After a few months of eager anticipation, last week I finally got my hour on the keyboard at a training session on Reckon One and made the most of the long awaited opportunity to try out the functionality. The product is not yet in full beta release so I don’t want to be too judgemental at this stage as there is a lot more to be rolled out before the initial release.
Overall the experience was somewhat disappointing in that although I did manage to connect fingers to the keyboard, there wasn’t a whole lot more to see than had been demonstrated at the Roadshows. I was able to see some functionality on a little more detail and get a better idea of how the product hangs together which was helpful.
Following are my impressions, likes and dislikes.
The Dashboard was a feature that caused excitement at the Roadshow as it is both but visually appealing and relevant in that it is fully customisable but unfortunately this still under development so although I could select some additional widgets, I didn’t get any data to display apart from the banking summary. This feature is in the Pending file.
Mobile App – this was another area that received considerable acclaim at the Roadshow as Reckon demonstrated that it would be deploying a feature-rich mobile app however it must also be considered that the standard product will not be available on a mobile device as Silverlight is required for it to run. On a mobile device, the user can only run the mobile app hence the need for this function-rich app.
Banking – One module that was not available at the training session was the bank feeds/rules/reconciliations. This was a little disappointing as this is a stand-out feature of Xero and Reckon One must be at least on a par with Xero if it is going to gain market share. I was therefore particularly interested to see the solution that Reckon would deliver but again, I’ll have to wait a little longer. I did confirm that there will be direct feeds from some major banks and the remainder, credit unions and building societies via Yodlee. The pricing for the bank feeds module will depend on the number of transactions downloaded, not the number of individual bank feeds.
BAS – this is the second make or break feature that Reckon One needs to deliver but currently there are some limitations. You can add new tax codes, however they will not be reported on the BAS reports. The BAS appears to be limited to GST reporting and does not currently allow for FTC, FBT, LCT, WET or even the Wages & PAYG Withheld amounts to be added in. Currently it just produces the equivalent of the Calculation Worksheet and there is a button to lodge the BAS but this requires the user to go through Reckon’s SBR software – GovConnect.
It is worth noting that Intuit, the developer of QuickBooks Online has just bowed to market pressure and enabled the extra boxes on their BAS form – hopefully Reckon will do the same, otherwise this could become a limiting factor.
Reports – Reckon One currently has just 20 reports, many of which are straight lists. A few of the reports such as the P&L can be run either on a Cash or Accrual basis which is welcome but many appear to be cash only – e.g. Top Customers, Top Suppliers etc. The ability to drill down from a report to transactions is a feature yet to be delivered and the full blown report customisation available in Reckon Accounts will not be a feature of Reckon One. I am really hoping there will be some more reports rolled out especially an Aged Customer listing.
Projects/Job Costing – Reckon Accounts has probably the best job costing and reporting functionality of all of the small business accounting software packages, and Reckon has decided to continue this in Reckon One. This will give it a competitive edge over Xero where a 3rd party add-on is required, however right now it is a bit short on specific functionality and also reports although you can link specific pricing to a project which may be useful where customer specific prices have been quoted.
Chart of Accounts – Agreed that this is not functionality that excites or interest most users, but I am quite particular about what is in and what is out of the chart of accounts. I wasn’t too happy to see that there is not a breakdown between current and non-current liabilities or assets which has long been a beef of mine with Saasu. Also there is no type for Cost of Goods Sold which is unfortunate because even though there is no inventory module as yet – it would be helpful to have an account type for Cost of Goods Sold and reporting on Gross Margin.
Budgets – again not a feature of great interest with many small businesses, (I have trouble getting most of my small business clients to do budgeting at any level) but the level of functionality in Reckon One is quite extensive.
Multi Currency – like Payroll and Inventory this will not be available in the initial release – this puts Reckon One at odds with Xero, Saasu and QuickBooks Online as they all have multi currency functionality and is a requirement for a high percentage of small businesses.
In Summary – I found the product easy to navigate and visually appealing but that could partly be because the available functionality was somewhat limited. There were a number of small irritating features that I think could easily be ironed out with a little more attention to the user experience.
The product does have potential but there is a way to go before it can seriously take its place in the market as accounting software of substance. There are some excellent building blocks in place, but very little icing on the cake (mixed metaphors again). Release dates continue to slip and whilst it is important to ensure a quality product is delivered, for me it raises the issue of the subsequent releases. Some modules including Payroll, Inventory and multi currency will not be available with the initial release. Xero only recently delivered an integrated payroll solution and still doesn’t have inventory but there are so many add-on solutions this isn’t an issue. Reckon One will be shipping without any APIs so what you get is what you get. I would be reluctant to migrate to Reckon One immediately unless I had a very simple business model whose requirements could be met with the functionality in the initial release.