The 11th February, 2014 was probably an auspicious date to release the long-awaited cloud accounting program Reckon One. It was the day after Reckon formally ended its agreement with Intuit to distribute accounting software under the QuickBooks brand.
It has been a long time from the fanfare of the Reckon One product launch in May until today, and there have been several premature announcements. But this time there were no announcements until the release actually happened.
I set up a new company or ‘book’ as it is termed to see what had changed since I last looked at the beta version in June last year. The set up was easy with a free 30-day trial available.
I selected the medium plan for each module on offer to gain access to the most functions and then the set-up wizard guided me through the initial screens.
Navigation was straightforward. The task bar at the top was easy to follow and clearly displayed the features available. One continuing restriction is the inability to have multiple tabs open at one time. The software is partially built on the Microsoft Silverlight platform which I understand to be the reason for this restriction which I hope will be overcome soon. (Reckon has said they are migrating from Silverlight to another platform.)
There were a couple of minor hassles. It may have been my browser (Google Chrome) but many date fields wouldn’t let me type in the date so I had to select from the calendar, which slowed me down. In some screens there wasn’t a single “Save and New” button so I had to separately save and then add a new record.
The dashboard is visually appealing. There are currently seven widgets to display including top customers and suppliers, top income and expense accounts, bank summary, etc. All are available as a bar graph or a pie chart with customisable date ranges resulting in a meaningful array of data that is easy to read and understand.
I did however find it very slow to refresh even with limited data. Particularly if my reporting preference was for cash rather than accrual.
The number of fields the contacts screen (called “Customers and Suppliers”) are pretty basic and the inability to import a file of customers or suppliers is somewhat restrictive. And to make life even harder, when you do add a contact there is no “Save and New” button making the process somewhat lengthy.
Chart of Accounts
I love nothing better than a good chart of accounts – and I wasn’t disappointed. When setting up the book you can choose which of the default accounts you want and which you don’t. I loved that feature. In earlier beta versions, you couldn’t break out current and non-current assets and liabilities but this has been addressed and the full range of account types was available. There is a choice of using account numbers and you can also specify the default tax code on the account. All good.
In the initial set-up I could specify if I needed to report on taxes other than GST e.g. PAYG Withholding, FBT, LCT, etc. However, I wasn’t able to locate a BAS report, only a GST report.
Reckon have said all along that this release would have very little customisation of printed invoices. I can customise the email message that accompanies the invoice to include due date, amount, etc. which is a nice touch.
Another annoying little issue, I had to key in a due date each time as there was no default available. Apart from that it was all pretty standard and the ability to record a discount at the line level was a welcome feature.
Cash Sales and Purchases
Again a bit unwieldy, I had to go through two screens – first to record the customer or supplier invoice and then record the payment on a second pop-up screen. It would be nice to do it in one place. A further annoyance is that I can’t specify a default bank account, I have to select it every time.
These are available but I didn’t test this feature. It may overcome some of the hassles with the cash sales and purchases.
Projects/Job Costing Projects
These are available in this release but they don’t include many features. There is no way to make the project mandatory and project reporting was limited. I could run a profit and loss report by project but not a columnar one for a number of projects.
There are only 21 reports available including five list reports, so reporting is very limited. There is still no customer or supplier aging report, which is a clear indication that right now the product is aimed at the very small end of the business market. A lack of customer statements reinforces this.
In this initial release there is no way to drill down from a total figure to the detailed transactions behind it which is again a major limitation. Many reports are available on a cash or accruals basis at the report level.
So this release is very much a work in progress. The functionality that has been delivered looks to be robust, but is really just the building blocks for what has to come later if the product is to be a serious contender in cloud accounting software. I don’t think Xero or Intuit have much to worry about in the short term.
No timelines for future releases are available but I do hope the delays will be a bit less than the delay on the initial release. Would I recommend it to a client? Almost certainly not yet, there is still too much functionality that is not yet there. However, as some of these gaps are plugged, my reckoning could change.