Archive for the ‘MYOB’ Category

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MYOB v2011: Registry entries

May 22, 2012

I think I’ve found a reason why MYOB v2011 is SO DAMNED SLOW…

I had installed it on my Windows XP machine back in December 2011, but didn’t get to do more with it than test it on the sample company files. After the debacle with the release, I decided to continue using v19.6.

Anyhow, I’ve retired that Windows XP PC, and this weekend I used Revo Uninstaller to uninstall a heap of programs from that machine. Most of the software I uninstalled had fewer than 10 Registry entries, with only a few pieces of software having more than 100. Google Desktop had a tad under 400 Registry entries left after uninstallation. And most pieces of software I uninstalled left very few files after the removal of the software — typically fewer than 20 files, if any.

Not MYOB v2011. After uninstalling MYOB v2011, Revo Uninstaller reported that there were still 1762 Registry entries lurking! 1762!! And after I deleted those via Revo’s interface, it reported another 2163 MYOB-related files that weren’t uninstalled. NONE of these files were my data files; many were individual Help files, graphics files, DLLs, etc.

Unbelievable. No wonder the application is so darned slow if there are 1762 Registry entries left over AFTER uninstallation — makes you wonder how many are installed in the first place.

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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%…

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MYOB AccountRight 2011: Upgrade issues

December 27, 2011

Bottom line: I can’t use the new version of MYOB!

I held off upgrading my business accounting package (MYOB) until the Christmas break. I wanted to have time to do the upgrade (MYOB suggested 1 hour outside normal work hours), and time to learn about some of the new features. I’m glad I held off — within a few days of releasing their v2011, they had released a service pack (SP) for it, addressing ‘issues’ presumably related to the upgrade process and things that just didn’t work once your MYOB files were upgraded.

So, come Boxing Day (December 26), I was relaxed enough to do the upgrade and had set aside half a day for it. I read through the Release Notes (yes, people actually read these!), which included the steps for the upgrade and what to do both before and after. I backed up my two MYOB files, installed v2011 and then the SP, as instructed. I upgraded my two MYOB files. All this took about 45 minutes or so.

And then I came to a screeching halt.

One thing that MYOB does when you do an upgrade (and about every 6 months thereafter) is activate and/or confirm your files and your installation of the software are legitimate. I don’t have an issue with that… as long as it works! But it didn’t work for me. And nor did a few other things.

Fortunately, I made a backup and didn’t uninstall v19, so I can continue to use that until MYOB open their customer support lines on Wednesday 28 December.

Here are my issues with this upgrade:

  • I can’t confirm either of my MYOB data files via the internet. Without confirmation, I CAN’T USE MY OWN DATA. I have a legitimate installation of MYOB and pay almost $500 a year for their upgrade/support, yet I can’t access my own stuff and I can’t contact them as they’ve closed their support lines only a short time after releasing this new software. I understand that their staff need a Christmas break too, but even a skeleton staff would help — there must be many businesses that take advantage of the holidays to upgrade their business software. Also, there’s no ‘grace period’. Even Microsoft allow you to use their Office products for several days/instances before you must activate.
  • I can’t confirm via phone either as the phone # and serial # is not displayed, as documented in the Release Notes. I just get a blank screen with a title.
  • I couldn’t choose a network location for my library folder. I got error messages no matter what I put in for the network path. For example, I tried these \\<servername>, \\<servername>\myob (yes, that folder exists and is shared), and the IP address of my server, all as instructed. None worked, so I ended up choosing the default My Library.
  • When I selected My Library, there’s no indication of the file path for the installation of your MYOB files and no option to change the location! What other software does this?? I only discovered the file path by doing a Windows search; the path in Windows XP is the Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents\MYOB… folder. (see this Support Note for the locations for other operating systems: http://myobaustralia.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/myobaustralia.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=33728&p_sid=JdhaHxMk&p_lva=33830) One user on the Forum said it most eloquently: “Libraries. Fixed location does not work for me and others. I want to keep my data where I want it. Remember it is my data, not yours. Makes backing up all my data simple.”

