Suppliers of accounting software target accountants with good reason. Most SME businesses use both an accounting package and an accountant. There is no one ideal solution - to your choice of accountant or system. Many accountants prefer clients to use systems from the same vendor (hopefully nor because of the commissions they might earn). We encourage clients to have their own relationships with vendors, and generally do not receive commissions from their choice and cannot have our view tainted by dollars.


We continue to be involved with all major Kiwi software providers and to support clients who run systems other than one we use. We are Reckon Professional Partners and Xero Certified Advisors. We are also in MYOB's Partner program and have access to Cognito (we run Windows versions even though clients run Mac versions). We support clients even when they use a package that is not well-suited to their circumstances. The big advantage is we are better placed than many to compare (and support) the various options. We use one internally - and have done since 1998. But they have changed the way they sell their products - it's still our favourite - but if you're facing their new pricing, it may not score so highly.


We have a client in an industry where the standard is not PC's but Macs. Fortunately the accounting software they use also has a Windows version. When we connect via TeamViewer, he usually operates because I've never been comfortable with Macs. Another is a dual US / NZ citizen. He didn't choose his system on these grounds, but the system he uses makes it easier to handle FX. Another uses one vendor for his company and another for his trust.


There are many paths to choosing an accounting system to use. Here we assume you want to evaluate the most popular and find out what one offers against another. This CANNOT offer comprehensive information about what is available - even just from these popular suppliers. It used to be that new features were added every year but the introduction of "cloud" systems means suppliers can add new features as they complete them. And because cloud clients are always on the latest version you need to keep up to date with new enhancements. Otherwise, it's likely the system will offer features you want but missed the introduction.


You may prefer one supplier. For example, if you want your old data as part of the new, then you probably want to switch to a new version of the same software. Even another product from the same supplier may not read data completely accurately from another system. Desktop software with different levels are the same product with features disabled as you go down, so we're not regarding them as different products, but you can start to appreciate how complex this can get. Even cloud software tends to offer different functions but it's still the same core product.


Another reason for staying with a supplier may be that your accountant is aligned with one supplier. There are valid reasons for this, but we think if a particular package suits your operation and budget then it may be worth considering changing accountants. However, for those who have a good relationship with their accountant, that may be a reason to look only at a particular supplier.