6 cloud accounting systems for Australian small businesses compared: MYOB, QuickBooks, Reckon, Saasu, Sage and Xero

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6 cloud accounting systems for Australian small businesses compared: MYOB, QuickBooks, Reckon, Saasu, Sage and Xero
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How we tested

We needed to set up a test company to evaluate the six cloud accounting applications, and ours was an imaginary small digital printing shop that also offered design services, and was operated by two partners with the aid of an employee.

Of course, it’s impossible to evaluate the applications using every business scenario – and, obviously, your requirements will differ to some extent – but we felt this company was reasonably representative of many small businesses and it enabled us to test as many core functions as possible.

So, beyond the basics such as invoicing, this business needed to be able to easily handle over-the-counter sales (so a customer might just want to buy a ream of paper or have a document copied, but there was no need for a POS system), payroll, time tracking (to make sure jobs weren't taking longer than budgeted), quotations (some of its business customers had relatively bureaucratic purchasing processes), purchase orders (a couple of its suppliers did not work on a 'cash and carry' basis but instead required written orders), and inventory (due to limited space, some stock was kept at a nearby storage facility, which meant the partners couldn't simply check stock levels by glancing at the shelves).

It wasn’t practical to test the applications’ connectivity with other services and their third-party add-ons, but we did comprehensively test the core functions above and we have provided an overview of the applications’ third-party ecosystems in our reviews.

We tested and reviewed six of Australia's major small business cloud applications: MYOB Essentials, QuickBooks Online Plus, Reckon One, Saasu, Sage One and Xero.

Next: accounting software buyers' guide

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