Maria Mullane profile image

Maria Mullane

Director at Aspire Solutions

Member Since November 2012

ACT,

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22 FOLLOWERS

MYOB Partner of the Year for New Zealand, 2012
Certified Xero Advisor
General Accounting and Inventory Guru

I have extensive background in hands on accounting for a wide range of businesses, from sole traders to ITOs, with a specialist knowledge of stock control and improving business efficiencies. For the past 16 years I have worked with numbers, and my passion is in empowering business owners to understand their businesses in order to continually improve and be successful.

Qualified skills

Accounting
Payroll
Bookkeeping
Business Consulting

Maria Mullane answered this question

Does every small business need an accountant ?

Sadly, in my extensive experience working with small businesses on their financial systems, I find that accountants often do not add a great deal of value where it counts.  Small businesses don't have a lot of free capital, and for what they can afford to spend on accountants they are often only getting the very minimum of advice and are otherwise "supported" by inexperienced juniors with little or no "on the ground" experience.  It is the hands on stuff that businesses owners need help with, to guide them through the day to day business activities which will ultimately make or break them.  

Also, and again I say this from a position of much experience, accountants often differ in what they deem to be the "right" thing to do, how a business should be structured for tax purposes, etc.  There are a lot of mixed messages out there, and it is a real minefield.

My answer is "No", not ALL SME businesses need an accountant.  If you have a good relationship with a business advisor or bookkeeper who has a solid understanding of business accounting processes at the coal face, coupled with a sound understanding of what is required by law, day to day compliance accounts can be easily prepared by them, as can the end of year returns.

With that said, a GOOD Accountant is worth their weight in gold!!  The hard part is knowing which are the good ones...  I have seen some real horror stories in my time, where the business owner has been charged thousands of dollars for horrendously inaccurate accounts.  All accountants have a disclaimer of liability, so who is ultimately to blame when that happens...?  Again, it is a minefield.

I think there should be more governance around setting up a business.  Perhaps some sort of qualification criteria, such as a business plan, a certain amount of working capital and proof of relevant background experience.  This might be a more effective method of safeguarding the small business owner (protecting them from themselves, if you will!) and reducing the huge number of small business failures.  It may also provide some sort of protection to others who are transacting with that business in the market.

 

Maria Mullane answered this question

Michael Reid CA
Michael Reid CA, Do All The Things! at Michael L Reid CA

Accounting

Do you think MYOB is the worst accounting package in the world?

Michael I think you are missing the big picture.

ALL cloud enabled software will be slower than what we have become used to with our whizzy desktop products, and will be improved over time.  The first PCs were not as fast nor did they run as smoothly or have as many features as modern PCs do; this is the life cycle of any new technology.

What MYOB have done with AccountRight Live is quite revolutionary in that it is a hybrid product.  Desktop or Cloud - you choose.  It is new technology and I don't believe you are comparing apples with apples (MYOB being cloud ENABLED but still a desktop installation, versus other BROWSER based products which essentially have no functionality or processing power).

In my extensive experience as an accounting software consultant for SMEs, unless the end user requirements are minimal (GST and basic financials only) then based on functionality and reporting alone I would still favour MYOB AccountRight Live over any browser based product.

It would also pay to remember that MYOB accounting software is designed with the USER in mind, with the intention of making the business owner's life easier by providing functionality and reporting that is CUSTOMISABLE in order to be relevant to THEM - they are the ones using it after all, otherwise why have accounting software at all?

 

 

Maria Mullane answered this question

What are the most popular accounting software for SMEs?

myob is by far the most commonly used and with the new cloud/desktop hybrid technology that they have just released (myob accountright live) myob now has a product for every scenario, and it truly does cover all the bases in terms of accessibility, functionality, ease of use and cost.
xero has a very different strategy to myob, in that is has been designed primarily to make the accountant's life easier and enabling them to supposedly "add value" by incorporating the monthly subscription into a monthly accounting fee structure; assuming that the business owner does not want or need to spend any significant time on their business financials on a day to day basis.  there is definitely a market for this type of product, just as there is with banklink and other cashbook type products, but most business owners are taking more interest in the inner workings of their business these days, especially since the gfc, and browser based saas products at this stage simply do not provide the functionality and reporting that is available within myob.
myob however, is designed primarily with the end user in mind.  i have owned my accounting software support business for 7 years and we have over 1000 businesses on our database.  from what we can see, myob is hugely dominant in the market as the leading provider of sme accounting software solutions, and in my opinion there are several very good reasons for this. 

