Price: Full Version $99
Less is more, so the old saying goes. MYOB takes a forward step backward with their new accounting program FirstEdge, which gives small business owners and entrepreneurs a piece of workable software that is not bloatware. FirstEdge is a powerful accounting program that has been slimmed down for the one-person business. Bookkeeping can be a daunting task for those who are not familiar with balance sheets and profit and loss statements. FirstEdge is written in a way so that if you can keep track of a checkbook, you can manage your finances with this program.
Your FirstEdge package comes with the usual CD, set-up guide, users guide, and information on how to register and get forms, and a list of certified MYOB consultants. Where this starter package excels however is a small printed manual called “Accounting 101”. This amazed me. Here is a company who cares so much about the audience for this software that they actually wrote a simple, easy to understand guide on how accounting works. (Also available on their website as a PDF.)
“Keep this in mind, you don’t have to be an accountant to run MYOB. All too often small business owners use this line to shun doing any type of record keeping, to their own detriment. The reality is, I’m not a mechanic but I can drive a car.” This quote from the Accounting 101 guide is a good example of the usability of FirstEdge. Of course, if you are not used to keeping financial records there will be a learning curve, just like when you first started to drive.
Installation and set up were problem free for me. The program requires 50mb of free space on the hard drive. The installation CD will install either on 8.6-9x, or OSX, and I installed the program on both systems with no problems on either. When ready to set up, the user will find that FirstEdge has account lists which are geared specifically to many types of small business. Simply choose your business type and FirstEdge automatically gives you an accounts list which conforms to that type of business. These lists are customizable as well, and can be changed later on down the road.
The command center in FirstEdge gives the user a choice of three accounting functions: accounts, banking, and sales. The program is set up on both a cash and accrual basis; cash for purchases and accruals for sales. There is no payroll feature. There is an advantage to no payroll feature, and that is no yearly expenditure for employment tax schedules that have to be purchased. The downside is calculating quarterly taxes for deposit with the Feds. This is where the user might want to contract the services of a good accountant, if not familiar with these types of calculations. Don’t plan on spending a whole lot of time and money with the accountant, though. The reports feature will let you print out all the information you need to take with you.
Documentation is very good. FirstEdge comes with a printed manual which covers many basic accounting functions; the Accounting 101 pamphlet mentioned above; a Getting Started guide; and information on how to order standard and customized forms such as checks and invoices for this application. I should mention here that FirstEdge allows the user to customize forms rather than purchase forms if they are using a plain paper printer. FirstEdge is also availabe from their website as a download, but for the same price I would choose to order this program to get the documentation.
MYOB offers free on-line support at their website through their knowledge base, which answers a lot of questions on how the programs work. I have found that the website support works best using Internet Explorer, rather than Netscape. They also have support plans which can be purchased. For people who are not used to how accounting programs work, I would recommend at least the 90 day support plan for $49. At this price the user receives toll free, priority, unlimited calling and email support for the time period. MYOB also offers annual technical support with the same features for a full year, for $189. They also have a pay per call support at $4/minute, $40 minimum. For that, a person might as well go ahead and purchase at least the 90 day plan.
The real freedom with FirstEdge is that it gives those people who have wonderful talents in other areas a chance to move forward without necessarily being accounting whizzes. So many small businesses fail simply because the owner, who is everything from creative genius to janitor, doesn’t take the time to properly manage income/outflow. Hiring a bookkeeper can be an unnecessary expense to the small businessperson who only needs a little bit of discipline to sit down and input the information, and a powerful accounting software package like MYOB FirstEdge, to help make his or her business succeed.
I liked everything about this software, except that it doesn’t have a feature to allow payables posting for people who want to keep track of monies owed. Other than that, I highly recommend it and give it a rating of four and a half mac mice.
Minimum requirements for full installation:
PowerMac or equivalent with 32MB RAM
40MB of available Hard Disk space* for program installation
Average of 25MB additional HD space for each company file maintained with FirstEdge
800×600 screen resolution
Mac OS 8.6, 9.x, OS X version 10.1
For FirstEdge Learning Center help system and other e-features:
Version 4 or higher of either Microsoft Internet Explorer* or Netscape Navigator
QuickTime 4.0* or higher
Adobe Acrobat Reader 4*
Recommended for Better Performance:
iMac, G3 or G4 with 64 MB RAM
*Note: Microsoft IE 5, QuickTime 5 and Adobe Acrobat Reader 5 included with FirstEdge. Installation requires additional 16MB of free RAM with Virtual Memory plus 50MB available HD space