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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Which cloud accounting system? Our conclusions

So you've read our reviews of MYOB Essentials, QuickBooks Online Plus, Reckon One, Saasu, Sage One and Xero – which one is right for you? All are solid products that would (and do) service many businesses very well – and that’s reflected by the closeness of our ratings for them.

We rated each product based on a number of criteria, including its core capabilities, ease of use, ecosystem of add-ons and value – and while none of them are perfect, each has its strengths.

MYOB Essentials and QuickBooks, for example, provide relatively easy to use payroll. QuickBooks' bundles would be very convenient if you offer combinations of products and/or services. Reckon One's modular pricing can make it a bargain.

Saasu seemed particularly convenient for processing sales while the customer is waiting, and its tagging system provides great flexibility. Sage One's workspace interface saves hunting through menus in order to perform everyday tasks.

Xero's huge number of add-ons can be a plus, and we were impressed by its slick processes, such as its online quote/accept/invoice/pay workflow.

Yet, as we’ve seen in the reviews, each product has its weaknesses too. For example, Reckon One and Sage One currently offer only a handful of third-party add-ons. MYOB Essentials lacks some features such as the ability to raise purchase orders, while Saasu has some useability quirks and Xero can be comparatively pricey unless your business has a limited number transactions.

Some of them – including MYOB Essentials and Reckon One – would be ruled out by our hypothetical business as they lack features such as inventory. However, that won’t be an issue if you are a service-based business, or if there’s a third-party inventory app that you like and integrates with the accounting system.

So, overall, our advice is to think about the way your business works and don't assume these products will all accommodate every single thing your business needs.

Take advantage of the free trial periods to check that your shortlisted applications work the way you and your business do – and ideally, try key third-party apps at the same time, to see how well they integrate with the accounting system.

Talk to your bookkeeper or accountant too – their advice can be valuable and using their preferred systems can help keep their bills down. But don't be afraid to investigate other firms if they try to push you into a product that's over-featured and over-priced for your needs, or that makes your working life harder than necessary.

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