AccountRight Live – under the hood

Simon Raik-Allen

The past few months have been an exciting time for me as CTO of a company that’s confidently moving further into the online business world. We’ve just launched our second cloud accounting solution – AccountRight Live.

This is an Australian-first and New Zealand first, as it enables business owners and their teams to seamlessly switch between working online in the cloud or offline on the desktop as they choose. This helps our clients move at their own pace to the cloud so they can enjoy all its benefits.

It’s a game-changer for MYOB and for the industry.

Throughout the developing and piloting process I’ve been proud to see our teams consistently demonstrate the importance of MYOB’s core value: ‘Clients drive our world’. We’ve kept our clients and partners at the centre of everything we do and literally thousands of them have helped shape the unique form AccountRight Live takes today.

In the early days, development involved months of research – interviews with SMEs and advisors, many comprehensive surveys and detailed analysis of industry statistics. As the product started to take shape the development team fanned out across the region to clients’ and partners’ offices to gain views on screens and concepts. We also combed our community forums for feedback and all public-facing departments fed back what they’d received. And in the latter stages clients were invited to our user-experience lab at head office where we learnt what was needed for the finishing touches.

Five months ago the first production-ready version was completed and we started the pilot program, where our early adopter clients and partners were invited to use AccountRight Live as their primary business system. Over 1,000 businesses ended up participating and their reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.

Benefits

AccountRight Live is a move away from the original AccountRight platform of the last 20 years. It’s a new system that has been architected specifically for the cloud. This move has allowed us to re-imagine the fundamentals that have opened up a whole new set of productivity benefits for clients and partners.

Consider not only the advantages of being able to easily move between working on your accounts online and offline and being able to create local point-in-time backups, but also:

–         Bank feeds: The time saved on data entry and correcting mistakes thanks to bank transactions being automatically fed into, and being matched with, your accounting data.

–         Anywhere, anytime access: The time saved when you and your team are on the road yet still need to access the accounts from your various locations.

–         Multi-user access: The time saved on waiting around for colleagues to stop working on the file.

–         Real-time collaboration: The time saved and potential business growth benefits achieved thanks to collaborating on data in real-time with your business advisor and team.

Development criteria also focused on ensuring the security of client data. We invested heavily in security architecture, design and testing, implementing industry best practice by working with internal and external specialists. This included having our design externally validated by experts including a third-party security vendor, a full code review performed by another A-class vendor and penetration testing of the final system done by another.

Syncing

No doubt there’ll also be questions around syncing between the cloud and the local file. That’s understandable; it’s a new concept for many. So let me explain how the syncing in AccountRight Live empowers you to take the benefits of working in the cloud with the benefits of working on the desktop:

  1. When you, your staff and your advisors collaborate online – on the same data at the same time – all changes are made and saved in real-time to the data file in the cloud.
  2. Those changes are synchronised back to each invited users’ local file every 20 minutes in the background, or whenever you/they choose to perform this action.
  3. When you or a colleague decides to work on the data offline you/they ‘check out’ the online file exclusively.
  4. Note that only invited users to the company file can choose to sync the company file to their local computer and this company file is password protected.
  5. Checking the file out from the cloud puts the cloud version into read-only mode, preventing any synchronisation conflicts.
  6. Explaining this further, when the file is checked out the cloud version cannot be edited though can still be viewed and reported on.
  7. So, when working on the file offline only the person who checked out the file can make any changes to that file.
  8. When they check the file back in all new changes made offline are uploaded to the online file.
  9. Only then is the online file unlocked and made available to all invited users to work on again.
  10. The next time you and your invited users log back in to the file to work online, the local file on each individual’s desktop will be updated.

So, there is only ever the one local file on each invited user’s desktop and one online file containing the same data. Additionally:

  • AccountRight Live won’t allow someone to check in a local file if the online file has not been checked out.
  • The local copy of your file is only editable if you check it out from the cloud, in which case the cloud is no longer editable.
  • AccountRight Live will only allow the person who has checked out the online file to check the file back in again.
  • There is an emergency work around if something happens to the person who checked it out.

Note that having a local file is not mandatory – you can choose to work solely in the cloud.

Performance

MYOB spent more than 20 years optimising the speed and performance of the classic AccountRight platform to make it as fast as your fingers. The platform was never designed to work online though. To unlock all of the advantages of online accounting we developed a new ‘online-enabled’ platform, one that takes advantage of current and future technology innovations to give you greater choice and flexibility.

We’re openly informing clients that the AccountRight Live platform is not as fast as the classic platform (ie. version 19). That’s not to say AccountRight Live is slow, not by any means. Just that our classic clients are used to a super-fast desktop solution, which means some processes may take longer than they’re used to.

For many this will be outweighed by the huge productivity gains mentioned above, while others will want to stay with the classic platform for the time being. It’s incredibly efficient and remains the best solution for customers who prefer to not move online or aren’t ready to move yet. We’ll continue to support these clients by delivering ongoing updates to the classic platform.

For those who do want to move online, we understand that speed is important so we’ll regularly release performance enhancements and new feature updates for AccountRight Live.

Support

Hopefully this post answers some of your questions. But if you do have more, we’re available by phone, email or online whenever you need support, from 6am to midnight (AEST).

So there you have it. I’m sure you’ll enjoying using AccountRight Live as much as we have enjoyed building it. We’re honoured and excited to be able to announce it now open for general availability. I’m sure you’ll enjoying using it as much as we have enjoyed building it.

Want to see AccountRight Live in play? Check out this video from our launch event.