26th March, 2020
CA and MYOB champion, Trevor Harrison recently received access to a soon-to-be released version of the Essentials product. Here’s what he had to say about the software.
Trevor Harrison is a director of MRL Group Pty Ltd, a two-partner practice of nine employees based in Adelaide.
Harrison has been in the accounting space for over three decades, in which time he has witnessed significant change in both technology and compliance – changes that have effectively revolutionised the accounting industry.
He has also been at the forefront of technological change for most of that time, working closely with MYOB to trial, test and provide feedback on many of the online accounting software products before they’re released to the industry at large.
“The challenges we faced 10 years ago aren’t that different to those of 25 years ago,” Harrison told The Pulse in 2018. “Yes, we wanted to work more efficiently and economically, but the business conditions that shaped the industry were mostly static.”
Since then, MYOB has worked with Harrison to refine the accounting software company’s products. But until recently, he’d only had a rough idea of the sheer scale of software changes to come.
“New technologies began pointing towards the possibility of maintaining a live, readily accessible, online ledger that a client could work on, one their bookkeeper and accountant could also work on, and one that could input directly into a tax return.”
The system that Harrison described was a theoretical collection of software that would underpin The Connected Practice – a vision for the future of accounting businesses that has shaped everything MYOB has done since the notion was conceived in 2016.
That vision is now becoming reality.
“Using the new Essentials enables us to produce all the documents we want and upload them to a portal, authorise and lodge compliance-related work, generating more efficiency gains along the way,” said Harrison, referring to the software he has been testing over the past few months.
“From beginning to end, those adopting new technology solutions have been working towards a connected system that requires less manual input and ensures a more accurate result.”
Part of being an early adopter means being confident in providing candid feedback, and Harrison doesn’t shrink from telling it like it is.
“We’ve faced challenges in the past for being a firm fully committed to using MYOB,” he told The Pulse in a recent interview.
“I’ve been a MYOB advocate for a very long time, so the biggest challenge we’ve faced – and continue to face – is competitors to the products we support.
“In all honesty, MYOB has had to play some catchup along the way and we’ve sometimes struggled to convince clients MYOB is the correct answer for them when others are saying there are, and have been, better products available.”
Nevertheless, Harrison could see where MYOB was headed, and was convinced by the vision surrounding The Connected Practice.
At the beginning of 2020, MYOB announced a series of product upgrades and enhancements to both practice-level and SME-centric products, which strongly indicated the future state is now reality.
MYOB Essentials and MYOB Practice have received a significant overhaul, the key points of which were revealed to and resoundingly well received by consultants, accountants and bookkeepers at MYOB’s annual roadshow INCITE.
These improvements were made possible thanks to testers like Harrison and depth of understanding and use of MYOB software that’s provided him with the most unique insights into these upgrades.
“MYOB has been very clever in the way they’ve gone about enhancing these products,” he said. “They’ve essentially taken a stable, browser-based system and wrapped up all the functionality you could hope for into it.”
The result is a new version of MYOB Essentials, which has a refreshed look and feel, now comes fully mobile optimised and while it’s also feature-rich, it’s easier to use than ever before.
And Harrison couldn’t be more confident in how MYOB users will react to these updates.
“Those who have tried MYOB Essentials in the past will absolutely love the new Essentials when they’re upgraded into a fully online, mobile-responsive system.
“With the interface having been built from the ground up, this is cutting edge technology.”
In his assessment of the new Essentials product, Harrison provided a breakdown of the major features and enhancements, including his thoughts on each.
“The old Essentials dashboard was clumsy,” said Harrison. “The new one is very much a widget-based dashboard – it’s dynamic based on the business type so if, for example, you don’t have creditors then you won’t see that information.
“That ability to only deliver relevant information to the user means it’s a much more clean interface that’s easier to navigate.”
“One of the good things about the old Essentials is the way it allocated bank feeds.
“The team at MYOB have realised that, and added extra functionality like part receipting invoices and split allocations.”
“Reporting capabilities have expanded dramatically in the new Essentials,” said Harrison.
“Coming from AccountRight, there’s an enormous amount of data stored in those ledgers, but it’s been impossible to get it out and report on it.
“Now, reporting is unlocked and open-ended in Essentials – we can access the database and can report on any period across financial years.”
In fact, Harrison’s feedback has been that the reports in Essentials are now even more comprehensive than what has been available in AccountRight so far.
“I can produce a Profit & Loss report covering the last 10 years by month – that’s like 120 columns across the page.
“The most I could’ve ever done in AccountRight is last year, this year and next year.
“Essentials is such a leap forward. MYOB really spent time thinking about this and spent time unlocking the database, essentially giving the sky’s-the-limit access. The reporting is so far ahead of any of the other products I’ve seen – it’s a brilliant feature.”
Having spent so many years seeing how the industry is evolving and how the available technology seemed to have slipped behind the needs of the market, Harrison is excited by what is now upon us.
“I think we’re finally starting to see some very comprehensive technology with great systems at their core.
“For example, processing superannuation payments used to take one to two hours, with Essentials I can do it in 10 seconds.
“And that’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of time and resource saving features in these products.”
Want to learn more about MYOB’s latest upgrades and enhancements to MYOB Essentials? Get in the know here.