Accounting Software Choices: Market Leader Or Alternatives?

Recently, MYOB announced the availability of MYOB Premier Accounting version 2009, their complete small business management and accounting software application for Windows.
Improvements in Premier Accounting 2009 include extra steps to ensure the protection of customer information by giving users the ability to restrict access to sensitive customer information located in a customer’s contact card. The program also meets PCI Data Security Standard requirements by only allowing the final 4 digits of a credit card number to be displayed within the software, ensuring that customer data remains private.
MYOB Premier Accounting is priced at $299 for new users, and $159 for upgraders ($249 for multi-user).
Read more about the features here.
It’s no dispute that Intuit’s QuickBooks is the clear leader in accounting software and is probably the easiest to use. Microsoft Accounting, Sage Peachtree and others, such as MYOB have smaller market shares, but enjoy a loyal following of users to one degree or the other.
As I was contemplating about posting information about MYOB’s new software I was thinking why would anyone want to use anything but QuickBooks – it’s the market leader, so many 3rd party add-ons are compatible with it and it’s quite easy to use.
Let’s look at another market leader – Google’s search engine. Sure there’s Yahoo, Live and but why not use the best – Google? It’s fast, simple and delivers the best results. Microsoft Outlook – there’s so many competing email programs, but why not use the market leader? It’s not necessarily the easiest to use but like QuickBooks – there’s hundreds of add-ons, lots of 3rd party compatible software and it has tons and tons of features.
A MYOB spokesperson gave me his perspective on why one might want to choose MYOB over competing and possibly market leading software.

Our user-base is split down the middle almost perfectly: 50% Mac, 50% Windows. On the Mac, feature-wise, we’ve got a better product. Unlike QB/Mac, AccountEdge has kept pace with, and in some areas, even surpassed it’s Windows counterpart, Premier Accounting. AccountEdge has multi user networking, the ability to process credit cards, integrated payroll. We’ve got a page up about it that you can take a look at:
Recent reviews of QB/Mac 2009 even point to Intuit changing their interface to be more like our software. “The new Home page gathers the most common tasks and displays them as a workflow. It’s a page taken straight from rival MYOB…” -MacLife, 12/10/2009.

For small businesses that use Windows, the answer is more nuanced.
Both software packages are full featured and don’t appear dramatically different based on the traditional feature/benefit matrix. It could be argued that our product is more naturally suited for some verticals (eg, light manufacturing) and that theirs is equally better suited for others, and there are some clear differences in practices and policies. For example, we give a free copy of the software to our customer’s accountant, and overall our cost of ownership is lower over time (see the table on the bottom of
But the main difference, and this holds true for both our Windows and Mac business, is in philosophical approach. Intuit prides itself on QuickBooks being easy to use, and it is. A non-accountant can get up and running fairly easily and can enter the data in more or less the right fashion.
While we recognize that we’re making our accounting software for non-accountants and also need to make it as easy and straightforward as possible, we don’t hide the fact that it’s double-entry accounting with a general ledger and a year-end close. We place guardrails around the user so that they don’t have to get an accounting degree, but we want them to be better business owners as a result for having used our software. We want the data they hand over to their accountants to be reliable and accurate, and we’ve got good feedback from accountants on this policy of financial integrity.

One thought on “Accounting Software Choices: Market Leader Or Alternatives?

  1. ProCompare

    I totally support the article’s spirit of considering alternatives. The notion of one size (or product) fits all doesn’t make sense.
    Manny people/businesses go with the market leader simply because they have limited resources to research other solutions so they go with the least risky proposition.
    However, by doing so, they may miss other products that better suit their needs.
    Therefore, I would recommend you to check out It offers a recommendation engine that ranks accounting software (and other biz tech products) based on ratings and reviews from a community of trusted IT professionals. They also have a cool personalization slider that lets you personalize the results based on the criteria that are most important to YOU.

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