Maria Mullane answered this question

What accounting software package should a small business use?

absolutely myob, and i'll tell you why.
for small businesses, the no1 reason to even have accounting software, is so that the business owners can access relevant information in order to make effective business decisions on a day to day basis.  otherwise they may as well forget about having any software at all, and stick to outsourcing the business accounting functions for compliance only, right?
the next most important considerations (to the business owner) in making this decision, are cost and useability.
whilst there is a small market for software that is 100% browser based, there are significant issues and questions around access to recent backups, ongoing (and indefinite) costs, and most of all our often unreliable internet speeds.   at the current time, browser based products also tend to be very limited in functionality, and therefore only really useful for businesses with very basic requirements. 
accounting software needs to be customisable also, so that users can generate reports to provide detail that is relevant to their own business - standard generic reporting only gives  you the tip of the iceberg and does not allow you to analyse the inner workings of your business at all.
myob covers all the bases.  they have a very cost effective, browser based software program (myob liveaccounts) that is superior to it's competitors, as well as being about half the price on a monthly basis, when comparing apples with apples.
for those who require the processing power of a desktop product, the myob accountright range of products are very rich in functionality, and they are also hugely customisable.  if you want to network the data you can, and you can also manage your own data storage and backups.  best of all you are not required to pay an ongoing monthly fee if you do not wish to, or if you cannot afford to.
and the icing on the cake, the most exciting development in sme accounting software in nz and australia, is the new myob accountright live product.  this is a modular, hybrid product, which allows the user to utilise cloud data storage and have multi-user online access if they wish, but they can also pull the data offline and work from their local machine at any time that they wish - the absolute best of both worlds. 
in short, where the browser based software may have been a handy stop-gap, myob's accountright live hybrid model is truly the next generation in sme accounting software and our company is proud to endorse myob.

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Maria Mullane answered this question

Does every small business need an accountant ?

Sadly, in my extensive experience working with small businesses on their financial systems, I find that accountants often do not add a great deal of value where it counts.  Small businesses don't have a lot of free capital, and for what they can afford to spend on accountants they are often only getting the very minimum of advice and are otherwise "supported" by inexperienced juniors with little or no "on the ground" experience.  It is the hands on stuff that businesses owners need help with, to guide them through the day to day business activities which will ultimately make or break them.  

Also, and again I say this from a position of much experience, accountants often differ in what they deem to be the "right" thing to do, how a business should be structured for tax purposes, etc.  There are a lot of mixed messages out there, and it is a real minefield.

My answer is "No", not ALL SME businesses need an accountant.  If you have a good relationship with a business advisor or bookkeeper who has a solid understanding of business accounting processes at the coal face, coupled with a sound understanding of what is required by law, day to day compliance accounts can be easily prepared by them, as can the end of year returns.

With that said, a GOOD Accountant is worth their weight in gold!!  The hard part is knowing which are the good ones...  I have seen some real horror stories in my time, where the business owner has been charged thousands of dollars for horrendously inaccurate accounts.  All accountants have a disclaimer of liability, so who is ultimately to blame when that happens...?  Again, it is a minefield.

I think there should be more governance around setting up a business.  Perhaps some sort of qualification criteria, such as a business plan, a certain amount of working capital and proof of relevant background experience.  This might be a more effective method of safeguarding the small business owner (protecting them from themselves, if you will!) and reducing the huge number of small business failures.  It may also provide some sort of protection to others who are transacting with that business in the market.

