Business Accountz v3 review

Accountz is styled as an easy-to-use accounting package. With version 3, Accountz adds its Business Suite to the usual Basic, Professional and Enterprise versions. Available only by subscription for £18 per month, this new suite brings access to the full functionality of the Enterprise suite plus the optional modules.

Business Accountz adopts the principles of double-entry bookkeeping (that is, that for each entry into one account there is a corresponding and opposite entry in another account) – but hides this from the end user. It does this by requesting the ‘from’ account and ‘to’ account from the user and the figure involved. It then places the figures into the correct table without further input from the user.

The Business Accountz range is, as before, coded in Java. This is to allow the simultaneous development of one application for Windows, Mac and Linux users. There are known security issues with Java itself; to the extent that Apple no longer includes it as standard within the OS X builds. Being coded in Java also means a total lack of commonality between Accountz and the host operating system and other Mac applications. Within OS X this means we have an application window, complete with menus across the top of the window; then a separate single menu at the top of the screen to close down the Accountz application itself.

Once you download and install the application, getting started is relatively straightforward. The application guides you through the initial setup, giving simple choices along the way. A selling point of the application up until this release has been the substitution of accounting terminology with simpler terms such as ‘From’ and ‘To’. You have the option now to choose whether to keep normal accounting terminology; ideal if you are an accountant professionally.

Another side effect of being coded in Java is that interaction with other OS X applications is limited: you cannot cut from Excel/Numbers and paste data into Accountz, for instance, and must instead rely on data import/export in CSV format only.

There are two means of entering data: either through Easy Steps (previously called the eaZy button) or by navigating to the individual sales/purchase/transfer transactions tables and entering directly. ?The Easy Steps section allows you to enter individual transactions with guided entry – that is, the program will tell you what needs to be entered, what you need to select and the details that are required for that entry.

For example, if you make a sale you select ‘Easy Steps’, ‘Sales’, ‘Sell Something for Cash/Cheque/Card’, select the date, enter the total amount charged, and if it was for a product select the product and quantity; and then the customer to whom it was sold. You then select where the money is from, such as ‘consultancy’, then where the money should be paid to, for example, the bank. You can then optionally add some details. Everything can be reviewed, or you just confirm by clicking Finish.

There are now four editions of Business Accountz.

Business Accountz Basic, priced at £69, includes support for Instant VAT returns, Online submission of tax to HMRC, Unlimited reports, Import/Export to Spreadsheets, Nominal Ledger, European VAT rates, Profit and Loss and Trial Balance/Balance Sheet.

You can optionally add Multi-Currency and Cost Centres at an additional cost. It lacks the ability to create invoices, so would appear to be aimed at smaller cash-focused business.

Business Accountz Professional, priced at £279, adds a Customer database, the ability to design and print invoices, support for Quotations and Estimates, Template Transactions (that is, transactions that are carried out on a regular basis and that can be set up as a template for frequent use). There’s also basic credit control and the Multi-Currency module included as standard. You can add to this the optional Budgeting and Forecasting module (providing the ability to plan further into your financial future) and the Cost Centre module.

Business Accountz Enterprise, priced at £468, adds supplier management; the ability to design and print purchase orders; a diary and event tracker; automated transactions (similar to template transactions but which are pre-inserted at a specified frequency) and Stock Control. Again the Budgeting and Forecasting and Cost Centre modules are optional extras.

The fourth option is the Business Accountz Suite, a subscription-style service priced at £18 per month. This includes all of the functionality of Business Accountz Enterprise, plus the optional modules.

Common between all versions is Cloud Backup and Recovery. This is free for the first year with the paid-for versions (then £48 / £72 / £120), and included within the subscription version. This allows you to back up your data to the cloud at regular frequency ensuring that if your computer goes down the data is freely and easily available.

Payroll is not inbuilt functionality for the Accountz suite: it instead interacts with ThePayrollSite.co.uk, making the necessary transactions within your Accountz file using the data downloaded from the external site. It’s not an ideal approach, bringing additional costs of between £5.75 and £50.75 per month, but it’s one that works.

While you can import data from your bank accounts, the lack of an automatic bank feed (as found in the likes of ClearBooks) means this adds further to the time involved in bank reconciliation.

A further annoyance is that the keyboard shortcuts adopt the Ctrl-key shortcuts you’d expect in Windows and Linux applications, rather than Cmd modifier key we expect as Mac users. For somebody familiar with OS X, looking to make use of the keyboard shortcuts requires learning a new way of working.

If you wish to remove a customer from your database you need to find their entry from a list. That’s fine if you only have a few in your database. It’s annoying if you have several hundred; and unworkable if you are dealing with thousands. Our preference would be for a search box into which you could type a keyword to take your directly to the relevant record.

OUR VERDICT

Rival packages like Quicken, Xero, Sage and Boox are all adopting an online model, yet Accountz is sticking to the desktop. The advantages of online accounting for the smaller and middle-size business are simple – being able to update your figures as and when transactions occur from a variety of computers. Business Accountz Suite, at £216 every year may, however, be attractive for larger businesses. It’s a comprehensive accounting suite that supports credit control, multi-currency support, cost centres and much more. Most of all, we like the adoption of the Easy Steps approach: for those who have little time for complication it makes the management of accounts straightforward.

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