At a Glance
MYOB has created an excellent encore to its high-end business-accounting package, AccountEdge. Although version 3 is little changed on the surface, it does offer a significant new feature: inventory management, which can help businesspeople keep better track of existing inventory, maintain histories of sold inventory, and project future needs. Other, minor improvements include enhanced reporting features and easier data entry. AccountEdge 3 will be a boon to inventory-intensive companies, but others may find few reasons to upgrade.
Inventory You Can Count On
While prior versions of AccountEdge included some basic inventory capabilities -- such as the ability to set up inventory items with multiple price points in a variety of currencies -- the program has always lacked many features that inventory-based businesses need. AccountEdge 3 provides excellent inventory reports -- from count sheets to stock alerts -- and gives you a five-year audit trail of every item sold, making it easy to see which customers are buying which kinds of items, and when. You can also see both the average price and the last price paid for products in your inventory
Minor Tweaks, Major Freak
AccountEdge 3 includes dozens of minor but useful enhancements, including drag-and-drop vCard support between OS X's Address Book and AccountEdge, a pop-up calendar and calculator in date and amount fields, and a new report viewer that allows you to customize your reports on-the-fly by dragging and dropping column headings and quickly changing filters.
Missing in the last OS X release, multiuser file access makes a reappearance in version 3, so it's again possible for Mac and Windows users to share AccountEdge data files across a network. However (and this is a huge however), when you use AccountEdge to share files, it's still possible to irreparably corrupt your data if the Mac hosting the data file is also being used to modify the data. Amazingly, MYOB did not include this information in the program's manual. Instead, we found it in the included support documentation and three links deep in the What's New section of MYOB's online help pages. Before you network, make sure you fully understand the online documentation.
Imperfect Online Payroll
MYOB now offers an inexpensive, ADP-like payroll service, called SurePayroll, that includes direct-deposit capabilities and allows local printing of payroll checks. But for some strange reason, this feature isn't integrated into AccountEdge's existing payroll functions -- which include the ability to download tax tables, print payroll checks, and store quarterly tax information. Instead, you process your payroll via MYOB's SurePayroll Web site and then download and import the transaction into AccountEdge. It's also more complicated to use than AccountEdge's other features. While we like the concept, SurePayroll has yet to reach its prime.
Macworld's Buying Advice
AccountEdge remains an excellent application for small businesses that need powerful inventory, invoicing, and accounting features in an easy-to-use package. While the program lacks integration with MYOB's online payroll service and it was difficult to find key information about the program's multiuser environment, these faults are eclipsed by AccountEdge 3's overall business value.
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