Up to 40 percent productivity gain preparing reports, MYOB claims.
Many accountants and bookkeepers have been waiting on MYOB to launch its cloud accounting service for small businesses. Although the software company is not yet talking to the media, MYOB launched a pilot program for AccountRight Live earlier this month which contained new information.
MYOB has added several details of the cloud service to the company website. BoxFreeIT has compiled a “first look” review based on a detailed examination of the pilot website, FAQ and videos released so far. BoxFreeIT is not part of the pilot program and has had no access to the software itself, so the review below relies only on MYOB’s claims about the software to date.
It’s important to recognise that AccountRight Live is a service that sits on top of the AccountRight desktop software, not a separate program itself. “AccountRight Live is a subscription-based service that adds online capability to your existing AccountRight software,” MYOB says on the pilot page. MYOB has not committed to a release date yet for AccountRight Live. Its pilot program says the service will be available in “late 2012”.
A quick comparison with Xero and Saasu is here. An article covering the three features AccountRight Live needs to win is here.
For business users MYOB stresses the ability to access the software from anywhere with internet access, with up to five people using one program at the same time, and the flexibility of working in the cloud or on a PC. MYOB claims AccountRight Live’s benefits for accountants include:
- greater efficiency – “Client data is available any time or day. No more waiting for files. No more version control. No more annual reconciliation.”
- Closer client relationships – “Be more actively involved in your client’s business, become your clients’ ‘virtual CFO’ throughout the year and help build their business”
- Better practice productivity – “Integrate AccountRight Live with your MYOB practice solution using MYOB Client Accounting for a productivity gain of up to 40% when preparing electronic workpapers and statutory reports.”
Users must have two usernames and passwords to open an AccountRight Live file online. Business users and accountants and bookkeepers must login first to an online portal called my.MYOB through which all online files are accessed. Once logged into the portal, a user then types in a specific user id and password for the company file which has been set by the administrator of the company file.
Accountants and bookkeepers using AccountRight Live with multiple clients open up their copy of AccountRight on their desktop, open the online library of files they have been given access to, and select the company file. The file is then downloaded onto the local computer and synchronised with the cloud file manually or every 20 minutes.
MYOB splits access levels into two roles, company file user roles and online access types. Company file user roles are predefined and determine which windows a user can access and the tasks they can perform in a company file. A user can be assigned more than one role. These roles are assigned when setting up user access in company file.
Online access types control the level of access for each user with the online file only. A person can be invited to be an online file user or as an online administrator. The office manager or bookkeeper would generally receive administrator access while other staff might be just given file user access.
File user access would let an accountant produce reports or enter adjustments. Online administrators would let a bookkeeper or business owner manage other file users, “check out” files or upload new files.
See these articles for examples. For detailed information about how to set up users, and definitions of access types, see Set up user access.
Desktop access and licensing
MYOB is selling the ability to use AccountRight Live on a desktop without an internet connection as well as in the cloud, but a user must load the desktop software AccountRight first before they can open it on a computer. Only one version of AccountRight software is required to open an online file created in AccountRight Basics, AccountRight Standard or AccountRight Plus.
Interestingly, MYOB says you don’t actually need to buy a copy of the AccountRight desktop software to open a file. The company says you can download a free trial version to the desktop. However, it’s likely the trial version will only be valid for a set timeframe after which a business will need to buy the desktop licence to continue using the AccountRight Live file from that computer.
You need an AccountRight Live subscription for each company file you want to create or upload online. If a user has more than one business they need to buy additional AccountRight Live subscriptions. Users will be able to manage their AccountRight Live subscriptions from the my.MYOB portal.
Cloud sync and offline access
The first time a user opens an AccountRight Live online company file it is copied to the desktop PC and then automatically synchronised with the cloud software every 20 minutes or manually more often. If the internet goes down a user can continue to use the local copy until the connection is restored.
Administrator users have the option of “checking out” an online company file. This is a concept that was introduced with Microsoft Office 365 and presumably works in a similar way. When a company file is checked out the online version is still usable by other users but no changes can be made – it’s effectively locked. This means an administrator user can check out a file and keep using it while flying or in an area with no internet access.
MYOB’s troubleshooting notes point out that checking out a file can be used to lock out users if a business owner wants sole access to a file, for whatever reason. Although the online file will be still accessible, it will be read-only.
If an administrator user makes a change to a checked-out company file they can choose not to sync back the changes to the online company file. There’s an “Undo checkout” option that will make the online file writable again which then copies over the changes on the desktop file.
In one of the demo videos (“Invited to use”) a screenshot of the unreleased AccountRight Plus 2012 reveals that users will have the option to backup and restore their company files. Presumably this must be from some other source such as an external hard drive or tape library rather than AccountRight Live which is synced with the AccountRight desktop software.
Next page – The AccountRight Live videos
Here are the transcriptions of four videos that describe various features of AccountRight Live cloud service. You can find the videos here.
