After a few months of eager anticipation, last week I finally got my hour on the keyboard at a training session on Reckon One. I don’t want to be too judgemental at this stage as there is a lot more to be rolled out before the initial release.
Overall the experience was somewhat disappointing in that although I did manage to connect fingers to the keyboard, there wasn’t a whole lot more to see than had been demonstrated at the Reckon roadshows. I was able to see some functionality on a little more detail and get a better idea of how the product hangs together which was helpful.
Following are my impressions, likes and dislikes.
The dashboard was a feature that caused excitement at the roadshow. It is both visually appealing and fully customisable. Unfortunately this is still under development so although I could select some additional widgets, I didn’t get any data to display apart from the banking summary. This feature is in the Pending file.
This was another area that received considerable acclaim as Reckon demonstrated that it would be deploying a feature-rich mobile app. However, it must also be considered that Reckon One’s browser-based app will not be available on Android or Apple mobile devices as it requires Microsoft’s Silverlight technology.
As Reckon One users can only use the mobile app on mobile devices, Reckon had to make it function rich.
One module that was not available at the training session was the bank feeds, rules and reconciliation. This was a little disappointing as this is a stand-out feature of Reckon’s cloud rival Xero. Reckon One must be at least on a par with Xero if it is going to gain market share.
I was particularly interested to see the solution that Reckon would deliver, but again I’ll have to wait a little longer. I did confirm that there will be direct bank feeds from some of the major banks and that the others, building societies and credit unions will be via US financial data services supplier Yodlee. The pricing for the bank feeds module would depend on the number of transactions downloaded, not the number of individual bank feeds.
BAS (business activity statements)
This is the second make-or-break feature that Reckon One needs to deliver, but currently there are some limitations. While you can add new tax codes, they will not be reported on the BAS reports. The BAS appears to be limited to GST reporting and does not allow for FTC (foreign tax credit), FBT (fringe benefits tax), LCT (luxury car tax), WET (wine equalisation tax) or even the Wages and PAYG Withheld amounts.
Currently it just produces the equivalent of the Calculation Worksheet and there is a button to lodge the BAS but this requires the user to go through Reckon’s GovConnect (a module in Reckon Accounts desktop software).
It is worth noting that Intuit, the developer of QuickBooks Online, has just bowed to market pressure and enabled the extra boxes on their BAS form. Hopefully Reckon will do the same, otherwise this could become a limiting factor.
Reckon One has just 20 reports, many of which are straight lists. A few of the reports such as the Profit and Loss can be run either on a cash or accrual basis which is welcome. But many others appear to be cash only, such as top customers, top suppliers, etc.
The ability to drill down from a report to transactions is a feature yet to be delivered and the full-blown report customisation available in Reckon Accounts will not be a feature of Reckon One. I am really hoping there will be some more reports rolled out especially an Aged Customer listing.
Reckon Accounts has probably the best job costing and reporting functionality of all the small business accounting software packages. Reckon has decided to continue this in Reckon One.
This will give it a competitive edge over Xero which requires users to add a third-party cloud program. However, right now Reckon One is a bit short on specific functionality and also reports. You can link specific pricing to a project which may be useful where customer specific prices have been quoted.
Chart of Accounts
This is not functionality that excites or interest most users, but I am quite particular about what is in and what is out of the chart of accounts. I wasn’t too happy when I discovered there was no breakdown between current and non-current liabilities or assets, which has long been a beef of mine with Saasu.
Also there is no account type for Cost of Goods Sold which is unfortunate because even though there is no inventory module as yet it would be helpful for reporting on Gross Margin.
Again, not a feature of great interest with many small businesses (I have trouble getting most of my small business clients to do budgeting at any level). But the level of functionality in Reckon One is quite extensive.
Like payroll and inventory this will not be available in the initial release. This puts Reckon One at odds with Xero, Saasu and QuickBooks Online as they all have multi-currency functionality which is a requirement for a high percentage of small businesses.
In summary I found Reckon One easy to navigate and visually appealing but that could partly be because the available functionality was somewhat limited. There were a number of small, irritating features that I think could easily be ironed out with a little more attention to the user experience.
The product does have potential but there is a way to go before it can seriously take its place in the market as accounting software of substance. There are some excellent building blocks in place, but very little icing on the cake (mixed metaphors again).
Release dates continue to slip and whilst it is important to ensure a quality product is delivered, for me it raises the issue of the subsequent releases. Some modules including payroll, inventory and multi-currency will not be available with the initial release.
Xero only recently delivered an integrated payroll solution and still doesn’t have inventory but there are so many add-on solutions this isn’t an issue. Reckon One will be shipping without any APIs (the software connectors which integrate it with other cloud and desktop programs) so what you get is what you get.
I would be reluctant to migrate to Reckon One immediately unless I had a very simple business model whose requirements could be met with the functionality in the initial release.
This post originally appeared on the Businesseez blog.