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MYOB FirstAccounts 3.5

Richard Price
21 November 2000

MYOB FirstAccounts 3.5 is an easy to use accounting system for small serviced-based business.

The program has been designed to help people with little accounting knowledge. Screens resemble paper-based invoices and cheques, so users simply fill out familiar looking forms when entering transactions. Those who don't understand the concept of "debits" and "credits" can sleep easy -- true double-entry transactions are recorded behind the scenes.

The FirstAccounts tutorial provides a good idea of what the program is all about. By working through all the steps necessary to set up a company, make entries and produce reports users get an idea of what the program can do.

FirstAccounts has everything a small business operator would need to manage their accounts and the GST. Users can report their GST on either a cash or accrual basis. MYOB FirstAccounts includes much information to make the new Business Activity Statement (BAS) required under GST legislation simple. A short video, included in the package, explains the basics.

The New Datafile Assistant makes it easy to set up a new business account by asking the users a series of questions to help determine the business set-up. The Easy Setup Assistant helps customise FirstAccounts.

The only important detail to get right is deciding the current financial year because this cannot be changed.

After an account is created data can be imported from other accounting systems, personal finance systems or databases.

The BASlink feature is designed to help complete the BAS by automating the process. Once the fields have been correctly linked to the relevant tax codes BASlink fills out the relevant information. BASlink retains these links to simplify periodic reporting. Tax details are saved in a file that can be imported into the ATO's ECI software for lodgement.

FirstAccounts has over 80 reports and charts including profit and loss reports, sales reports, job analysis reports and cash management reports to help monitor business progress.

Wordlink, a dynamic link to Microsoft Word, makes it possible to create personalised letters from templates without worrying about mail merge commands.

I also found it easy to fix mistakes in FirstAccounts. Once a correction is made in the original transaction all corresponding entries are automatically adjusted.

FirstAccounts generates professional looking invoices that can be customised to suit the business. Once the invoice is filled in and recorded, FirstAccounts calculates the GST and discounts and tracks deposits made.

Users can also create a bank transfer file to send information to their bank allowing bills to be paid electronically.

I was a bit surprised at the limited options for entering business expenses. In real life there are many options for making payments, including credit card, petty cash or EFTpos. In MYOB there is no special place for these transactions, they are all recorded in the 'Spend Money' area, and FirstAccounts automatically assumes these payments are by cheque. It is up to the user to humour the system and use the cheque number or memo box to record details of these transaction.

Don't get too carried away with your new-found bookkeeping skills. It helps to review all tax return information with an accountant first.

FirstAccounts exports to MYOB Accountants Office, TELETAX, Caseware, Handiledger, Ceedata and Solution 6 MAS so information can be given to an accountant electronically.

MYOB runs under Windows (95/98/ME/2000 and NT 4.0 or later) and Mac OS (8 or later).

Price:AU$ AU$219




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