The Evolution of Accounting Software

Rohan Brown

Christmas week is fast approaching people are busy getting ready for their final Christmas parties, finishing up their drinks and getting those last minute presents (note to self). It is also a time for reflection and what we have achieved over the past year. Of late my reflections have been of the changing face of technology and how we go about our work.

I think back to my first computer, a Commodore 64 (I still have it! Much to my wife’s annoyance), then onto a MS-DOS based Sharp laptop with an Intel XT processor, a good one with a grey scale screen, actually I think it is still floating around as well. Then Windows appeared, the first really usable version being Windows 3.1. Another huge shift came with Windows 95 (the start button!) which has pretty well evolved till the release of Windows 8.

It has been an ever changing world in the area of accounting software as well. The 90’s saw an influx of new book keeping solutions that took over from what were very clever but cumbersome manual systems and cashbooks. The advent of MYOB Accounting, Quicken and QuickBooks was a revelation. Before this accounting software was not generally taken up by small businesses.

My first job was supporting a software program called CBA. Software was expensive, often on maintenance contracts, you only paid for the modules you wanted to use (i.e. ledger, debtors, creditors, and payroll), there was no graphical interface and software was a tool, not something to enjoy. Clients would send in backups on little floppy disks.

I jump forward to when I started with Green Taylor Partners, MYOB was up to version 4 or 5 and Quicken was up to version 5. I moved into the area of setting up and training clients in addition to my Accountant role. Clients bought a box of software, then upgraded annually if required. The software looked good, terminology was more human, and things were good. Book Keeping was able to be performed by all Business Owners themselves. People started sending data on a CD rather than via a USB stick.

Now I am older, hopefully a little wiser and possibly grumpier. Again there has been a shift in our technology and the way we work. The last few years have bought about a new concept being ‘cloud software’ with the likes of Xero coming into the market. This has led to the now old brigade being MYOB and Reckon (formerly Quicken) playing catch up.

The new software options are accessible anywhere, provided you have an internet connection. The program can be used on not just a Windows based machine but anything with an internet browser. They provide data feeds from banks on a daily basis, as Banklink has been doing for years. The software company does the backup and your accountant can access the data at any time, even while you are using it! Software is again subscription based and you get the versions you need to suit your business.

As an accounting firm we have working relationships with all the major software companies including Xero, Banklink and MYOB. If you want to see these new solutions and how they may benefit your business please feel free to contact one of our advisors.

Now enough of reminiscing and lets bring on Christmas!!

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