“I love this stuff,” Tom Nash told me during the WebEx demo of the newly released AccountEdge 2004 from MYOB. Tom is the Product Manager for MYOB. He was creating a report using the updated Reports feature of AccountEdge 2004 on his computer. I was on the other end of a phone line, with his desktop active in my browser. What a great way to demo a product!
The ‘stuff’ he was talking about is programming. That’s way over my head. I’m just another software user who expects everything to work perfectly, every time, in each new release. Talking with Tom gave me some insight on what programmers go through in order to make a product both powerful and user friendly.
I have been reviewing MYOB software since 1999, and every time the company releases a new edition I’m always pleased with their progress. MYOB AccountEdge 2004 is no exception. The outstanding new feature in this release is the addition of electronic transaction capabilities. Businesses that wish to process customer credit card purchases can now do this function with an MYOB merchant services account. Their merchant services rates are competitive and can be found through this link
Electronic vendor payments and direct deposit payroll are also new in AccountEdge 2004. Vendor payments setup and membership is automatically included with the Direct Deposit account, although separate transaction fees apply. Any business that uses separate processing for payroll services, credit card fees, and other electronic banking functions may find it handy to have all these transactions handled by one service.
I have enjoyed working with the new Help features in this version. There is a help icon in the bottom left of most windows that opens a drop down menu containing four options. The Tell Me How option has been very useful, as it gives a choice of topics for the window in which the user is working.
Also improved are report management and jobs organization. Reports can be customized and saved for future use. New reports include Statement of Cash Flow, Time billing Slip Detail and Summary by Job. If the user is using the Job Tracking feature, a warning in the preferences can make sure the all jobs get assigned to transactions.
My favorite new function is included in Forms customization. A watermark or background image can be inserted, and rounded borders can be created. There is a snap to grid for alignment, and color printing options. This was the first new feature I utilized for our business, and our invoices, packing slips and purchase orders now have a more professional look.
I put AccountEdge 2004 through its paces during the month of January, by generating and printing year end reports, taxes, and employee W-2’s and vendor 1099’s. The program performed flawlessly. Though the ability to print W-2’s and 1099’s was introduced in AccountEdge 2003, I didn’t really appreciate that upgrade until this year.
There are some features that I don’t use in MYOB because they don’t pertain to our business. I am going to report on them briefly, based on feedback from readers of my prior reviews.
Time billing is a useful feature for any business that needs to bill clients for time spent. Time can be entered either manually or by using a live clock feature. I’ve not had the need for this feature in our business, but have a correspondent who was searching for a program to replace TimeSlips, which was not being developed for OS X. This correspondent attended MacWorld and visited the MYOB team at their booth. This is what he reported: “We went with AccountEdge from MYOB. It’s not Timeslips, but then again, nothing is and probably won’t be. MYOB took the time to meet with us and explain things. So, I bought one full operating program and four licenses. We will be [getting] the network version and updates at no additional cost in April.”
AccountEdge was the first accounting application for Mac and OS X to offer a network version to users when AccountEdge 2003 was released. At that time I heard from several users who were extremely disappointed in the performance of the network feature. I was told that the program slowed to a complete crawl, making the feature virtually useless when two or more people were using the program at once. I put the correspondents in touch with MYOB and can report that for two of them, workarounds were devised for their systems. One user reported no satisfaction on the issue.
The MYOB programmers are a diligent lot though. I have to hand it to them, in my five years experience with their programs I have known them to listen to the feedback and take every measure they could to improve features based on user input. I have been told by MYOB that the improved Network version will be offered free to Network users who are currently enrolled in a support plan, when it is released in April of this year. I will look forward to hearing from any readers who can offer feedback on the Networking feature after it is released.
Another section of the program that I have never used is the Inventory section. I just don’t need it. Any reader feedback on that would be welcome.
AccountEdge has a lot of little conveniences built right into the program that are great timesavers. The user can use the plus/minus keys to change dates; shift plus brings up a calculator; and the ability to customize reports while the report is open are just a few. The more I use this program, the more I appreciate these small timesavers. And they are all very Mac intuitive, of course.
As always MYOB offers a free trial download of the program that can be accessed for 30 days. Start at this link for more information, and to find out about current special offers:
Without a doubt in my mind, MYOB offers the very best in accounting software for Macintosh users. The company has committed itself to development for this platform from day one. The features offered in the program cover every situation encountered by most small to medium sized businesses. There is a Chart of Accounts already developed for most type of businesses which can be used as is, or customized, or the user can build his own. The MYOB website has an online searchable database of FAQ’s that I have found very useful. Their printed manuals are well written with both text and graphic images for clarity.
PowerMac with at least 32MB RAM
40MB available Hard Disk space for program installation
35MB (average) additional for each company file
800×600 screen resolution running thousands of colors
MacOS 9x, OSX version 10.1 or later
For acceptable network performance:
G4 processor with at least 128MB RAM
100Base T or faster Ethernet network with AppleShare IP 6.2 or later for OS 9 or OS X server
For MYOB Business Services
Optional subscription based services. Application approval, Internet access and Mac OS 9.1 or later required.
MyMac.com rating: 5 out of 5, and getting better all the time.