MYOB: They’ve got Australian businesses caught between a rock and a hard place

April 11, 2012

I am NOT happy with MYOB.

As a small (one-person) business who charges by the time I spend on client work, I need accounting software that can deal with hourly rate time billing and calculate the GST, can accurately calculate my BAS at the end of each quarter, and that can load the updated tax tables from the Australian Government after July 1 each year.

MYOB seems to be the only software in the Australian marketplace that can do all this automatically. And as it’s also used by my accountant, I’m pretty much locked in to the MYOB world. While it’s never been the prettiest software or the most intuitive to work with, it has worked, and I haven’t begrudged paying the annual ‘Cover’ fee (i.e. subscription) on top of the initial amount I paid for the software (the ‘Cover’ subscription gets me [annual] software updates and those all-important updates to the Australian Tax Office’s tax tables).

But now MYOB have really upset their user base. Firstly, they put out new release of their software in late in 2011, which didn’t work in a timely manner (slow as a wet week would be polite), and have released THREE service packs since then. And still the MYOB forums are full of bookkeepers, accountants, and small business users howling at the slowness of the software, and advising anyone who can to go back to V19.6. Needless to say, after my fruitless experience over Christmas trying to install and activate the new version and reading hundreds of forum posts berating MYOB for a really crappy software version and for losing those small business people hundreds — if not thousands — of dollars in revenue and enormous amounts of lost time, I’ve stuck with v19.6. The forums haven’t died down in the past few months either — MYOB is taking a HUGE hit to its reputation from its user base on this release. Even the CEO has come on to the forums to try to calm things down, but that hasn’t worked either — the software is still buggy and slow, according to the most recent forum posts.

And now to add insult to injury, I got my ‘Cover’ (annual subscription) renewal in the mail the other day, and the annual subs have jumped from around $400–$500 a year (see below for my past invoices) to $714.00!!

Subscription amounts for the past four years

From 2008 to 2009, there was a $20 increase (less than 5% increase) on the previous year’s subs. From 2009 to 2010, there was also a $20 increase (also less than 5% increase). From 2010 to 2011, there was a $34.05 increase on the previous year’s subs (about a 7% increase), and from 2011 to 2012, there’s a $220.95 increase to $714.00! That’s a 31% increase on last year’s subs! That’s out and out highway robbery.

The CPI in Australia from Dec 2010 to Dec 2011 was averaging around 3% (http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/6401.0) so the less than 5% increase, and even perhaps the 7% increase are not too far off that mark. But more than 30%??? That’s just taking advantage of the fact that their Australian small business customers have very little alternative software available to them for managing their business finances and taxes.

A crappy product and a price increase of 30%? How to lose your customer base really quickly. I’m sick of them and their dodgy business practices (who releases a major software version without testing it first? and then ups the subscription amount by some 30% for a crappy product that no-one wants to use?).

If anyone has any suggestions of software alternatives to MYOB, I’d be happy to hear them. However, the alternatives MUST be able to do hourly time billing, calculate the GST and BAS, provide annual tax tables from the Australian Tax Office, and be at a price point suitable for a one-person business. So anything designed for the US, UK etc. is out. Oh, and the alternative has to be able to import my existing MYOB files (accounts, card files, etc.) and let me customise my invoices. And my accountant needs to be able to work with the files come tax time.

Update April 2013: Just got my renewal from MYOB for this coming year: $780!! A $66 increase from last year’s subs, which is another 8.5% increase. The 2012 CPI for Australia was 2.2%…


  1. Rhonda, have you checked out SAASU?
    It’s fairly new and my recently hired bookkeeper did not know about this cost-effective online accounting software.

    I know a couple who run an internet store and they recently switched from MYOB to SAASU. Much more cost effective and it seems that the days of MYOB dominance adn charging like a bull is coming to an end. MYOB will certainly will not be able to charge like they used to now.

  2. I have used Sage many times and it far more user friendly and intuitive than MYOB, Literally no thinking required. Cheaper too!

  3. Great Article
    I am director of an accountancy firm. We too have been loyal advocates of MYOB… that is up until the past couple of years.
    MYOB have made a fundamental business mistake, taking their clients for fools, why you say; MYOB:
    1) you’re gouging & you know it. push me into the cloud, monthly subscriptions, higher fees for less… for shame.
    2) your software was better…10 years ago! The significant changes have been made to benefit MYOB, not the consumer.
    3) your controlling/autocratic ‘library’ system stinks.
    4)… you are encouraging your competitors & they are willing to listen.

    & don’t even bother with
    1) multiuser versions, they are too slow
    2) timebilling, productivity reporting is now more limited than versions 10 years ago.
    3) payroll – 10 years ago you could manually enter/override tax withholding as each year changed (not now, MYOB want your money for the upgrade to inferior software!)

    So my tip go to ebay find an old robust version (premier 7 was nice) & use that… don’t upgrade like foolish me. For now, MYOB beats its competitors by a whisker (10 years ago the gap was huge)… they will be overtaken & the directors have been fools.
    MYOB software is starting to smell like the written pages of Encyclopaedia Britannica, old & not willing to change.

  4. Hi Sars

    If you’re still using v19 or earlier, are you aware of the tax tables only offering from FGH Tables? See here: http://www.fghtables.com/MYOB/index.php

    No need to purchase a ‘Cover’ subscription.


  5. One word…….Xero

  6. […] let’s consider that MYOB had implemented price increases in the magnitude of 31% and 8.5% during this same period (these price increases would have been segmented, so probably not across the board, but it does […]

  7. […] let’s consider that MYOB had implemented price increases in the magnitude of 31% and 8.5% during this same period (these price increases would have been segmented, so probably not across the board, but it does […]

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