Choosing the best accounting software: Xero or MYOB

Ben Wood, Friday, December 05, 2014


When I first started my accounting practice in 2009, one of the most important goals was finding the right accounting software. A guy I know was using a DOS-based thing for his practice at work, which didn't have the features I craved. I didn't like MYOB because of client headaches. So I did a Google search and came across Xero, a cloud-based accounting solution from New Zealand.

I started using Xero for myself and quickly realised it was the best solution, so I gradually rolled it out to clients. I’ve heard people mulling over the differences between various software and whether to pick Xero or MYOB, and to me the choice is clear.

From an accountant's perspective, Xero is fantastic because you and your clients are working on the same file. Gone are the days of receiving someone's backup and figuring out what version it is, then opening it and realising it's not the proper file. That was a complete time-wasting headache for us – it used to really drive me up the wall.

There's always going to be clients who lose their backup or laptop... perhaps their computer dies, or they delete three months of financials. Recovering this kind of data can be a nightmare. But because Xero lives in the cloud, all of that goes away – in fact, you never have to worry about it again. I'd rather invest the time, a mere two hours, to set clients up on Xero than invest two hours every year figuring out how to open each file.

On another note, I heard the initial hoo-ha about Reckon when it came out with its accounting products... but I haven't heard about it again. No one asks me about Reckon, ever. They ask me “should I be on an accounting system?” or “Should I be on MYOB, because that's what I've heard of?” But now people recognise the Xero brand through word of mouth or advertising, so they're asking about Xero.

In short, if you’re wondering whether to choose Xero or MYOB for your accounting practice, its an easy decision to make. Anyone out there who is after robust, easy-to-use accounting software should pick Xero. It makes collaborating with clients easy and the data you need is available when you need it, wherever you are.