Reviewed Accounting Apps: MYOB, Xero, And Quickbooks

Accounting
  • A lot of small business owners struggle with accounting but thanks to technological advancements most of the tasks can be trusted to accounting software. 
  • MYOB, XERO and Quickbooks are among the well-known accounting software that have proven to work effectively. 
  • If you can't decide which accounting software to use, read this article and it will help you make up your mind. 

Accounting software

When I was building my very first start-up, (clap clap clap) I had no idea about any of the accounting requirements or even if i needed to use any sort of accounting software. Not only did I want the best value for my money, but I wanted to get the accounting software that matched my microbusiness. For the record, I am a sole trader with limited funds so with the three accounting software I chose to briefly review (MYOB, Xero and Quickbooks) I went with the most basic of subscription plans available.

  • MYOB Essentials Accounting $29/month - I’ve seen the MYOB brand floating around everywhere for a while, and on Savvy as well. So I decided to see what the hype was all about. I was extremely amused to find out that MYOB was an acronym for Mind Your Own Business. Pricey, but the fact that TAFE courses in Accounting and Bookkeeping include MYOB skills probably says something about making it easy to find someone to help you use the accounting software .
  • XERO Starter $25/month - A New Zealand based company, though with many Australian customers. Data in this accounting software is stored on servers offshore. I can say I am not a major fan of XERO just from my basic user experience with it.
  • Quickbooks Simple Start $15/month - Founded it in the US but has an Australian version which complies with all Australian accounting requirements. It is also the cheapest accounting software among the three, but nonetheless, it doesn’t disappoint. Just absolutely beautiful.

User Interface

The MYOB dashboard is very simple, and gives a very comprehensive but quick look at the current Money In, Money Out, Banking, Sales Target and Invoices. I love the sleek minimalist look because it’s so simple, modern, and clean. The tabs are very easy to navigate around. Really, MYOB cuts the crap and goes straight to point, and looks really professional. So if you are looking for a user-friendly accounting software, MYOB is a great option to consider. 

As for Xero, I found that the dashboard was a little cluttered. I thought the graphs were visually appealing, but a little unnecessary.  One thing I really liked about Xero was its accessibility, where you can easily add a new invoice or bill straight from the dashboard, but that came in expense of a clean interface. Tabs were easy to navigate as well. Overall, if I had to choose an accounting software, I'd definitely prefer MYOB over Xero.  

Quickbooks was a pleasant surprise. I fell in love with the dashboard of this accounting software at first sight. It is very infographic-like and has a modern, simple interface, while still making it colourful. Just amazing. What I also loved about it was the ability to automatically email customers for their invoice. Tabs are incredibly easy to navigate around, because there aren’t so many of them in the first place, reducing the need to hunt around. Overall, absolutely loved Quickbooks and I recommend it to anyone who is looking for accounting software!

User Experience

Inventory tracking is not part of either MYOB Essentials, Xero Starter, or Quickbooks Simple Start. Not quite a big deal for me, to be honest.

As for invoicing, both MYOB and the Quickbooks have unlimited invoices and bills, while Xero is limited to five as well as bill transactions. I think that Xero is severely lacking as accounting software in this regard.

Payroll features in MYOB allow for unlimited employees (although as a microbusiness would not be much of a concern). As for Quickbooks, there is an extra complicated payment system with regards to the payment add-ons. For Xero, it only allows for one employee. This is annoying for me if I decide to expand. So again, another downside to Xero. A cause of many woeful calls for Xero also includes the lengthy process to draft a bill, approve then authorise, then apply separately to a multi-payment on the bank feed. Well. Kudos.

Multi-Device Support

One of the major issues I always look out for is multi device support because realistically speaking multi-device support should be a given. The winner in this category amoung accounting app goes to MYOB because aside from the usual Android and iPhone app, they have a Windows 8 app!

Customer Service and Help Community

MYOB has a forum, phone support and live chat which I think is a huge bonus for quick answers. For those who want training, splash around some extra $$$ and the accounting software gives them training sessions. Xero offers “unlimited, around the clock email support and detailed online help centre.” They also have online webinars, a Xero TV which is a video hub and a Q&A forum. I’m not sure if they are actually necessary - it seems rather overdone with me, and I’m not sure if I will be bothered to watch it. Quickbooks has a lower scale support system in place, with a Q&A forum, live chat and email support, but is by no means insufficient. There are various accounting software to choose from and it all comes down to the needs of your business. Take a look at the chart about the features of 3 accounting software and maybe it'll be a helping hand to you. 

Summary of features:

  MYOB Xero Quickboooks
Price $29 $25 $15
Free Trial? Yes Yes Yes
Inventory tracking No No No
Invoicing Unlimited Until 15 Unlimited
Payroll Unlimited One Add-on
Bank tracking Yes Yes Yes
Customise invoices Yes Yes Yes
Support & Help Extensive Extensive Extensive
Multi-Device? Yes Yes Yes

Do you know other accounting software that is sharing?


Ling Lee

at Digital Marketing and Personal Branding


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Phil Khor

Phil Khor , Founder at SavvySME

Wow this is really helpful, esp that summary of features at the end. Thanks for sharing Ling.

Michael Prior

Michael Prior , Principal at PB Advisory Group

Firstly, I am a Xero certified advisor, however use both MYOB and Xero with my clients. While your attempt to provide an analysis is commendable I feel that you should have considered this from your needs. For example you criticise Xero for only providing 5 invoices per month yet you are a microbusiness (your words). Why would you need to issue more than 5 invoices a month? Having dealt with both MYOB support and Xero Support, I am continually amazed at the response time from Xero, where as with MYOB it has not been uncommon to be on hold for 30 - 45 mins. Finally, in assessing accounting applications you need to determine your wants and "must have" features. Once you do this the appropriate package will be identified be it MYOB, Xero or Quickbooks. It truly is horses for courses.

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