MYOB has resolved speed issues with its cloud accounting program AccountRight Live and claimed it was now faster than rival Xero at key accounting tasks.
MYOB spent six months of last year on speed testing AccountRight Live after discovering that it trailed Xero in completion times for 16 of the 20 most common accounting workflows.
“This was a shock to us because we had a desktop program that should have been faster,” Ben Ross, MYOB’s general manager for design and user experience, said.
MYOB’s developers worked at reducing the “chattiness” of the application with the company file stored in MYOB’s cloud data centre. It took several months to update the code in each feature set, with payroll one of the last to be upgraded in December.
MYOB commissioned a study by technology company Revolution IT to evaluate the speed of common workflows using AccountRight Live and Xero with a test company that had 12 months of transactions. A comparison of times before and after the code revisions showed enormous speed improvements, MYOB claimed.
Tested workflows included opening and recording a sale, expense and bill; opening and receiving payment on a bill and invoice; processing payroll for 10 employees; opening and updating a customer contact; and generating reports for profit and loss, aged receivables and detailed general ledger.
See below for a graph showing the results for AccountRight Live 2013.4 versus Xero.
MYOB claimed AccountRight Live was faster than Xero in all workflows, citing the Revolution IT study. In some tasks, such as recording employee pay, the app was twice as fast, it said.
Although AccountRight Live and Xero both stored and accessed company files in the cloud, the former had a speed advantage because the user interface was stored on the desktop, Dale Dixon, product strategy manager for MYOB’s business division, said.
A browser-based application has to reload all elements of the page from the cloud data centre each time it is refreshed. AccountRight Live only has to pull down the data within the database.
“You’ll find the user interface a little snappier than Xero because I don’t have to reload it each time,” Dixon said.
Businesses and accountants testing the improved program with their own data confirmed the speed increases to MYOB, and in one example said they completed payroll in 15 minutes rather than an hour, MYOB said.
AccountRight Live performed calculations such as payroll on the user’s computer and didn’t reload the user interface for each calculation, Dixon said. “It’s almost instantaneous. I don’t need to load these pages every time I hit the web servers,” he added.
Faster than v.19
The latest version of AccountRight Live was faster than its last desktop-only application, AccountRight version 19. “If you process a 50-employee payroll AccountRight Live is faster than version 19,” Dixon said.
Long-term MYOB users had resisted cloud accounting software in general because it was so much slower than desktop software, MYOB said.
Version 19 was written to run on computers with much slower processors and was very fast on a modern computer. But that made it hard to sell AccountRight Live next to it. “It’s been hard to get (AccountRight Live) up to speed with the cloud,” Ross says. “Our biggest competition is the classic platform. (Users) notice that it’s a bit slower, just because cloud apps are a bit slower than desktop apps,” Ross said.
AccountRight Live was also missing some shortcut keys when it was introduced and had less efficient workflows for entering data.
However, MYOB had improved the software by restoring shortcut keys, updating workflows and made it easier to jump from one field to another by pressing Enter.
“What’s really important to customers is the speed with which they can add data,” Dale said.