Last week at the NSW Accredited Partner day Reckon advised new dates on some key deliverables across its desktop, hosted and cloud products. In June last year the company advised of a raft of enhancements to be delivered within six months; it has been significantly longer than six months for some of those enhancements but the revised delivery dates given last week looked to be fairly realistic and based on quantified effort rather than an optimistic guess. Meeting these delivery dates should address some of the credibility issues that have plagued Reckon over the last couple of years and enable the company to at least catch up with its competitors.
The first deliverable will be the 2015 version of the flagship Reckon Accounts which will be available for general release on 1st April. There are only three main enhancements in this version – the first being functionality related to SuperStream compliance, secondly the ability to customise Supplier Remittance Advices and the lastly the long awaited Bank Rules. Reckon Accounts has for some time been the only SME accounting software not to provide bank rules so this is a welcome addition. As Reckon Accounts is a Windows based application, some of the flexibility seen in cloud products such as the ability to create a rule directly from a transaction is not possible but at least we have the base building blocks for this functionality.
Reckon has repeatedly stated its commitment to its Desktop product and early advice was given of the 2016 release. Code named Ruby, this will be the last cut of the Intuit code localised for Australia and is slated to include multi location inventory – a feature that has been requested year on year for as long as I can remember. It will be released first in the Hosted product and then Desktop.
Next enhancement cab off the rank should be an updated Reckon One – Reckon’s browser based accounting software. The product was originally announced back in May 2013 when Reckon hosted a series of high profile roadshows. However the announcement turned out to be distinctly premature, as we waited until February 2014 when there was a soft release of the product. It has wallowed in the doldrums ever since due to limited functionality compared to other products in the marketplace even though a Time and Expense module was released last year. A major limiting factor in the product development is that it was built using the Microsoft Silverlight platform which Reckon now admits to being a ‘massive mistake’. The new release will be HTML5 based providing much needed flexibility. The exact date of this release is not known but is strongly expected to be before 5th May when Reckon commences its 2015 country-wide road shows, otherwise there will be some faces as red as the Reckon logo.
There won’t be a huge amount in the way of new functionality in this April/May release – some rewording of labels, filtering and sorting on lists, displaying net position on projects amongst others, but migration to the new platform will be a significant technical leap forward auguring well for future development. Disappointingly there are as yet no guarantees that the ability to have multiple tabs open at the same time will be available, (maybe something to do with the prevalence of male developers at Reckon and men not being able to multi task)?
Payroll has long been identified as significant missing functionality in Reckon One and has been on the radar screen for some time. It will not make the May release but is expected to be available in time for the new financial year and ultimately will be reasonably robust managing Awards and providing an Employee Self Service portal. Once Payroll has been delivered, Reckon One should be competing directly with MYOB Essentials which has an optional Payroll module. Neither products have Multi Currency, ABA files or Inventory although Reckon is expecting to deliver both Inventory and Multi Currency in 2016. Reckon One does have Projects and also User Roles – both not present in MYOB Essentials, but conversely will still not have the APIs necessary for third party product integration.
Reckon One looks does look to be on track at last and will assist Reckon to work towards its mission to become a market leading Cloud Software business. Only time will tell if the market will forgive past performance and migrate to the product and it is likely to be some time before Reckon sees a positive return on its investment.
Attention continues to focus on performance issues around Reckon Accounts Hosted. Reckon has developed s number of trouble shooting tips to establish the cause and rectification of performance issues especially relating to screen redraws and timeouts. Infrastructure has been enhanced to manage the issue of login storms when a large number of users tries to log in at the same time.
Most importantly though Reckon has finally committed to a time frame for providing open APIs on the Hosted platform to enable integration of third party products – this has been promised since Reckon Accounts Hosted was launched some seven years ago and has been a major bugbear ever since. However late quarter 2 or early quarter 3 is the expected release date of the APIs for Hosted and then hopefully not too long after that they will be available for Reckon One.
So it all sounds reasonably promising and with the major enhancements of:
- APIs for Reckon Accounts Hosted
- Reckon One migrating to HTML5 and Payroll to be available by July 2015
- Bank Rules in Reckon Accounts Desktop
the future certainly looks more rosy than it has for some time. Whilst there is nothing visionary to catapult Reckon ahead of its competitors, it will hopefully level the playing field a little more and make each of the three products – Cloud, Desktop and Hosted – viable options going forward.