capsule review

MYOB AccountEdge 1.0

MYOB accounting has long been the most well-rounded small-business accounting package available for the Mac. with a wide range of high-end features, the program has always pleased accountants far more than QuickBooks Pro has. but while number crunchers have found MYOB a pleasure to use, the Mac version has always failed in two areas: it sometimes intimidated users who lacked an accounting background, and it couldn't match the features of the Windows version.

MYOB AccountEdge 1.0 is poised to change all that. Newly redesigned to be easier to use and to take advantage of the best features of Mac OS X, AccountEdge not only matches but surpasses the Windows version of MYOB, making it the best accounting package on any platform.

Refreshing Look

Right out of the box, AccountEdge is profoundly different from MYOB Accounting. Even running under Mac OS 9, the program has a decidedly Aqua air: the buttons are larger and photo-realistic, and the whole program looks softer and less intimidating. And while AccountEdge still has a flowchart-style interface, text descriptions make the buttons easier to understand, and the flowchart progression is more in line with typical accounting practices. For example, earlier versions of MYOB allowed you only to create sales and print invoices. But most companies create quotes first and then turn quotes into orders and invoices. AccountEdge now follows the same process.

AccountEdge has also improved when it comes to helping you collect money from clients and make deposits. Earlier versions assumed that you were depositing money in the bank the moment you received it. But most people typically deposit groups of checks, not individual checks, so the way MYOB recorded deposits bore no resemblance to what they actually looked like on a bank statement. AccountEdge now allows you to receive payments and group them as undeposited funds until you deposit them, reflecting the way you actually do business.

If you need to track inventory or bill your customers on an hourly basis, AccountEdge is up to the task. The inventory module supports multiple pricing levels, so you can give your customers price breaks when they purchase products in large quantities. Because AccountEdge supports foreign currencies, you can include them in your standard pricing schemes. And if you're accustomed to combining many inventory items into a single item  --  say, a Summer Sand Package comprising a beach ball, pail, and shovel  --  AccountEdge can create your package using the Auto Build function while managing individual inventory items behind the scenes.

Like the inventory module, AccountEdge's time-billing module lets you create a multitude of billable items for varying dollar amounts. Unfortunately, the program doesn't currently integrate with any Palm-based time-tracking programs, an option that would make managing time-billing as simple as syncing.

Refined Features

AccountEdge also improves on earlier versions' rudimentary contact-management capabilities. You can store up to five separate contacts for a single company, with complete, individualized details for each contact. You can log conversations with clients, compose e-mail or letters, and have AccountEdge remind you when it's time to contact your clients again. You can also review up to seven years of sales information for any client stored in your database.

MYOB has made vast improvements in AccountEdge's e-mail capabilities. The program can convert anything from a quote to a customer statement into a PDF file and attach it to a message in your favorite e-mail program. You create the body of your message in AccountEdge, pulling the e-mail address of your primary contact from that customer's contact card. Unfortunately, there's no way--short of typing it manually--to select the address of anyone other than your primary contact within the e-mail module, even if the address is stored in the database. And when you want to add a signature, you must either type it in or open the message in your e-mail program and add it.

Another drawback is that MYOB has converted the documentation from paper to HTML, with disastrous results. While the paper manual tended to be obtuse, you could still find the information you needed; the HTML-based version on the CD lacks detailed information and includes no diagrams or screen shots. You should use MYOB's continuously updated, searchable, Web-based manual.

Ready for Real Work

Like the last several versions of MYOB, AccountEdge is fully networkable and shares the same file format as its Windows-based sibling. If you're in an all-Mac environment, you can use AppleTalk, but a better choice is TCP/IP-based networking. If you plan to run AccountEdge in a multiuser environment, be aware that the program has a minor shortcoming when it comes to security. Although you can limit user access to specific portions of the program, access is granted on a password basis, not by individual user. This means that if you want to break access into several groups, such as sales, shipping, and accounting, everyone in each group will have the same password. You can work around the problem, but managing access this way gets cumbersome with large workgroups.

Aqua Velvet: MYOB AccountEdge's streamlined interface offers a clean look, intelligent navigation tools, and easy access to powerful accounting features.
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