 

Maria Mullane answered this question

Michael Reid CA
Michael Reid CA, Do All The Things! at Michael L Reid CA

Accounting

Do you think MYOB is the worst accounting package in the world?

Michael I think you are missing the big picture.

ALL cloud enabled software will be slower than what we have become used to with our whizzy desktop products, and will be improved over time.  The first PCs were not as fast nor did they run as smoothly or have as many features as modern PCs do; this is the life cycle of any new technology.

What MYOB have done with AccountRight Live is quite revolutionary in that it is a hybrid product.  Desktop or Cloud - you choose.  It is new technology and I don't believe you are comparing apples with apples (MYOB being cloud ENABLED but still a desktop installation, versus other BROWSER based products which essentially have no functionality or processing power).

In my extensive experience as an accounting software consultant for SMEs, unless the end user requirements are minimal (GST and basic financials only) then based on functionality and reporting alone I would still favour MYOB AccountRight Live over any browser based product.

It would also pay to remember that MYOB accounting software is designed with the USER in mind, with the intention of making the business owner's life easier by providing functionality and reporting that is CUSTOMISABLE in order to be relevant to THEM - they are the ones using it after all, otherwise why have accounting software at all?

 

 

Maria Mullane answered this question

What are the most popular accounting software for SMEs?

myob is by far the most commonly used and with the new cloud/desktop hybrid technology that they have just released (myob accountright live) myob now has a product for every scenario, and it truly does cover all the bases in terms of accessibility, functionality, ease of use and cost.
xero has a very different strategy to myob, in that is has been designed primarily to make the accountant's life easier and enabling them to supposedly "add value" by incorporating the monthly subscription into a monthly accounting fee structure; assuming that the business owner does not want or need to spend any significant time on their business financials on a day to day basis.  there is definitely a market for this type of product, just as there is with banklink and other cashbook type products, but most business owners are taking more interest in the inner workings of their business these days, especially since the gfc, and browser based saas products at this stage simply do not provide the functionality and reporting that is available within myob.
myob however, is designed primarily with the end user in mind.  i have owned my accounting software support business for 7 years and we have over 1000 businesses on our database.  from what we can see, myob is hugely dominant in the market as the leading provider of sme accounting software solutions, and in my opinion there are several very good reasons for this. 

Maria Mullane answered this question

What accounting software package should a small business use?

absolutely myob, and i'll tell you why.
for small businesses, the no1 reason to even have accounting software, is so that the business owners can access relevant information in order to make effective business decisions on a day to day basis.  otherwise they may as well forget about having any software at all, and stick to outsourcing the business accounting functions for compliance only, right?
the next most important considerations (to the business owner) in making this decision, are cost and useability.
whilst there is a small market for software that is 100% browser based, there are significant issues and questions around access to recent backups, ongoing (and indefinite) costs, and most of all our often unreliable internet speeds.   at the current time, browser based products also tend to be very limited in functionality, and therefore only really useful for businesses with very basic requirements. 
accounting software needs to be customisable also, so that users can generate reports to provide detail that is relevant to their own business - standard generic reporting only gives  you the tip of the iceberg and does not allow you to analyse the inner workings of your business at all.
myob covers all the bases.  they have a very cost effective, browser based software program (myob liveaccounts) that is superior to it's competitors, as well as being about half the price on a monthly basis, when comparing apples with apples.
for those who require the processing power of a desktop product, the myob accountright range of products are very rich in functionality, and they are also hugely customisable.  if you want to network the data you can, and you can also manage your own data storage and backups.  best of all you are not required to pay an ongoing monthly fee if you do not wish to, or if you cannot afford to.
and the icing on the cake, the most exciting development in sme accounting software in nz and australia, is the new myob accountright live product.  this is a modular, hybrid product, which allows the user to utilise cloud data storage and have multi-user online access if they wish, but they can also pull the data offline and work from their local machine at any time that they wish - the absolute best of both worlds. 
in short, where the browser based software may have been a handy stop-gap, myob's accountright live hybrid model is truly the next generation in sme accounting software and our company is proud to endorse myob.

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