ARL lets you share your company file online so your colleagues, your bookkeeper and your accountant can all work together to keep your business data updated from anywhere.
Getting started is easy. You just need an ARL subscription, the latest version of AR installed on your computer and an internet connection. When you’ve got these things you are ready to put your company file online and share it.
There are two ways to do this. You can upload an existing company file online or you can create a new file and save it online. Once your file is online you can invite other users to work on it. you can invite as many users as you want with up to five people able to work on the file at the same time.
But first you need to set up their access to your company file. You set up access by entering company file sign-on details for them and setting their level of access to the file. Then you invite them to access the file online. When they accept they’ll set up their own online login details through my.MYOB. Note that they need both their online login details and their company file sign-on details to work with your online file.
And that’s it. Now you’re both able to work on the file from any computer that has AccountRight and an internet connection.
Working from anywhere
ARL gives you anywhere, real-time access to your company file so you can work from home, your office, the road a job site wherever you need to be and at any time of the day or night. No more moving files around on a mem stick or CD and not being quite sure if this is the latest copy. One set of accounts accessible from anywhere. You just need an internet connection and AccountRight installed on your machine.
But you’re not entirely dependent on the internet for access to your data. If you’re not connected for a while or if it’s a bit slow you can work offline. Unlike browser-based accounting you’re never cut off from your information. So if you’re boarding a plane, you can check out your file to your laptop, work while you fly, then check in your changes later when you have internet again.
And what if you need immediate help with something but your bookkeeper isn’t coming in till later that week? If they have online access they can log in from wherever they are and help you on the spot. And if you’re a bookkeeper yourself you can work on any number of files from your home office or other location. You can spend less time on the road and more time getting new clients. AccountRight Live gives you control over how you work and it doesn’t matter where you are, you can always access your information.
Working with others
ARL provides a secure way for you, your colleagues, your bookkeeper and your accountant to work on your company financial information at the same time. So you can provide quotes and invoices out on the road, someone in the office can chase debtors, while your accountant looks over your end of year information. And you control who sees what information, when.
To invite a person to access your company file online, you first need to set them up as a user in the company file. This is where you control what they can access in the file and set a user ID and password. Then send them an invitation email through my.MYOB so they can access your file online.
When they accept your invite they will set up their own my.MYOB login. For them to work with your file they need to install AccountRight on their computer, log in using their my.MYOB login, open the company file and sign on using the user ID and password you’ve set up for them. You can monitor who you’ve invited and whether they’ve accepted your invite through the my.MYOB portal. You can invite as many ppl to share your file as you like and have up to five people working on the file at the same time. And when a staff member takes on new responsibilities in your business or they leave you can easily change or remove their access. ARL makes working with others easier and simpler.
Invited to use
ARL is a new service that allows MYOB AccountRight company files to be stored online and accessed by authorised users. If you’ve been invited to work on a company file online there are some set-up tasks you need to do to get started. First, you need to accept the invitation. When you do you’re directed to set up a my.MYOB login for accessing the online file. If you already have a my.myob login you keep those details.
Next you need to install AccountRight on each computer that you want to access the file from. You don’t actually need to own AccountRight, you can just download a test drive from the MYOB site. Finally you’ll need to get your company file sign-on details from the person who’s sent you the invitation. You will need to use the user ID and password they provide along with your my.myob login to work with the file.
Remember that your my.MYOB login is for accessing all online files you’re invited to use, but the company file user ID is specific to each company file. So if you’re an accountant you’ll always use the one my.MYOB login to see the company files for all your clients, but you’ll need the sign-on details for the individual files to be able work on them. When you’re ready to work on a file online all you need to do is open AccountRight and then open the AccountRight online library. Login with your my.myob details and select the company file you want to work on. Sign onto the file and start working. if this is the first that you’ve opened this file you should synchronise a copy to your computer that way you’ll always have a current, local copy to view if the internet goes down.
And here’s a transcription of MYOB’s AccountRight Live ad, which you can watch here.
AccountRight Live ad
Choices. We all want them – in life and in work. Now you have got them all. Now you can manage your business accounts on your desktop or in the cloud or both. Now you can do business when and where you want. And now you can give your trusted financial adviser live access to the numbers whenever you choose no matter where you are. We call it MYOB AccountRight Live and it’s about to change the way we all do business.
Meet Chris. He’s on site creating a quote for a new customer. With AccountRight Live the quote appears immediately back at the office where Suzanne can start processing it straight away. Meanwhile Suzanne has asked her accountant to help with the GST reporting. But instead of copying the company file onto a memory stick and driving over there, she just invites her adviser to view the AccountRight Live file online. Easy.
Choose the way you want to work today. On the desktop, in the cloud or both. With MYOB AccountRight Live. Because now you can live and work the way you want to. Find out more about the AccountRight Live revolution today.