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Reckon One Unveiled – (almost)

The 2015 Reckon Roadshow visiting 22 locations around the country and reaching around 3000 people has kicked off this week. It is focusing almost exclusively on the new version of Reckon One cloud accounting software that will be released on 31st May. This is a new release not a new product (it was announced with great fanfare at the 2013 Roadshow and then went AWOL from all radar screens until February 2014 it when there was a very quiet release.) so why all the excitement and focus?

Reckon One morphed out of an earlier Reckon product named Cashbook which failed to excite and attracted just the occasional subscriber for a multiplicity of reasons. Cashbook was delivered on the Silverlight platform and continuing this into Reckon One proved to be both a colossal error of judgement and a very costly mistake by Reckon. Silverlight was already old technology before it was Reckon One was released, it is no longer supported by Microsoft and it was unable to deliver the flexibility of HTML based software. Reckon quickly realised it had a white elephant platform and embarked on a rewrite of the software using HTML5 and it is this that Reckon will be delivering in the release on 31st May. For a non-technical user this may seem like much ado about nothing but moving software to a new platform is a major undertaking and this was a significant move both for the future of the product and the company in a world that is increasingly cloud.

The release won’t deliver major changes in functionality from the existing version but what will be delivered will be cloud accounting software on a fundamentally sound technical platform in a contemporary user friendly environment that can readily be enhanced. (Yes – what other cloud software companies have been delivering for the past few years!)

It will enable Reckon to work towards retaining its customers that want a simple cloud based  product although in the immediate future it won’t be able to compete with products such as Xero or QuickBooks Online that are able to deliver a more feature-rich solution. It will also ensure the product has firm building blocks for future enhancements. So it is more of a pain removal release than a release that enhances existing functionality.

Key Deliverables

Reckon identified three main features it wanted to deliver:

  1. Ease of use
  2. Affordable
  3. Local

And it looks as though these boxes can all be ticked.

  • There is an enhanced user interface in the HTML version similar to that across other cloud products meaning a user should be able to easily find functions, enter data and run reports and inquiries. The Dashboard will be user configurable, presents key data in an easy to read format and allow for Quicklinks to frequently used functions.
  • Affordable – see below for the flexible pricing model that is available.
  • Local means that unlike some other vendors, all data is stored in Australia not offshore which is a concern for many business owners.

Functionality

I have not enjoyed a hands on experience of the new release so am not yet commenting in any depth on the product functionality except to note that Reckon One has most of the basic standard features of all other Australian cloud accounting software products. It does have one significant differentiators in its Projects module which should give it a competitive edge over other products and has the potential to attract businesses operating in a projects environment particularly building and construction although the Taxable Payments Annual Report – (TPAR) may not yet be a deliverable (MYOB Essentials does have this)

Disappointingly Reckon announced at the Roadshow that delivery of the Payroll module would slip beyond the significant date of 1st July to sometime in quarter 1 – a significant slippage that generated a few other disappointed gasps.

What else will not be delivered?

  • ABA files for supplier payments – although this will be available when Payroll is released
  • Multi currency
  • Inventory
  • Sales & Purchase Orders
  • Budgets by Project – again a disappointment given the focus on this module

APIs

Also announced was that the APIs that allow for third party products to integrate into the accounting software are available so once a vendor has completed certification, their product will be available to use with Reckon One. We are likely to see products such as Ostendo plug the gap of not having an Inventory module and BizTools to help with enhanced analytics and reporting in the near future. Whereas add-on products has long been a key feature of Xero and also Intuit’s QuickBooks Online, Reckon has been extremely slow to recognise and provide APIs both in Reckon One and Reckon Accounts Hosted so this was a welcome advice

Pricing

Reckon One has a somewhat revolutionary pricing structure. Not only can you just pay for the modules you need, you can also choose from a light featured version to a medium or heavy featured version, but also similar to a gym membership – you can put the whole subscription on hold if you are off on an extended holiday or are running a seasonal business. You can both scale up and scale down and all data is available for 7 years on a read only basis if you discontinue your subscription. (I selected the Medium version of just about everything and the total came to $25 although once Payroll comes along this will of course increase)

Data Conversion

Disappointingly on day 1 – it will not be possible to load List data (chart of accounts, customers, suppliers, items etc) directly into Reckon One; however Reckon will be providing a free data conversion service to load this data. I prefer the self help options but accept the conversion service as a viable alternative.

Potential Customers

Reckon One could appeal to a number of different market segments including:

  1. Existing Reckon Desktop and Hosted users that fit a simpler business model and want an easy migration to the cloud.
  2. Price Sensitive business owners due to the flexible nature of the pricing structure.
  3. Triple S (start ups, spreadsheets, shoebox) businesses that are new to accounting software
  4. Project based businesses

The Verdict

My final verdict will come on May 31st when I should be able to seamlessly upgrade my existing book to the new version but in the meantime. Other software vendors probably don’t need to get unduly worried just yet but I am reasonably happy that Reckon has got it right this time and will deliver a reliable product with the opportunity to enhance over the coming months/years. It still has a long way to go to compete in the wider market place with the current incumbents and initially lacking Payroll, it will lag behind even MYOB Essentials which has this as a configurable option. It is still very much a lightweight product and the company has to rebuild its credibility and product awareness but with the big dollars that have been invested in this release, I expect we will see an commensurate investment in marketing to tap the into the large portion of small businesses that have yet to make the leap into the cloud.

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10 comments on “Reckon One Unveiled – (almost)

  1. Wow, You are quick we just attended Sydney show today. agree final verdict will be after 31st May and even much after that. I like the pricing structure, compared to other cloud competitors. This pricing structure about $15.00 per month, is a great attraction to lots of small business owners. I didnt see Estimates/quotes, price levels, and of course stock control as you mentioned.
    API part is good, as we Cosmic Innovations software and marketing arm of Cosmic Accounting group , is gearing for this release. We have just releasing our new time sheet application for desktop and mobile .
    Reckon One , yes good achievement, to what i saw today, will confirm further after 31st May.

