There’s no question that a good accounting software package can revolutionise the way businesses large and small can work. Depending on the package, accounting software can automatically generate and send invoices, create quotes, manage inventory, calculate employee payroll and superannuation, submit BAS statements electronically and interface with the ATO’s online tools. They can also provide business performance feedback, tracks jobs and expenses and much more.

At the personal level, accounting software can also make your annual tax submissions much easier, it can track stocks and investments, manage household budgets and inventory, automate payment of bills and even track the amount of carbon you’re using.

But which one is right for you? For most small business, switching accounting and invoicing systems is a big deal, so you want to get it right.

Accounting software is tiered

There are two major providers of accounting software in Australia: MYOB and Reckon (which releases Australian versions of Intuit’s Quicken and QuickBooks). Both provide solutions for small, medium and large businesses as well as sole traders. Reckon also provides personal accounting software, under the Quicken name.

Quicken Personal is the basic package. It covers banking and bills, home budgeting and annual taxes. Quicken Personal Plus adds investments and stock tracking, home inventory management, carbon management, superannuation and more.

Basic accounting packages help you to keep track of domestic bills and budgets.

When it comes to business accounting (even if the business is a sole trader), the software from both MYOB and Reckon is tiered. That is to say, each tier contains nearly all the features (represented by ticks in the table below) of the tiers below it, plus some significant additional features. The key to choosing the right accounting software is to work out how far up the chain you should go. At the bottom rung, the software typically costs less than $300, with packages aimed at larger enterprises going up to nearly $2000.