For years now I’ve been handling my accounting needs with MoneyWorks:
The MoneyWorks family of accounting software provides a range of feature rich but easy-to-use solutions for small-to-medium organisations.
MoneyWorks is a solid product
I’ve been very happy with it, and recommend it to others who need to run a business. Since it’s created in New Zealand it definitely understands NZ conditions. In fact, when it comes time to do a GST return it even prints out a guide form with all the relevant boxes numbered. All you have to do is find the matching box number on the Inland Revenue online or printed form and transfer the number.
For many years MoneyWorks has kept my invoices going out and I’ve recorded payments that come in or go out. It’s given me cash flows and reports, statements, and all the stuff I need to run the money side of my business.
Truth be told, though, it probably exceeds my humble needs. And upgrade costs are a bit of a killer for me.
Someone who knows what she’s doing
In the last year I’ve given up on doing my own accounts. I create and send invoices, but a wonderful person called Linda comes to my home once or twice a month and handles all the other activities for my accounts: filing bits of paper, reconciling bank statements, inputting payments and so on.
If I’d wanted to be an accountant I wouldn’t have done all the other jobs I’ve done in my life. Consequently when I (eventually) work on my accounts, I’m just not interested, don’t have all the relevant skills and end up making a mess of it. Linda has transformed my book-keeping from an ongoing nightmare to a sensible, ordered system that allows complete and accurate records to go to the accountant at the end of each financial year.
The Xero webinar
During the webinar the host displayed his computer screen while he worked with Xero, and voice was handled by conference call on the phone. I found this a little bizarre — I’d expected something more like iChat, I guess — but apparently it often works like this.
What Xero offers
Xero looks appealing, using a nifty Ajax-y interface, with learning and auto-complete and such. It’s an online service, so there’s nothing to install on your own computer.
It pulls in feeds from the major banks to keep your accounts right up-to-date without needing to re-key everything. How sensible is that! Except that it doesn’t yet do that with my preferred bank. However, I can still manually download statements from my bank and upload them to Xero.
Linda and I liked the look of Xero, asked a few pertinent questions and now need to consider whether we might switch to using it next year.
Computer application versus web application
On the one hand MoneyWorks is excellent, with great support and HelpDesk, and has served well for almost 15 years now; while Xero is new and relatively untested. On the other hand, as I continuously upgrade my Mac’s Operating System I also need to (eventually) keep ugrading software and MoneyWorks updates aren’t exactly cheap. I’m overdue for a $450 upgrade now.
Xero isn’t that cheap either at $50 per month, but that includes automatic server backups and continuous updates and improvements. It also offers contextual help and online application support. And it’s vulnerable to price increases… But then, they have plans for closer integration with Inland Revenue that could make it even easier to complete tax forms.
Plus you can access things from anywhere with an Internet connection. That would mean my accountant can simply go online if Linda and I have a query, and sort things out. At the end of financial year she can integrate my accounts into her system, rather than taking my MoneyWorks file and doing whatever she currently does.
It looks as though Xero is on the cards, come next April when the new financial year starts.