  2. Hi Margaret,

    I was at the Gold Coast event and a couple of the key points that I took away from the guys for my clients were that you didn’t flesh out:

    • Payroll would be $3 per month for unlimited employees (a vast difference to competitors), it was built not bought (ie KeyPay and PayCycle), and the functionality demonstrated by the guys was greater than current Reckon Accounts Desktop in some areas, and at least as strong in others.

    • The data wasn’t only accessible for 7 years for no cost (reports and data read-only), but if you wanted to go for 14 years you just turn it one for one month ($5) and turn it off again for another 7, and another, and other and so on. Brilliant!

    No reactivation fees or anything. This will be great for my clients who are scared of the cloud because they lose access to their data once the business closes, or they are tied to a vendor for life paying crazy monthly fees. $5 for 7 years? I’ll take that every day of the week, and I suspect the client will too.

    • The guys didn’t mention where competitors held there data, and I notice you were vague in that area for some reason. Could you expand on where data is held by Intuit, Xero and MYOB as I suspect it isn’t local since I never get a straight answer when I ask those guys – they say it’s a security thing but I suspect it is more sinister than that ie Offshore?

    • The product looks great and I would say is now ahead of Xero which is looking a bit tired being nearly a decade old now. With so much choice and new products coming online constantly it sure will be interesting to see how the incumbents in this space react.

    Yours sincerely,
    Jan

    • Hi Jan
      thank you for these comments. Yes I realise payroll will be priced at $3 regardless of the number of employees but I prefer to wait until it is released before I comment on the value. And yes – agree with your comment about where competitors hold the data – for sure Xero is not in Australia and they don’t advise where. I think Reckon would be the only provider that stores in Australia. Whilst Reckon Accounts may have a more modern look and feel than Xero, Xero does have a lot more functionality. Both are fairly easy for a new user to navigate and use – it just depends on whether the more limited functionality is a fit for your business model.

  3. Thank you very much Margaret for your comments. Yes I am looking forward to payroll as well so I can start offering Reckon One as an alternative to the others. It has been a long wait. Payroll looks better than Xeros first attempt but I agree, time will tell.

    I performed some research this afternoon regarding the locations of the data and it seems that Xero uses Rackspace in the US, mentioning cost, in terms of cheaper than Australia, as a major factor.

    Seems silly since they have more users in Australia and NZ than anywhere else, and Rackspace is here in Australia as well (http://www.rackspace.com.au/data-centres), so cost must be A LOT cheaper! And if cost is a factor, why can Reckon host in Australia and start at $5/month? Would even be nice to give my clients a choice and they make the decision. One day perhaps?

    MYOB is in Malaysia / Singapore and Intuit uses either Singapore or the US – it is hard to tell there but Singapore makes sense. Either way it is definitely not here.

    I wish these guys would be honest about it. I suppose it’s easier to say “I can’t tell you for security reasons” than to be honest that you host your data, and my clients, in a foreign country.

    Reckon are the only ones being honest in that case, but it’s not hard to see why.

    Thanks again, keep up the nice posts,
    Jan

  4. Jan,
    I was advised by an Intuit rep that they have a hub in Singapore but the data is in US. For my liking I am much happier to have my data hosted in Australia.
    You make some good points about data access. An important aspect for me is also data ownership. I would like to have the flexibility to change bookkeepers/accountant and have my data follow me.
    Robyn

  5. Hi Margaret, I am a brand new Reckon One user today, and I’m going potty with the things I’m finding. Can you let me know if I’m missing the point here.

    To me Reckon One has a very immature feel to it with lots of irritating little things that don’t seem to work or act like they should. I can live with most of those. But I’m more alarmed about things I’m finding that Reckon have known about for a very long time and don’t seem to have fixed.

    I’m very disappointed by the invoicing module’s features – not allowing me to customise invoice templates (change layout, omit unnecessary fields, fix printing problems). Reckon seem to think this means just ‘add a logo’ – whoopee! I can’t even display my banking details on my invoices! So I’ve been trawling through Reckon Community posts and other forums, and I’ve found about 5 million (exaggeration) posts asking for customisable invoice templates, all of which have been answered by very accommodating Reckon staff saying ‘yes, we agree, and our developers are working very hard to bring you features like these’.

    Am I missing something?

    • Hi Phil – yes I agree with your comments. The product still has a very long way to go. I am holding off any detailed review until Payroll is released because until then, its appeal is limited. In many ways Reckon fails to grasp how limited the product is in comparison with others, how limited is their credibility and how much customer loyalty has disintegrated. They remain committed to head in the sand approach and haven’t migrated their culture from the old desktop days where users had to be grateful for their annual release and wait until Reckon was ready to deliver more. However on a positive note – the revamp does provide a more robust framework on which to develop and hopefully we will start to see some benefits. Also if you trawl through Xero’s community you will see plenty of features people have been requesting for years which haven’t made it into the product

  6. Margaret, started a trial of Quickbooks Online Simple today – seems lots better. Do you know much about it? Has customisable invoices and really nice interface. It’s a little bit dearer than Reckon ($15/month) but looks much more polished.

    When I went to connect my bank account to QBO it asked for my banking log in details! I stopped dead. I find this quite strange. I would have thought you could arrange for a transaction feed to the software (a bit like signing up for a direct debit) without providing your login details. Do you know anything about this?

    Phil

  7. […] May this year Reckon One was re-released on the HTML platform. From a user perspective it was much the same as the previous version which […]

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