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 it's own strengths - but Intuit's R&D budget was greater then MYOB's turnover. This has showed as over time Intuit was able to address weaknesses fairly quickly. MYOB has since added significantly to it's range, but the basic accounting package was still embedded until recently in an old-fashioned typical accountant's structure, including account numbers, yearly roll-overs etc.
Recently Reckon in NZ has started to release 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 in to your system, it brings your copy into balance with the accounts. This feature is a powerful time-saver.
The support for Reckon accounts was outsourced to IBM in Delhi - but they have now arranged for agents (as opposed to end users) to have access to their Australian support team - a real improvement.
As you may suspect from the fact that there's more information here then 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.
For further information on Reckon Accounts, check out Reckon's web site, or talk with us.