MYOB have decided to deactivate MYOB UK. That means as of 31/12/2011 if your MYOB UK registered software is still being used it will stop. Clearly MYOB has not made the headway it has in Australia in other countries. It is probably an economically sensible decision but is fairly far reaching in terms of what it might mean further afield.
When a business commits to use a certain software solution for their accounting, it is a fairly solid commitment, not simply to the software, but normally some commitment to business process change to either adapt to or take advantage of the things a particular solution has to offer. As a result of this there is a strong reluctance to change software after the investment, the change and the training have taken place.
In the case of MYOB there may not be a huge financial investment in the solution itself, however most implementations of MYOB rely on some other piece of software to drive the front end of the business, and MYOB picks up the accounting at the back end.
There are number of other applications that are important, and yet we do not always know how much we can be sure that they will be available tomorrow. This website is hosted on WordPress.Com, and it is free, however there may be all sorts of reasons why it may not be here tomorrow. In my case, I would simply find another place to write the things I need to write. I don;t have a huge commitment to the eternal record. My live business website might cause me greater anguish however. However because accounting engines tend to be at the centre of compliance, they tend to loom larger in the spectrum of things.
The cloud is the new emerging technological face of accounting software and there are some players in the market already, including netsuite, xero, sage and myob, and recently wave which is free from the google chrome apps store. What comeback do you have if you free hosted cloud accounting solution falls over because the company behind it goes under? It raises lots of interesting questions, and under Australian Company law one would wonder what position company directors may find themselves in those circumstances. And it is not just about free or paid for, nor simply about record keeping, but also compliance.
And on that subject the presence of wave offers other questions when you have an readily available accounting solution that can not raise a legally acceptable Tax Invoice in terms of the Australian Market. Should that be flagged for those who look at it, or is it a matter of due diligence. I suspect Australia is too small a market for these people who need to make money by advertising revenue, however it raises a host of questions.
The MYOB UK people should not be shocked, the warning has been on the table for quite some time now, and it would seem that you should have made that decision by now. The PC article certainly raised a high level of comment both ways very quickly. Once upon a time the decision to use a ledger book was OK, and if they stopped printing them you could draw your own lines up anyway. It is not so easy with accounting software and we need to be aware. There is no obligation on any vendor to continue to offer and support a product, and if licensing is based on an annual renewal, there seems little to enforce that renewal, either way, so if the client decides to go off and use another package they are free to do so, and if the vendor decides to leave that product and go on to something else, that seems fine also.
I don’t wish to live in a nanny state. MYOB UK has had its users on notice for four years, I suspect our legislators need to think about this complex issue, or it will become a problem at some stage. Lets not forget this is not simply record keeping and invoicing, it is also compliance and taxation.