Other issues documented in the Release Notes are of concern:

  • Many existing features in v19 and earlier are not yet available in v2011. I don’t use any of these listed in the screen shot below, but if I did, I’d be mightily annoyed with MYOB that they seem to have released a half-baked product. Perhaps they were under pressure to get it out before the end of the year. Personally, I’d rather they waited and got it right and did the proper testing before releasing software that LOSES features people have come to rely on.
  • All your custom reports are gone. Phhttt. Gone. Just like that. And you can’t get them back or convert them — you have to set them up again. Platitudes like ‘…making this task a lot easier’ are worthless if you’re the poor bunny who relies on custom reports and has to set them all up again. I don’t have many — perhaps 6, only 1 of which I use regularly — but I’m still not happy that there’s no conversion option for these and that I’ll have to spend time setting them up again.
  • User accounts become inactive and you are forced to assign users to roles. They sell the package I use to small businesses only and sell it as a single user system. Often the only person using MYOB is also the owner of the business. One user. So why is MYOB forcing these small businesses to use roles? That seems like overkill. Sure, I can understand it for their medium to large business and enterprise packages, where many people can be using the same MYOB file. But not for the single person small businesses.
  • Any images you’ve used in your previous MYOB installations have to be relocated to a new folder and they CANNOT BE MORE THAN 200 KB is size! 200 KB? What year are we in — 1992??? What a ridiculous restriction. And there’s no explanation as to why, either.

Other potential issues reported on the MYOB Support Forum:

  • It’s dog slow (I can’t confirm this as I can’t get into my files, but it’s a common thread on the forum; many users have reverted to using v19)

For all sorts of other issues, see the MYOB Support Forum topics on the November 2011 upgrade: http://community.myob.com/t5/AccountRight-November-2011/bd-p/AccountRighNovember2011Upgrade

I don’t think I’ll be trusting my business and personal accounts to the latest version of MYOB for some time… It’s WAY too buggy. I wonder if I can send them an invoice for the 6+ hours I’ve wasted today on their forums and trying to get their software to work.

Update: I decided to open the sample file in the latest version of MYOB, and did some quick speed tests against the same sample file in v19. Here are my results:

  • Open Mary Jones’ card: v2011 – 10+ seconds; v19 – less than 1 second. (I re-opened it in the new version two or three times in case there was caching going on — each time it took more than 10 seconds to open)
  • Open the Spend Money window: v2011 – 7 seconds; v19 – less than 1 second
  • Enter a different date on the Spend Money window: Can’t overwrite existing and use periods as dividers in v2011, as you’ve been able to do in ALL previous versions of MYOB. You have to use ‘/’ separators or choose a date from the drop-down calendar. For those who do a LOT of data entry, this will frustrate the hell out of them.
  • Entering time billing information takes forever…
  • Generating an invoice: v2011 – 10+ seconds; v19 – 2 seconds
  • Processing payroll: v2011 – 30+ seconds; v19 – less than 5 seconds

The program is definitely MUCH prettier. But its functionality and performance leave a LOT to be desired. Pretty NEVER trumps performance, in my book.

Update 27 December 2011: It took nearly 5 minutes to get my Desktop displayed after booting up and logging on this morning. I recall seeing something about slow boot times as a result of installing MYOB AccountRight 2011 in the forums yesterday, so will restart my computer again to see if that was a one-off. If it wasn’t, I’ll try a system restore back to where I was before I installed MYOB…. The restart was at normal speed, so I’ll hold off on that system restore.

[Links last checked December 2011]

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MYOB: Find previous General Journal entries

July 19, 2011

This post is for me, because I can never remember how to find the list of Journal Entries I had to make as a result of receiving the Adjusting Journal from my accountant. This is a process I only do once a year, and if I need to check the entries later, I spend ages trying to find the right report.

So, for my own benefit, here’s where that report is in MYOB:

Reports > Accounts > Transaction Journals > General Journal

MYOB Adjusting Journal report

MYOB Adjusting Journal report

And to enter the Adjusting Journal entries from the accountant once they’ve completed the tax return etc., go to Accounts command center > Record Journal Entry. Make sure the date is set to 30 June of the just-finished tax year (you might need to unlock the security period first — Setup > Preferences > Security), and make sure all tax codes are N-T otherwise the adjusting journal won’t balance.

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MYOB: Don’t tell me how to set up my monitors

July 6, 2011

I’ve been a user of MYOB accounting software for as long as I’ve had a business (nearly 12 years). A new feature they implemented in their more recent versions was something called Business Insights. It’s a dashboard-style overview of your company’s income and expenses and other stuff — or so I believe from their online Help. However, MYOB won’t show me this for my company.

Why? Because they tell me that my computer monitor needs to be set to a certain minimum resolution:

MYOB error about monitor resolution

The problem is, my monitor is actually set to a higher resolution than that (900 x 1440 px)! Yet I still get this message.

I think it’s because I have two monitors swiveled to portrait orientation. Perhaps MYOB is looking at the first number of my settings (900 px) and only taking that into account in its ‘cleverness’, instead of the totality of the numbers.

My monitor settings

Whatever the reason, I cannot view my Business Insights dashboard without changing the orientation of one or both monitors. And I’m not doing that just for one aspect of one application!

