MYOB and Quickbooks have been the main accounting software used by smaller businesses for the past 25 years. Cloud Computing is blowing this dominance away. The cloud opens up many possibilities and is changing the face of software. New software is entering the market. The fastest growing one is Xero, but Saasu is another strong contender in this space. Are these new entrants a fad or here to stay? Are these new entrants better?

The cloud has forever changed the face of computing. It provides true mobility; anywhere you have internet you can access your accounting software and do it via phone or tablet as well as computer.

The cloud provides a platform that enables programs to easily interface with other programs. This enables information to be entered at the level the work is being done and remove duplication by admin staff. The simple interfacing gives you access to specialised software at a low cost. This interface is also with your bank allowing automatic download of your transactions.

For software to work well in the cloud it needs to be written specifically for the cloud, otherwise it will be clunky and slow. This is where Xero and Saasu have stolen a march on MYOB and Quickbooks.

MYOB introduced MYOB Live to be its cloud software. This is a scaled down version of MYOB and only good for the smaller businesses. It has poor invoicing flexibility and very limited reporting.

To overcome this MYOB introduced AccountRight Live that provides the full MYOB features. It can work either on your own computer or in the cloud. It is reportedly slow to use in the cloud and you must install it on your computer before running it in the cloud.

Quickbooks (now called Reckon) has an on-line version available also. However it works via the remote desktop login and is slow and clunky. Intuit in the USA has released a true cloud version of Quickbooks and when that reaches us it should provide a very good option. At this stage no-one knows when this will be.

Saasu is written for the cloud. It works more like MYOB. It has a good inventory function. It is excellent for doing quotes and invoicing. Users rate it very highly. It is a good program for businesses wanting a cloud based program that does more than Xero.

Xero is another true cloud based program. It was written for the cloud. It has risen in popularity due mainly to strong marketing. This popularity means that there is an ever growing range of specialised programs that easily integrate with Xero. It is easy to use and has the smooth internet feel to it.

Which is best? For most businesses Xero would be the way to go because of its wide use and options for integrated ‘add-on’ applications. Those wanting something more than an average accounting system should investigate Saasu.

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