I Want to Buy MYOB — but Which One?

By Maria Landrelli *

MYOB have several different programs on the market to help businesses with their accounting and GST reporting requirements to suit the various stages of a business’s life cycle but which one would suit your business?

MYOB constantly brings out upgrade versions of their top end products, either to make things easier for the end user or to keep up with the tax office requirements, ie updated tax tables for employee pays.

Therefore, I would recommend you pick the program that suit’s your situation now, rather than what you might need in the future as all the MYOB products are fully upgradeable to the higher end product. For example, you could purchase Business Basics now but in 2 years time, you might need the features of MYOB Accounting Plus. In this case you can simply purchase an upgrade (difference in price between what you already have and the full version) and convert all your financial information to the higher end product.

But which MYOB will suit your business needs?

MYOB Business Basics is the baby of the family, and if you are a sole trader business ie a plumber or electrician, MYOB Business Basics would probably suit your situation. It will allow you to create Sales Invoices, keep track of who owes you money, when you have received payments from customers, as well as keeping track of the expenses you have paid for. It also has the entire reporting requirement to complete your Business Activity Statement as well as the information to complete your tax return. MYOB Business Basics also has a very basic database, to keep track of your customer’s and suppliers.

You could also use MYOB Business Basics if you have a self managed super fund or you have investment income and expenses you wish to keep track of, to complete your tax return.

MYOB Accounting suits a slightly larger business that wants a little bit more information from their accounting package and they have perhaps between 1-5 employees.

MYOB Accounting has all the features MYOB Business Basics, some of them slightly more sophisticated but you also get the Purchases module, which will keep track of who you owe money to, as well as when you have paid the supplier.

MYOB Accounting also has a full inventory module. The inventory module will allow you to keep track of stock levels, as you buy and sell your inventory, as well as keep track of any backorders you have with suppliers. And more importantly, any customer backorders, so you don’t miss out on a sale because you forgot the customer had ordered 12 items but you had only sent him six.

MYOB Accounting also has a more advanced job costing module, which will give you job or departmental reporting, ie you want to keep track of the income and expenses for a particular project.

MYOB Accounting Plus has all the features MYOB Accounting, plus it also has a fully integrated payroll module. MYOB Accounting Plus would suit a business that has five or more employees. MYOB will correctly calculate the pay each week, including Tax and Superannuation requirements, and it will also keep track of any annual leave or sick leave entitlements that the employee accrues. The real bonus comes at the end of the financial year, when you can print PAYG Payment Summaries (formerly group certificates) at a touch of a button. MYOB Accounting Plus also has a special report, which will comply with all the quarterly superannuation reporting to employees as required by law.

MYOB Accounting Plus also has a Time Billing Module, which suits anybody that needs to keep track of time spent on working for a client progressively and then invoice them at the end of a period of time, ie a solicitor or consultant.

MYOB Premier is the granddaddy of the family, and would suit larger businesses. MYOB Premier has everything MYOB Accounting Plus has but it also has the ability to be Multi User. ie You can have more than one person accessing the same company file at the same time, for example, Mary in Accounts Receivable can be processing Sales, while Jenny in Accounts Payable can be paying bills.

MYOB Premier can also be Multi Currency, ie you can keep foreign currency bank accounts, as well as invoice your customer in the their own currency, ie US$ or NZ$ and MYOB will then convert the information to AUS$ for your reporting requirements.

MYOB Premier also has a slightly more advanced inventory module, where you can have price matrixes for different customers and quantity breaks. Ie you can have a retail price as well as a wholesale price and you can have one price for sales between 1 and 10 items, and a different price, between 11 and 20 items.

MYOB products are one of the few accounting packages that have both a PC and Mac version available and they are interchangeable. ie If you have a Mac and your accountant has a PC, you can still give him/her a copy of your data file, and they will be able to open it on their machine and read your information to prepare your tax return.

MYOB Products are not just accounting tools to help you with your end of year tax return or BAS returns, but they can help you run your business if they are effectively use. For example, you can use the database in MYOB to create mail merge letters to your clients or suppliers.

MYOB also has a Test Drive version of the software that you can buy at most retailers, ie Harvey Norman or Office works for about $15.00 or you can download it direct from the MYOB web site. The Test Drive version allows you to trial the software before you buy, to ensure it is going to do the job for you. There are also many MYOB Certified Consultants who offer free demonstrations of the program in your own office. You can then explain what you want to use the program for and they will tell you which the best version to suit your needs.

Once you have purchased the right MYOB software for your needs, you may need some help, either setting up the program, or with some problems you might encounter after you have been using the program for awhile.

Many people buy accounting programs like MYOB because they think it will cut down on the amount of fees they pay their accountants each year. This is true providing the information given to the accountant is correct in the first place. It’s a case of “Rubbish in – Rubbish Out”.

MYOB products are easy to use, once they have been setup correctly, but the initial set up phase is critical to ensure that you will be getting the correct information out of the system. If the program is not set up correctly from the beginning or the information entered in is not properly allocated, your accountant may end up having to re-create the information or spend many hours correcting any mistakes and this can end up being more costly.

When it comes time to set up your MYOB to suit your business, there are many resources available to you, from class room style training course or self paced training manuals to on-site assistance.

There are many training institutes that offer class room style training, ie MYOB themselves or Community Colleges and TAFE courses, many of which are run by MYOB Certified Consultants. They are worthwhile attending, especially if you don’t particularly any accounting or bookkeeping knowledge, as they will give you the steps to setup the program correctly. You can also get on-site assistance from qualified people; sometimes your accountant will know somebody that specialises in MYOB or have somebody within their own office that can help you setup your file.

MYOB also has a panel of independent trainers call MYOB Certified Consultants, who are authorised by MYOB to offer on-site assistance on their behalf. This is your quality assurance stamp to say the person you have chosen to assist you, knows what they are doing. MYOB require these trainers to pass a stringent test to join the panel in the first place, and they are also required to sit yearly exams to ensure that they are completely up to date with all the latest versions as well as attending regular training sessions.

If you do get somebody to help you setup your MYOB program, it is best to do the training in small chunks. It is tempting to get somebody out for a full day, and try to cram as much information into that day as possible but the reality is, you will forget most of what you are shown on that first day.

It is best to only have somebody out for no more that about 4 to 5 hours on the first day. This would consist of about 2 to 3 hours to setup the program, depending on what was needed. For example, you may also wish to customise an invoice, as well as setting up your opening balances, then have no more than 2 hours training, to learn how to use the program.

After a few weeks of using the program, get the consultant back to check what you have done and give you further training. MYOB also have a number of Support Notes which can answer some of your common questions on their web site: www.myob.com.au

* Maria Landrelli runs a Sydney based business called Computer Accounting ‘Doctor’ which specializes in helping people with MYOB and bookkeeping problems. Established for over 10 years, she has helped hundreds of small business with their accounting needs and MYOB.

Contact: www.thebookkeeper.com.au

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