MYOB for Windows and Mac

By Wayne Kawamoto | Posted June 30, 2003
A bigger player on the Mac than in Windows, MYOB offers powerful accounting solutions for small businesses. For Windows — a crowded and competitive field that's held mainly by Peachtree and Intuit's QuickBooks — the company offers MYOB Plus version 12. And for the Macintosh, where the program generally rules, there's AccountEdge for Mac OS X version 3 and the entry-level FirstEdge. MYOB's programs offer relatively few Web-based features, but MYOB Plus version 12 is a definite contender in the Windows world that deserves more respect than it gets. And on the Mac, there's no reason to use any other program.

New Business
MYOB's newest versions, Plus for Windows and AccountEdge for Mac OS X, come with several enhancements and new features. But these additions, while worthy, may not be enough to encourage most users to upgrade from prior versions.

The biggest enhancement is improved inventory management. The programs can now create an inventory audit path, provide running balances for quantities on hand and the value of items, and show how inventory arrived at current values and quantities. The programs also track inventory movement, both cash and non-cash; reconcile and recap inventory value on past dates; and let users edit and modify inventory transfers.

Enhanced category tracking helps business owners track profits through multiple lines of business, funds, departments and categories and provides reports that are specific to each. MYOB Plus can track categories over specific periods or all of the time, and assign categories to all transactions or only to selected ones.

MYOB has always offered thorough reporting capabilities with which to view and analyze data. The modified report viewer makes it easier to customize reports by applying scalable columns and filters, and preview printouts. You can now view both cash or accrual-based balance sheets and profit & loss reports. Both programs have also added a useful new memo field that helps track why money was spent and where it was received. This memo field accepts a generous 255 alphanumeric characters on each line.

On the Mac, in addition, AccountEdge offers vCard compatibility that lets you drag and drop contact information to and from MYOB AccountEdge and other vCard compatible applications, which include the Mac OS X Address Book, Apple's iPod and Microsoft Entourage.

Minding Your Business
Straight from the box, MYOB Plus installed without a hitch on our test system. The program's set up assistant provided a generous number of sample accounts that can work for various service and retail businesses, and it walked us through the process of configuring the program for our fictional service and retail businesses. If you like, you can import financial data from Quicken and QuickBooks.

MYOB serves as an intuitive command center that offers quick access to its major features, and offers straight-forward modules for banking, sales, accounts, time billing, purchases, payroll and inventory. The modules do a good job of shielding users from accounting terms, the mundane debits and credits. For example, the banking module resembles a common checkbook, which makes it easy to enter sales and customer payments.

The Command Center also offers a to-do list, search function, and analysis, and a card file that organizes and lists all customers, vendors, and employees in a single place and the program maintains useful purchase history-up to five year's worth.

MYOB pioneered the intuitive flowchart for each accounting area, and others quickly copied it. This feature helps users navigate through its accounting processes. For example, under 'Payroll,' the program offers options for paying employees, printing payslips and more, and presents a flow for how these tasks should be performed.

MYOB maintains past strengths, including multi-user support; professional time and billing that will appeal to service companies; multiple currency support, data links to Microsoft Word; multiple pricing levels; automatic back ordering; and the ability to import downloaded online bank statements and reconcile accounts. Another plus is MYOB's new online payroll service that performs payroll processing, tax reporting and filing, and handles direct deposits.

As before, reporting capabilities are thorough and offer a comprehensive number of options. MYOB Plus comes with some 177 reports, while AccountEdge has some 165 reports. There's also generous capability to modify both data selection and layout and distribute data into Excel and HTML.

The programs' payroll features help make sense of complicated payroll processes. The program competently applies pre-tax deductions, insurance benefits, 401(k) considerations and more. As you would expect, MYOB Plus and AccountEdge offer cross-platform company file compatibility so you may share files between operating systems. This allows an MYOB Plus user, for example, to open an AccountEdge company file and vice versa. MYOB also offers a free copy of MYOB software for use by a company's accountant.

Compared with Peachtree and Intuit's QuickBooks, MYOB Plus is somewhat lacking in Web features. In particular, MYOB lacks e-commerce/online storefront modules, data sharing via the Web and other features that are available in some accounting packages. These features aren't necessary for everyone, but can be very important to some.

Both MYOB Plus and AccountEdge offer 30 days of free tech support, but MYOB is in the process of changing the pricing of its support plans at this time.

Wrap Up
For both Windows and Mac, MYOB offers powerful accounting solutions that can competently manage and organize the finances of a small business. On the Windows side, MYOB Plus version 12 is definite competition for Peachtree Complete and QuickBooks. On the Mac, Account Edge for Mac OS X mostly stands alone. Both are well worth a look.

MYOB Plus version is priced at $229 and multi-user workstation licenses are priced at $99 each. MYOB AccountEdge version 3 for Mac OS X is priced at $249. The program supports OS version 10.1 and later and Mac OS 8.6 and 9.x. Multi-User workstation licenses for AccountEge are also priced at $99 each.

In addition to MYOB AccountEdge version 3 for Mac OS X, MYOB also offers MYOB FirstEdge, a new entry-level business product for Mac OS X. MYOB FirstEdge tracks the basics: banking, sales, and expense tracking, and more, and is designed for home-based business owners, legal and accounting professionals, business consultants, organization or youth club managers and more. Available for Mac OS 8.6 and above, FirstEdge is priced at $99.

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