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Xero is the biggest thing that’s happened to small business accounting since PCs made their way from geek bedrooms and into the office.

Putting accounting in the cloud was a stroke of genius.

For a long time MYOB dominated small business accounting in New Zealand and Australia. Today it is playing catch-up with Xero.

Xero, MYOB pick your accounting cloud

Strictly speaking  MYOB isn’t far behind Xero. Perhaps the New Zealand cloud service has a six month lead on its rival. Given the way the internet warps time, that’s a huge gap.

There are four main accounting software players in the New Zealand market. Xero, MYOB, Reckon and Intuit. Australia has all these and its own Saasu.

Xero is a long way in front in terms of sheer performance. It also beats competitors with mature apps for mobile phones and tablets. Business people on the move can do everything on Xero, perhaps saving more complicated reporting for when they are in front of a PC.

MYOB has a wider range of products. Xero is one-size-fits-all or more accurately three-sizes-fit-all. MYOB has products for different tiers of business and with differing levels of cloud integration.

If you want something a little more specialist, say inventory control, you’d need to buy a third-party add-on product to use with Xero. MYOB covers inventory in its own range.

Intuit, Reckon behind

The last time I looked Intuit and Reckon were about as far behind MYOB as MYOB is behind Xero. You may see things otherwise if either company’s products have features that you particularly need.

If you’re not interested in accounting, it may be best to leave the decision about which software to use to your accountant. Many accountants commit to one or other of the big software brands, Xero and MYOB are just as far ahead of their rivals with professional bean counters as they are with end users.

While accountants can earn commission by signing you up to one service or another, it’s worth letting them make a few bucks on the deal just to keep your life simple. There are huge efficiencies when your accountant can get cloud access to your books, any financial benefits they earn from commission are far less than the value of the time you’ll save.

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