Minding their business

Everyone has a company they feel a special affinity toward—mine is MYOB. It’s not that I find accounting software or business management tools particularly exotic. But I appreciate the fact that, while Intuit’s Mac version of QuickBooks languished unsupported between 1998 and 2002, MYOB remained an active presence in the Mac market. You have to appreciate that level of loyalty to a customer base.

And it looks like MYOB is going to remain an active presence among Mac developers for a while, thanks in part to a move late last year that received very little attention. That was when Australia-based MYOB Ltd. sold its U.S. operations to a group owned by members of the MYOB US management team.

There are two good things about the change in ownership. First, MYOB’s customers are unlikely to notice the switch, at least in terms of upheaval. And second? “We can focus on [the U.S.] market specifically,” says Tom Nash, a managing partner for the new MYOB US. “And we can concentrate on what [this market’s] needs are, specifically.” That gives the company leeway to introduce additional services to existing products—and maybe even explore adding small business products to its offerings.

The focus was on business products instead of business dealings at MYOB’s Expo booth. On Tuesday, MYOB unveiled FirstEdge v2, a long-awaited follow-up to the small business program aimed at individual’s who don’t necessarily need the power of MYOB’s more robust AccountEdge program (which underwent an upgrade of its own last November). FirstEdge v2 adds a lot of new features—more than 100, according to Nash. Among the major additions are the ability to process credit cards directly from the invoice and payment windows, new Cash- and Accrual-based reports, a revamped report engine, and an Audit Trail tracking system for assured accuracy.

But don’t think that all these changes mean that FirstEdge is edging away from its roots as a tool aimed at small businesses. “We’re making sure it’s not loaded up with features that are complicated,” Nash said. “These are features that are expected by this audience.”

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