With over 15 years experience working with small and medium business owners I’ve had a lot of experience with reviewing new software programs, implementing new accounting systems as well as making sure business owners are using their accounting system in the best way possible for their advantage.
MYOB made a huge impact and has dominated in this area, boosted along by the introduction of the GST and the need to keep more updated records for regular BAS preparation. MYOB in my opinion, up until the last year or so, suited the needs of the majority of small businesses (even a lot of medium sized businesses) and was more often than not, my first choice.
Harnessing advancements in technology, Xero has entered the accounting software market and is (quickly) changing all that. I’ve been reading with interest the opinions of “those in the know” regarding Xero and cloud computing and the changes to bookkeeping and the accounting industry in general. To keep up with the latest in what’s happening, I recently attended the roadshows for both Xero accounting software and MYOB, which I found quite interesting (more below).
The contrast between the attendees at the Xero roadshow and those at the MYOB roadshow were clear and paint quite a picture. There was a lot more colour, a buzz about the place generally and you could go as far to say people were “excited” about the Xero product. On the other hand, the MYOB roadshow attendees generally were the image that springs to mind when you think “accountant”, enough said. Generally, most attendees would have walked away satisfied that MYOB is (very) busily working away at updating their product to be more “innovative” and to work more efficiently in the cloud environment.
To be honest, I have a foot in both the Xero and MYOB camps. However, I must say that some of the talk about Xero and the cloud in general, reminds me of the Chicken Little fairytale. Is the sky really going to fall in with these changes?… In my mind these changes are advancements that provide the ability to add increased value to my clients’ business.
The way I see it, the old 80/20 rule springs to my mind. SME’s can cost effectively gain access to improved accounting IT functionality and accountants can harness it to provide real value to clients. Let’s systemise and make totally efficient the routine 80% of the basic accounts/bookkeeping function that is essentially repetitive. Why waste time on that?
What we’re left with then is the 20% that requires greater attention and provides the biggest opportunities to improve the business’ performance. This leads to having reliable reports that: are updated in real-time; are remotely accessible 24/7; and are produced in the most cost-efficient manner. This leaves time and budgets available to be able to implement solutions that will truly make the business better and ultimately, a mindset change. Sounds good to me 🙂