Check For Updates.
Upgrading files – When opening a file from a previous version, you may receive an “Upgrade Assistant is unable to process the company file” error message. You must first upgrade the file using the Upgrade Assistant found in your MYOB AccountEdge 2008 applications directory.
New Features in MYOB AccountEdge 2008
Backup to .mac. is by far one the best new feature for my money. This offsite backup capability for .mac account holders is useful for businesses that do not have any other offsite backup in place. When the backup command is selected, there is an option to back up to disk, or to .mac. The user also has the option to back up only the company file which saves on storage space. I have to say that I am having problems with this new feature, and had hoped to have it solved before posting this review. My workaround right now is to back my company file up to disc, then open .mac and upload the file from there. My past experience with this company on issues like this is that they are eventually taken care of. It could be that there is a conflict on my end as well. I’ve yet to sign up for a support plan, but will be doing so.
iCal integration is a great tool for people who use iCal on a regular basis. One advantage I can see to this is if the user has a customer that is historically late with payments. Publishing the invoice to iCal will bring up a reminder to contact the customer when the invoice is due. Other reminders such as bill payments and recording recurring transactions can also be sent to iCal just by selecting the checkbox in the open window.
New Payroll features include better sick leave and vacation tracking, and auto calculating the same. This is a great feature both the payroll clerk and employee will benefit from.
Statements have been updates to be more customizable. This is a great new feature, as in prior versions the statements could be confusing to some customers who did not pay their entire invoice in full.
The Command Center has a new look. It’s OK, not really necessary but nice to see. Also added to the command center is a feature called Task Drawer. It is a slide out window controlled by a button on the bottom right edge of the Command Center. The Task Drawer holds a list of the most common functions the user can customize to his or her specific tasks.
The W-2 and W-3 function in AccountEdge 2008 is greatly improved from earlier versions of the software. Using Forms Viewer, the user can now print plain paper copies of these forms, eliminating the need to purchase costly pre-printed forms from third party vendors.
There are other new features in AccountEdge 2008 that can improve productivity once the user becomes familiar with them. Command +N now bring up new, accounts, jobs, invoices, depending on the window the user is working in. Previously this command would only bring up a new window. If you are using direct deposit for payroll, you can now email pay-stubs to the employees, saving on printing.
MYOB offers it’s Accounting 101 tutorial for people who are just starting out, or need a refresher course in Accounting. I would recommend that anyone who is considering this software be somewhat familiar with standard accounting practices, however.
New customers can take advantage of an online training webinar. For a fee, MYOB offers Full Service Payroll, Credit Card Processing, Direct Deposit, eFiling, and Vendor Payment services. I’ve not tried any of these, but I can see how they would make sense for a small business that doesn’t want to spend a lot of time taking care of these types of tasks.
If you are running Leopard (OS 10.5) make sure all your software updates have been downloaded and installed., including 10.5.1. Also helpful is the latest version of stuffit expander 12.0.1 Once MYOB AccountEdge is installed, choose check for updates from your MYOB products under the help menu, download and install. Ancillary programs such as Forms Viewer need to be updated the same way, by looking under the help menu. Make sure the most current tax tables are loaded by choosing that feature once the program is fully installed and updated.
I hear a lot of complaining about paid support plans, and read about problems with them on the message boards. I’d like to speak up in defense of paid support plans. In one sense it is no different from purchasing AppleCare for hardware products. It’s there if you need it, and hopefully you don’t. Also, the company has to have staff on hand for those who do need help with the software. I imagine there are a percentage of users who know little about accounting and use the support plans for reasons other than software glitches. That said, when comparing cost of ownership including the support plan over a three year period, between QuickBooks and MYOB, MYOB offers the best value for money.
There is a user discussion board accessible through the MYOB site. I have found it useful to read through some of the discussions. One thread recently reported that networked machines on Leopard using file-connect have noticed an improvement is speed. Speed has been an issue since the introduction of the Networked version of AccountEdge, so I’m glad to see that has been improved upon.
A trial version of this software is available for 30 days, and support is free for the first 30 days.
MYOB offers a free Accountant’s Version of the software to qualified users.
MYOB AccountEdge and AccountEdge Network Edition 2008 version 8 System Requirements
Minimum requirements for full installation:
◦ Mac OS X v10.3.9 or later
◦ PowerMac G3 or later with at least 128 MB RAM
◦ 100MB of available Hard Disk space for program installation. 245MB for full installation
◦ Average of 35 MB additional HD space for each company file maintained with MYOB AccountEdge
◦ 1024×768 screen resolution running thousands of colors
Help System, Payroll Updates and Business Services:
◦ Internet access required for payroll updates and forms, as well as Internet-based Business Services
◦ Safari or Firefox
◦ QuickTime 5.0 or higher
◦ AccountEdge Network Edition recommended for multi-user networking
◦ G5 processor or better with at least 1 GB RAM
◦ 100BaseT or faster Ethernet network
Microsoft Office connection requires:
◦ Microsoft Word® X and 2004
◦ Microsoft Excel® X and 2004
Intel-Based Mac Compatibility:
◦ AccountEdge v7 and above will run natively on both Intel-based and PowerPC Macs.
1. Mac OS X 10.4 or later is required for syncing with Mac Address Book. 2. (UNIX File System) formatted hard drives are not supported