Whatever happened to scrolling? I scroll all the time on websites and in applications that are fixed width for a landscape-oriented viewport. Just because I have my monitors turned another way shouldn’t prevent me from seeing this information. Sorry, MYOB — this is a fail.

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MYOB error messages

April 5, 2009

I store my MYOB data file on my server and occasionally when I try to back it up and zip it, I get some error messages that tell me absolutely nothing and the zip process fails. However, I’ve figured out the circumstances under which I get these errors, so hopefully this information can help someone else figure out what’s going on.

The first error message is a DynaZip one about an ‘Output file write failure’ — the last part of the file path can vary… this is just an example:

MYOB - DynaZip ZIP Error

MYOB - DynaZip ZIP Error

This message is usually accompanied by a Windows – Delayed Write Failed popup error message:

MYOB - Windows Delayed Write Failed

MYOB - Windows Delayed Write Failed

After I click OK on the DynaZip error (no, it’s NOT OK [see previous blog post] but I don’t have any other choice, do I?), I get this indecipherable error message — well, it’s indecipherable to anyone except perhaps a MYOB software programmer!:

MYOB - Termination error

MYOB - Termination error

I think it tells me that MYOB has to terminate (exit? close? shut down? — surely there’s a more user-friendly word than ‘terminate’?? it reminds me of ‘Exterminate!’ in ‘Dr Who’), and then gives me some ‘important details’. Important to whom? Not to me. If these details are important to me, then give them to me in language I can understand, not some weird ‘Termination Code: 1263’ and ‘Error -557 in DMEndBackup (5114:0:0)’. What’s up with that?? If I need to report this information to a tech support person, then tell me. Something simple like ‘Important details for MYOB tech support: …’ would be a start.

OK, enough about my ranting about useless error messages… What causes these MYOB errors and how do you fix them?

My experience over many months with these errors leads me to believe that at some point in the zip process there’s a glitch on my network, or MYOB *thinks* that there’s a glitch on my network (I backup my MYOB data to the server). So the zip file is not created. The verification works fine.

The solution is to re-open your MYOB data file again (‘cos after you click OK on the final error message, MYOB closes). Then try the backup again (File > Backup). Invariably I find that the backup/zip process goes through without error the second time.

However, I do get these messages regularly enough for them to be a pain, and to figure that maybe someone else is getting them too and would benefit from what little I’ve discovered about them and how to workaround them.

And PLEASE PLEASE can software companies get their technical writer or technical communciations specialist to go over ALL their error message strings and get rid of this sort of gobbledegook that makes mere mortals feel inadequate — it’s like we (the users of your software) are locked out of some secret society where this stuff is known and understood. It’s not a nice feeling.

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Search MYOB Help files

October 11, 2007

UPDATE: The information below only applies to versions of MYOB prior to v17. I received v17 the other day, installed it today, went to make these modifications only to find that MYOB v17 now uses the excellent Zoom Search (I installed Zoom for a previous client’s intranet – it works really well and I can highly recommend it). The new MYOB search now allows you to specify the number of results per page.

Update December 2008: Unfortunately, the number of results you set for one search does not hold for a subsequent search — it defaults back to 10. It’s easy enough to change, but slightly annoying. Another thing about the MYOB search is that it doesn’t recognise a phrase surrounded by double-quotes. So if you search for card file or “card file” you get the same results. AND and OR are not supported either — both are treated as ‘stop’ words instead of Boolean operators. Speaking of ‘stop’ words, note is also a ‘stop’ word! I can understand why as there are plenty of notes labelled ‘Note” in this MYOB Help, but when you are legitimately trying to search for information about creating a “credit note”, you get hundreds of results as MYOB ignores the ‘note’ part altogether and just gives you results with the word ‘credit’ in them. In accounting software, you’re expect ‘credit’ to get lots of results…

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Another thing I don’t like about the MYOB Help is that only 10 items per page get displayed when you do a search. This means a lot of clicking if the results are well over 100, for example.

So I’ve fixed that too! Here’s how:

  1. Go to where your MYOB program files are stored (e.g. C:\MYOB16; NOTE: the information below is not applicable to MYOB 17 or later).
  2. Open the Help folder.
  3. Find the searchtopframe.html file and open it in a text editor. (NOTE: I use EditPlus but any text editor will do; I just prefer text editors with colour coding as the syntax is easier to read.)
  4. Near the very top of this long file, find the line that starts var displaymatches = 10; (it’s around about line 18).
  5. Change the value from 10 to whatever you like – 25, 50, 100, or however many results you’d like to see on a single page of search results.
  6. Save your changes.
  7. Refresh your MYOB Help window.
  8. Do a search for something with a lot of results, such as balance. You should now see the number of results you asked to display on a single page, with appropriately labelled Next and Previous buttons.

Woohoo! I’m on a roll!