It’s been a while since we last reviewed a ‘Mind Your Own Business’ product (here) and things have moved on a little since then, both in terms of program features and version numbers. This version, which can be used on both PC and Macintosh machines, appears considerably slicker than that previous release, but some aspects of its design are familiar.
Most important of these is the ‘hand-holding’ approach that begins as soon as you open the program. Rather than assuming that the user is a fully-fledged accountant capable of entering all the relevant business startup information without prompting, MYOB Accounting Plus 11 takes the more realistic approach that the user is likely to be a company employee with a basic grasp of accounting practices and little financial training. So there’s a selection of sample accounts and a walk-through that guides the user through the initial data entry process.
Of particular help is the illustrated menu system, which has headings such as ‘Accounts’, ‘Time Billing’, ‘Payroll’, ‘Stock Control’ and so on. Clicking on any of these brings up a simple flowchart showing the relevant actions for each. For example, under ‘Payroll’ you’ll find options for paying employees, printing payslips, handling P14s and P60s, plus a link to the transaction journal. All these are linked together so that the user begins to build a picture of how different actions relate to each other.
Underneath this cuddly user interface are the usual accounting rules, of course, so people who know what they’re doing can go straight to particular accounts, pay cheques, reconcile account balances, generate invoices and create new accounts as required. In this respect, MYOB Accounting Plus 11 is really no different to other products in this market sector, although it is more expensive than most.
That said, there are some useful features here, such as the ability to create ‘card file’ entries for customers and suppliers, linking all the information about them in one place; this is handy for tracking the best and worst payers over a particular period. There’s a good attempt at a time-billing section which will help consultants as well as service companies, plus a powerful payroll section that’s normally only found in more expensive products.
And the program can be linked to Word, so that you can create your own specific templates for different customers, rather than relying on basic forms. Excel is also supported directly, as a means of generating reports based on the numbers contained in a particular set of accounts. Reports can also be generated in HTML and displayed via a browser. This works well, but we’d have liked to see better use of graphs, since this is the best way to visualise accounts information.
When it comes to company accounting, people tend to stick with products that they already know, because the real or perceived hassle of moving all existing data to a new program is seen as a significant hurdle. MYOB 11 does have an import function, but only for comma-separated or tab-separated text files, so there would still be quite a lot of work involved if you wanted to move from a competitor’s product.
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