But which one?
We mainly deal with the four systems listed - but there are many others available to businesses. Some are based on particular applications (e.g. a workshop), and some are based on products from various sources.
We will consider almost anything, but the final decision will depend on how well the program suits NZ accounting needs. For example, we would not be keen on working with a program that required GST rates / amounts to be entered manually on every transaction, but if it required some work to cater for a change in rates, then we could accept that.
Generally, we do not accept cash-books. People who want to work that way have the choice of using a bank feed - which really reduces the amount of work, but generally, cash-books can leave a lot of gaps. A normal accounting system will make it much easier to reconcile debtors and creditors. If you really want to use a cash-book there are many accountants around who will provide the services you want.
Having said that, we were advised that one of the major cash-books in NZ actually has a full GL version - something I was previously unaware of. I have in the past supported Accomplish cash-book clients. While I have said I am not going to support clients who choose to stay with a cash-book, they do have a full GL (but not including stock) version available.
There are various free programs, some of which are reasonably sound. Of course, I'm an accountant - It's second nature. But my fees for clients who use a free program will be higher. As I've worked through some of them, I've come to appreciate just how much the Kiwi-customised packages do. A "universal" package will do the same - but require more effort and diligence.
The first of these I've dirtied my hands with is Wave - a cloud-based solution. To say it reminds me of the early years of Xero would be a disservice to Xero. Even in its early days it was fairly usable and a lot of improvements - new features, speed, and of course Kiwi features make it a great, if expensive package. Wave is slow but worse, it does very basic accounting, but purchases / expenses are primitive. Sales are slightly more sophisticated (recurring invoices for example), and reporting is limited, although slightly improved on earlier versions. Nevertheless, if your needs (and budget) are limited you may prefer this over the even simpler (but not free) Hnry.
A second is ZOHO - a global product developed in India. It/s accounting product is part of a wide-ranging suite of tools which seem to be developed to a reasonably high level. This is in contrast with the all too common practice of releasing software barely ready for beta-testing. But the big drawback is the accounting software has not yet been modified for NZ.