MYOB AccountRight Live Vs Xero

There has been a lot of interest in the emerging Xero software and how this might compare to the recently upgraded MYOB product - AccountRight Live. Firstly, let's get one thing straight - These are two completely different systems.

 Xero can be characterised as a Software as a service (SaaS).

This is defined as an "on-demand" software, typically with the delivery model in which the software and associated data are centrally hosted on the cloud and accessed by users using a web browser.

The cloud or SaaS model does not need to be distributed physically and can be deployed almost instantaneously.

MYOB's AccountRight Live however, is characterised as Software Plus a Service  (S+S).

 Software plus a Service combines hosted services with locally running software in a variation oncloud computing. These applications combine traditional software with remote services to provide a consistent user experience across various devices.

S+S allows a user to work offline, and then automatically synchronize with the cloud, perhaps for access by others or as a backup. This provides a workable and easy to maintain model for mobile and remoteknowledge workers, such as sales representatives and home workers, who may have disconnected or occasionally connected software, and who don’t or can’t always remain connected.

So what's the difference?

There are a number of advantages and disadvantages of both these accounting systems. The major ones are listed below:



·         Bank Feeds (easily create rules to automatically allocate transactions).

·         No re-training on how to use if coming from existing MYOB software

·         Offline access & backups

·         Invite users such as bookkeepers or accountants (up to 5 concurrent users)

·         Inventory

·         Payroll (Plus Version)

·         Support 24/7

·         Work either online or offline (So you can continue to work when you lose access to internet)

·         Jobs, Categories and Identifiers allow users to track profitability of cost centres and filter reports by various means

·         Budgets by job (very handy for non-profit organisations)

·         Data syncs every 20 minutes or can be synced manually

·         Suits small to medium businesses

·         Pay Suppliers & payroll directly from software (File upload)


·         Web API - for add-on applications not currently released

·         No pure web interface - this means that you must start the software in order to access and view data)

·         Slow when online if you have a lot a data to enter (Usually better to take data offline and work then return online when completed)

·         Maintenance and Updates still need to be installed.

·         AccountRight software needs to be downloaded and installed to every PC and laptop to access the online company file).



·         No installation of software (Works on Macs, PC and Mobile)

·         Updates automatically

·         Access anywhere from internet browser, apps, etc

·         Easy to use

·         Unlimited Support

·         Suits small business

·         Doesn't use up valuable storage space on PC's or servers

·         Easy sharing of data with other users like bookkeepers or Accountants (Unlimited users)

·         Payroll

·         Bank Feeds (Easily create rules to automatically allocate transactions)

·         Backups daily


·         No Inventory or itemised quantity purchasing

·         Slow with multiple users processing data

·         Setup must be correct or can cost businesses by losing valuable analysis (less flexibility to change later) and may also limit reporting ability

·         Offline backup is only by exporting the whole General Ledger

·         Cease paying the subscription and you lose access to your data (Access to the data may be permanently deleted after 40 days or at your request. Best to export data out once you choose to stop paying your subscription! )

·         Existing data needs to be converted by a third partner (Another often hidden cost)

·         If the Xero partner (Accountant or Bookkeeper) sets up the file and invites you as a user (This is a cheaper alternative), then they will need to produce certain reports for you. (Which could potentially become more expensive in the long term)

·         Will need to use add-on applications should you require or want to track job and job costs. Xero has only 2 tracking categories but as many options as you want within these. (For Example - You can set up a category such as a Branch location or Region and then set as many Regions or "options" as necessary - i.e. Northern , Southern , Eastern, North-West, etc)

·         Only online - if you lose access to internet, you cannot continue to work.

                                Quick Comparison


MYOB AccountRight Live


Simultaneous Users



Basic Monthly Package (No Payroll)



Medium Monthly package



Premium monthly Package






Purchase Orders



Detailed Job Costing



Detailed Budgeting



Time Billing



Offline-Online Synchronisation



Pay Suppliers & payroll directly from software (File upload)



What's best for me?

Users will need to weigh up all the pros and cons before committing to an ongoing service and ensure that whatever they choose will also meet the future needs of the business.

In order to better narrow down an accounting software choice - try making a list of what small business accounting features you need to run your business.  

These might include:

     ·         Inventory management

     ·         Sales tracking

     ·         Manage customer contacts or work with your current contact management software (Outlook, ACT!)

     ·         Budgeting

     ·         Payroll

     ·         Business/tax reporting

Features vary for each product but if you are looking to ease of use and functionality, then Xero just might have the edge. MYOB, in my opinion, offers more scope for growth. 

Having said that, the range of add-on solutions available for Xero certainly offer more flexibility to suit many individual business requirements but just be prepared for the additional costs!

The move of technology into the cloud brings a huge range of benefits to users, such as "anywhere, anytime" access, along with increased collaboration between a businesses and their advisors (i.e. accountants and bookkeepers).  It also brings some challenges, as our infrastructure and internet speeds are not quite up to scratch. AccountRight Live combines the processing power of your desktop PC, as well as the benefits of cloud access and technology.

In order to make the best decision for your business, try talking to the people who will use it most - your staff, accountant and bookkeeper. Do they have any specific preferences or experience? It's no good having software that ticks all the boxes  but the staff can't use it or it's not user friendly!

Your IT department or consultants will also have a good idea of your current hardware and internet speeds, etc and what might work well with your current infrastructure.

Budget can often be a deciding factor in making a decision such as which accounting package to choose. When you start using add-on solutions to focus on industry-specific needs, the costs can go up and up and up.

Lastly, prioritise your needs and make sure the software you choose meets most, if not all, of the features that are important to you. There is no 'best' accounting software package, but there is one that's best for your business.