MYOB UK Turn Off


David on the balcony at MYOB
Image by avlxyz via Flickr

http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/enterprise/368017/myob-software-deactivated-at-end-of-year

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.

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2 Comments

  1. Hi just thought I’d comment on your post. I am a MYOB UK user.I do not pay an annual fee to use MYOB and even if the company no longer wishes to support said software I do not expect them to switch off the version I have on my computer. I would also like to point out that I was sold my current version of the software under three years ago and was not made aware that it would only work until December 2011. I was made aware that they were closing it down about 6 months ago, when I was already part way through my financial year. I use adobe programmes all the time and Quark and apple and microsoft and I have never had a company take away my right to use a piece of software that I paid for up front. It may have become outdated and as computers become more advanced I have eventually had to upgrade to the later versions but I have never been forced to. I am sure they have breeched their agreement/licence and thankfully the myob user group are looking into the legalities of what they have done.

    1. Thanks for the comment Jo. I am not unsympathetic to the situation and causes of small business, being in one myself. I am not sure of the End User Licence Agreement that accompanied MYOB in the UK. We all happily agree to all sorts of conditions when we press the I agree button to install software. Apparently the ‘reasonable man’ test would suggest that we should all read and understand these things before we click the button – though I don’t see any of us doing that any time soon. I general they suggest that the vendor warrants nothing and if the software does anything for you, well done, and in any case they are not responsible for the outcomes of using the software and in any case the whole thing goes pear shaped and they will not be liable for anything more than the value of the software, ie no consequential damages. Software Licences up till around 2000 or so were generally ‘in perpetutuity’ meaning a one time purchase. Upgrades followed various paths from re-buying the software at a discount, or paying an annual software maintenance fee for access to upgrades. The next round of licences were various forms of limited term licencing, such as annual renewal licencing, or rental licencing and these licences gave you the right to use the software for a period of time. In Australia MYOB has not to my mind offered that kind of licence. This was a natural precursor to cloud based accounting solutions where the licence model changes yet again and becomes ‘SAAS’ software as a service. This is the way of the future for the short to medium term, and whilst I don’t always love it as the trick of small business is to keep a lid on expenses, I also recognise that if vendors are to continue to develop software to deal with the changing requirements of business in a changing world they also need a revenue stream.

      I had understood that MYOB had backed down from this position, according to an article in PCPRO UK – link is here http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/enterprise/371635/myob-software-dodges-year-end-deactivation

      The latest article I have seen on the issue is from MYOB, I think post the early December 2011 news article http://myob.com.au/myob/australia/myob-uk-has-moved-1258090679104 and it is a fairly clear statement that they are wanting to wash their hands of the UK.

      The accounting product I use in my business is available in the UK – called Advanced Business Manager – and for the kind of project work I do from websites, report writing and software support I find it very handy, however it is a little more expensive than MYOB, but then I wanted a little more. The other product I looked at, and seriously considered was XERO which is an online solution which impressed me. There are a number of other online solutions, some free, and there are a few in the Chrome store if you use the chrome browser from Google, and it is well worth checking out. Good luck with it all, and thanks for taking the time to visit my blog.

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