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Upgraders from MYOB Plus 2004 will spot the fine-tuning to Premier Accounting: a streamlined Payroll Assistant, pop-up warnings that help you to reconcile a bank statement, and a batch e-mail tool that automates sending invoices to customers. Sadly, there's no commonality between Premier Accounting and Business Essential Pro's other programs. Each has its own unique interface that fails to mesh with Premier's flow-chart-oriented design.
However, the lack of integration among Premier Accounting and its bundled apps creates some interesting quirks. For example, Staff Files, a human resources utility that manages employee information, such as performance evaluations and vacation time, imports data directly from QuickBooks--but not from Premier Accounting, the very program with which it's bundled. The same goes for Atlas Business Solutions' Customer Appointment Manager scheduler and the Ultimate Financial Forecaster, which handles cash flow, sales, and expense forecasts. You also get The Logo Creator, which slaps logos onto your invoices, business cards, and letterheads. Simply Accounting Pro 2005 does a much better job of integrating its financial forecasting tools and schedulers.
And we'd like to see Premier Accounting better integrate with Microsoft Outlook. For instance, while you can export your business contacts straight to Outlook from both Simply Accounting Pro and QuickBooks Premier, MYOB Premier Accounting forces you to convert the data to comma-separated format first.As with all business-accounting software, support for MYOB Business Essentials Pro is costly once its initial, free 30-day support period expires. Phone support runs $4 per minute with a $40 minimum, average for business-class accounting programs. You might save money if you purchase a monthly or yearly support package, which costs $7.99 per month for a single-user e-mail help plan without phone support, or $379 annually for a multiuser annual e-mail and phone support plan. Tech-support hours are Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET, availability that might create problems for those living in the Pacific time zone.
When we called MYOB technical support, support reps responded politely and quickly to our queries, even if they didn't always have the answers. For instance, one phone tech didn't know how to prevent a pop-up security message from appearing in Microsoft Word--a glitch caused by a macro within MYOB's OfficeLink feature that sends MYOB reports and letters to Excel and Word. Nor did MYOB resolve our simple test e-mail query.
MYOB Business Essentials Pro does provide a 234-page illustrated user guide alongside two books on accounting basics.