In Australia, before there were really only two players in the small business accounting software market, MYOB and QuickBooks with their traditional software.
However now, there are many more providers entering the market. I have prepared a comparison of some of the top accounting providers below.
Today there is new accounts software providers like Xero and Reckon and now even Quickbooks online and MYOB have come on-board with fresh new products for managing your business accounts and books.
These providers now provide bookkeeping online and offline for sole traders, including preparation for business activity statements (BAS) lodgements for small business and invoicing software. This books software are also scalable for bigger companies, so if you grow quickly you already have more options.
Quite often , this new software’s are hosted in the cloud and do many tasks including maintaining your invoices, reconciling with your bank account and recording book keeping for you.
Many of these more traditional providers mentioned above have been doing books for a while, but now have upgraded their software to make it more flexible. Now, you can make use of the new accounts software or apps anywhere on the go with your ipad, smartphone or desktop at home.
If you are looking for software online for book keeping or accounting to do it yourself or with help from your accountant, then there are some good options available for you today.
New technology has made these book keeping programs and tools easier to use.
If your book keeper or accountant does not have access to the same software that you use, you could always export the books and then take it to him for any more technical or advanced accounting that you need for him to look at.
I have this year purchased a few online book keeping + accounting software memberships for my own use and also trialled few of them to write this review so that you can benefit from my review.
This review is not in-depth, but covers and compares mainly the basic features needed for sole traders and small business accounting and also price comparisons for membership/subscription.
I will be updating with a more in-depth reviews at a later stage
Should I do Book keeping myself or with an accountant
Thankfully most of the new packages for these accounting programs allow you to do your book keeping yourself or even share the program access of your books, so that your accountant can also access/check and submit it.
There are two ways you could use most new bookkeeping/accounting tools, if you’re a small business or sole trader, you can either buy the software in your name and share access with your accountant or then you can let your accountant buy the software or create a account for you via their accounting portal.
From online discussion on forums, they have been instances where some accountants have refused to release access to their clients books, as the accountant is the main registrant for the book keeping software, so if you think this could be a problem then make sure you register your accounting software in your name (register as a subscriber with xero) and then give access to your accountant.
This way you will always have full access to your books without anybody being able to block you from it.
Small business accounting
If you’re a small business then you will probably need to do invoicing, bookkeeping, billing, expense recording. The choice you need to make is do I hire an accountant or do i do it myself.
With today’s new advanced software, you could easily give it a go yourself and if it doesn’t work out, you could always hire an accountant or bookkeeper.
The first thing you need to figure out is, If your accounting needs simple or more advanced features. If you needed software to just produce invoices, record expenses, and do book keeping tasks then you can do it yourself with this online accounts software. If you need to do much more than that like claim deductions, depreciation calculations etc , you can still use this software, but check with your accountant if they will accept the data from your accounting software or be able to access it to complete the more complex bits for you.
We will list the prices and cancellation fees for these services so you can make an informed decision before taking the plunge.
With so many new software’s and so many different features in these accounting programs, how do you choose the right one?
Choosing the right software for you will depend on three main factors
Feature and price comparison of software is given below.
Price or Cost of Online accounting software
Most of the accounting programs featured below has different price options based on the package ore membership that you purchase.
Reckon Accounting Software
The reason why I like and recommend this software is because it has a flexible system in its pricing and features for its accounting online package. You can start as low as $5 a month with their basic package and then upgrade with needed features as you go.
What you get for $5
- · Unlimited bank reconciliation
- · Budgeting, GST & BAS reports
- · Free 24/7 support
- · Multi-layered data security, SSL encryption
- · Share with accountant or bookkeeper
- · Free mobile app for Android or Iphone(IOS)
- · Invite unlimited team members
- · Data stored in Australia
Add on’s like invoicing ($3) and bank connection ($3) are cheap, so even if you add one these two to your basic $5 charge, you will end up with just $11 a month for the service.
That’s not a bad deal at all to start with and what I also like is with reckon software you can try it for free before buying – click here to try for free before you buy
Xero Accounting Software
Xero has a starter plan in Australia which is $25 a month and this allows you to have access to these features below
- · Send 5 invoices and quotes
- · Enter 5 bills
- · Reconcile 20 bank transactions
- · Payroll for 1 person
- · iPhone & Android apps
- · 24/7 support included
- · Invite your team members and accounting professionals any time you like.
Their standard plan is $50 a month and Premium plan is $60 a month. Get more details here while Xero is good accounts software for small business and sole traders, but I hate the fact that their pricing between US and Australia differs so much. Xero has a starter plan FOR USA which is currently priced as low as $6.30 a month (normally $9 for a month). If you are registering with XERO it is recommended that you register as a subscriber to have full access to your account.
MYOB Accounting Software
MYOB Australia’s Most popular small business accounting software is “MYOB essentials” for $35 a month (payroll for one) and “MYOB AccountRight Plus” for $85 a month. This Essentials online software can run on your desktop pc or mobile smartphone or tablet and features are given below.
- · Produce instant reports on PAYG, GST and BAS.
- · Invite your accountant or bookkeeper into your accounts to check your numbers.
- · Always up-to-date, and securely backed up online
- · Payroll for one
- · MYOB BankFeeds
- · Unlimited invoices
- · Link your bank account
- · Send invoices and manage your contacts on the go
MYOB has been in the game for long with their traditional offline desktop software, which now they also have this online version, which is cloud accounting for most small business and accessible from most devices anywhere.
