The not quite Microsoft option


Reckon Professional PartnerSome years ago Microsoft tried to buy Intuit (the company that produces QuickBooks). The US equivalent of our Commerce Commission deemed such a move anti-competitive - so Intuit survives today. Microsoft has ceased supporting MS Money - which is more akin to Quicken - the smaller brother to QuickBooks - with which it tried to compete.

A long time ago I compared QuickBooks 5 with MYOB 8. Each had its own strengths - but Intuit's R&D budget was greater than MYOB's turnover. This has shown as over time Intuit was able to address its weaknesses fairly quickly. MYOB has since added significantly to its range, but the basic accounting package was still embedded until recently in an old-fashioned typical accountant's structure.

Recently Reckon in NZ has started to release QuickBooks products as Reckon Accounts. There is little difference to the product - just seems to be marketing changes behind the scenes. Their newest alternative product (Reckon One) is not based on QuickBooks, and like Xero and MYOB's low-end product, is only available over the internet.

Apart from not being limited to one financial year, Reckon also doesn't require account numbers, and generally works much more the way non-accountants think.

One lesser featured area that is generally unmatched is the accountant's copy. You take an accountant's copy (usually after we have reviewed it) and send it to us. You keep working, while we do your accounts. We then send back not only your completed accounts but also an update to Reckon Accounts. When loaded in to your system, it brings your copy into balance with the accounts. This feature is a powerful time-saver.

Support for Reckon accounts was outsourced to IBM in Delhi - but they have now arranged for agents (as opposed to end-users) to have access to their Australian support team. So far this has been a vast improvement.

As you may suspect from the fact that there's more information here than on the others, we use QuickBooks / Reckon Accounts for our own accounts, as well as being a long-time support agent for clients. Switching accounting systems is quite a big job, so we haven't been tempted to do that - despite being enticed to switch by some attractive offers. However, their move to license desktop software much the same way they license cloud software (although their main product is priced differently from other products).

For further information on Reckon Accounts, check out Reckon's website, or talk with us.