Monday, March 13, 2006

NETaccounts: The MYOB killer?

On the way to a client this morning I came up with a great idea, a Web2.0 business application designed to kill off MYOB by providing SME owners with a basic accounting package that does 80% of what they need, a là Getting Real.

Well, hang on a second, it looks like NETaccounts has beat me to it with a nifty web-based accounting package. They have a good simple interface that also provides an easy way for SME owners to share their accounts with their bookeepers and accountants for a relatively low $295 per year (that's AUD, including 3 user logins). Even better, they have a published API on their developer network page that points out how to use web services to talk to their application.

I've tried out their demo account, and it's a much nicer user interface than the confusing gray wasteland NetSuite throws at its users, but it still could learn a lot from Web2.0 applications like Gmail or Salesforce.com. They seem to be solving more than the 80% of problems that I would have targetted, but then they have been doing this since 2000. Their marketing could use a lot more money, but then again I found them within 30 seconds of googling for something like this, and they seem popular in the Mac community because they manage to bridge the Mac/Windows divide that separates many designers from their accountants.

From the look of it they are still actively developing the application, and seeing as they write in .Net I think we will continue to see them implementing new Web2.0 functionality (but RSS feeds will probably never be appropriate for this sort of app). Mashups with NETaccounts could be very cool, something with Salesforce.com could be useful for many organisations - the only worry is that NETaccounts may have too small a subscriber base to justify the effort involved. Their focus is on Australia at the moment, but there are some signs that they have considered expanding overseas, in which case having a Salesforce.com mashup would help them get exposure. Other mashups could include integrating POS/EFTPOS systems or even an online calendar like 30 boxes.

If they get their marketing act together and try to generate some buzz about their product then I could definitely see this givng MYOB a run for its money, especially with a slightly prettier user interface. If I had known about this product when I bought MYOB over a year ago then I would have reconsidered the decision and probably convinced my bookeeper that this was a better solution. A year after having bought MYOB I still haven't managed to get it setup and working right with my data file. This solution would have been an easy buy, especially as it would have impacted our cashflow less.

NETaccounts have a free 30-day trial in case you're interested.

1 comment:

  1. You pretty much described where we are at, we are moving to ajax at present. Your blog is a very good read Angus. Marc (CEO,NETaccounts)

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