They also have a starter plan for $25 a month.
Intuit’s flagship accounting product is QuickBooks Online is built for small and startup businesses and can be used by sole traders as well.
Quickbooks most popular online book keeping plans are the Simple Start Plan $13.50 a month now (normally $15) and the Essentials Plan for $20 a month now (normally $25)
The features on the starter plan is as below
- · Track your income, expenses & profits
- · Manage BAS & GST obligations
- · Download bank transactions
- · Works on PC, Mac, tablet & mobile
- · FREE payroll — up to 10 employees(with online account)
New technology in these accounting packages allows you to be connected and issue invoices on the go. They allow you to also record your expenses on the go to claim tax deductions and lodge your returns.
Training for use of accounting XERO, Reckon and MYOB software
Some of these providers provide some basic tutorials videos to use their software. You could always search on youtube for more training material. Learning platforms like Lynda.com also provide training in use of software with video training on their website You can also join or register with the providers website support or Q and A channel.
Reckon has their online support community site where members help each other out as well as the official reckon support staff. You could also join other accounting and finance online forums or community boards.
Some links for Training/Tips
- Training videos from Xero website https://www.xero.com/au/training/
- Learning tutorials from Lynda https://www.lynda.com/AccountRight-Live-tutorials/Paying-bills/135420/144978-4.html
- Quickbooks Tutorial https://www.lynda.com/QuickBooks-tutorials/QuickBooks-Pro-2014-Essential-Training/146231-2.html
- Good online community where you can join in and ask for help from others and reckon members and also contribute to beginners once you learn stuff. https://community.reckon.com/reckon
- Xeros Online YouTube channel with some learning videos and advertisement videos https://www.youtube.com/user/XeroOnlineAccounting/videos
Most online providers have packages that have a ‘BAS report’ that can be generated with a few clicks of the mouse and this report mimics the layout of the BAS form so you can even do away with paper if you like and file it electronically via a feature called SBR (Standard Business Reporting), the Australian standard for business-to-government reporting).
Cons or limitations
Access limitations can present itself when an accountant refuses to give access to your books for any payment or other reasons, but this can be avoided as I mentioned before by registering the membership in your name and then giving him access , rather than doing this the other way around ( accountant registering it in his name and giving you access)
You don’t get all features with a membership and have to pay more for extra features. With some software it is still recommended to check your bank reconciliations the first couple of times just to make sure its all good, when you import your business transactions from bank account into software.
Not all MYOB packages can be used with Mac computers, so please check if your package is compatible with a mac computer or device before purchasing from any service provider.
Most of these software’s, today are hosted on the cloud – which means you can login into your software from your smartphone, Ipad or desktop at home and update details anytime and anywhere and this makes it super convenient.
How can I cancel my account & terms and policy
Cancellation by service provider can be done if you violate their terms of service, but this normally happens only if you have done something seriously wrong to their software or website.
Users are also allowed to cancel their membership or registration according to the service provider terms and rules, which is different for each service provider and so we can’t cover this in details. Most of these service providers (Some links: QuickBooks , Reckon , MYOB , XERO ) provide a cancellation button from within their admin area when you login This can be had from the service provider on registration or from their website.
It is recommended that you export all of your data before cancelling your subscription with any of the accounts service provider.
Reckon cancellation policy:
*Accounts Hosted can be purchased on an annual or monthly subscription. New customers can sign up for one month use only and you pay on a month by month basis. Annual licence holders who wish to move to monthly pricing must cancel no later than 30 days before their expiry date.
Xero cancellation policy
Xero will send you a final bill after you’ve cancelled their subscription trial is free. You could always email them to see what your charges could be before cancellation. Instead of cancelling, you can reduce your monthly Xero subscription fee by downgrading your pricing plan. You can change back to a bigger plan at any time.
For cancellations, you can contact their customer service team on 1300 555 151. You can get more details about terms and conditions from the myob site over here
SINGLE TOUCH PAYROLL SOFTWARE
Single Touch Payroll (STP) is a government initiative to streamline business reporting obligations. STP has already started for employers with 20 or more employees (1 July 2018 being the mandated date).
It will be expanded to include employers with 19 or less employees from 1 July 2019, subject to the legislation being passed in parliament.
Small and large businesses with will need to seek and get accredited software providers in place or seek deferrals. Payroll software providers who have the intention of delivering Single Touch Payroll enabled solutions will be rolling out soon with some large accounting software providers already having products in the market.Below are some single touch payroll products.
- MYOB (https://www.myob.com/au/support/single-touch-payroll)
- HR3 payroll
- Xero Business and Payroll
- Sage (http://www.sage.com/au/resources/insights-and-trends/2017/single-touch-payroll)
- MYOB Exo Employer Services
- ADP® Payline®
- Reckon Accounts Hosted ( https://www.reckon.com/au/single-touch-payroll/)
See a full list of software developers related to STP over here
This is not an in-depth review , but I hope to write one soon. Hope I have covered enough in this article for you, to get a brief over view of features and price comparison for popular Australian accounts software service companies.
If you have tried any of these software or I have left something out that is worth mentioning please leave a comment below or get in touch with me via the contact page < Over here.