The not quite Microsoft option
Some years ago Microsoft tried to buy Intuit (the company that produces QuickBooks). The US equivalent of our Commerce Commission deemed such a move anti-competitive - so Intuit survives today. Microsoft has ceased supporting MS Money - which is more akin to Quicken - the smaller brother to QuickBooks - with which it tried to compete.
In 1998 I compared QuickBooks 5 with MYOB 8. Each had its own strengths - but Intuit's R&D budget was greater then MYOB's turnover. This has shown as over time Intuit was able to address weaknesses a little more smartly. MYOB has since added significantly to its range, but the basic accounting package is still embedded (recently changes have ameliorated this) in an old-fashioned accountant's structure, including account numbers, yearly roll-overs etc.
Recently Reckon in NZ has started to release core Quickbooks products as Reckon Accounts. Their newest product (Reckon One) is not based on Quickbooks, and like Xero and MYOB's Essentials product, is only available "in the cloud"). Apart from not being limited to one financial year, Reckon doesn't require account numbers, and generally works much more the way non-accountants think.
One lesser featured area that is generally unmatched is the accountant's copy. You take an accountant's copy (usually after we have reviewed it) and send it to us. You keep working, while we do your accounts. We then send back not only your completed accounts but also an update to Reckon Accounts. When loaded into your system, it brings your copy into balance with the accounts. This feature is a powerful time-saver.
Support for Reckon accounts was outsourced to IBM in Delhi - but they have now arranged for agents (as opposed to users) to have access to their Australian support team - a major improvement.
As you may suspect from the fact that there's more information here than on the others, we use Reckon Accounts for our own companies, as well as being a long-time support agent for clients. Switching accounting systems is quite a big job, so we haven't been tempted to do that - despite being enticed to switch by some attractive offers.
However the new pricing model (existing clients can upgrade without losing their old basis) means you now pay an annual fee, so there is little point in not upgrading. If you are upgrading an older version, please check first this applies to you, as some sales people haven't got the message.
For further information on Reckon Accounts, check out Reckon's website, or talk with us.