At a glance
Reckon, the long-time distributor of QuickBooks desktop software, was used to playing number two to MYOB in Australia. That all changed in 2014 when Intuit, the US company that makes QuickBooks, took back the brand name and launched the cloud accounting program Intuit QuickBooks Online.
Reckon still sells the original QuickBooks desktop software under its own brand, Reckon Accounts. But the former distributor didn’t take Intuit’s move lying down. It decided to launch its own cloud accounting program in response, and so Reckon One was born.
Businesses may not realise this but Reckon has been making software for many years. It produces (among other apps) APS, a practice management suite for accounting firms that is deeply entrenched among the larger firms. Deloitte runs its private accounting division on APS, for example.
Reckon One was initially launched in 2013 as a beta but only went into full release in June this year. The delay was due to an unfortunate choice in software platform, which shortly after was abandoned by its owner Microsoft. This forced Reckon to rewrite the program from scratch.
All that is behind Reckon now and it is selling Reckon One through the many accountants that recommended QuickBooks (desktop) software.
Reckon’s big selling points
Reckon One’s main selling point is flexibility. A business can add and pay for only as many modules as required, resulting in a very cheap program. Reckon’s group chief executive, Clive Rabie, has said several times that businesses are being overcharged for their cloud accounting software. Reckon One is aiming to undercut the market.
It is also the only program that can be put on hold. Seasonal businesses can turn off their subscription without losing their data until they start selling again.
Reckon is the only cloud accounting program that hosts all data in Australia. This can be a comfort to businesses that feel nervous about offshore hosting.
One advantage of being the latest to market is design. Reckon One has one of the freshest designs compared to some of its competitors working on older interfaces.
What it does
Reckon One consists of a core accounting app and optional modules for invoicing, bank data, projects, time and expenses and payroll. The core (A$5 a month) covers the basic accounting functions such as reconciliation of bank statements, receipts and a limited number of payments, reports and budgeting for unlimited users. One drawback is that the bank statements must be manually imported.
The dashboard is one of the best on the market. It looks great and you can select the widgets you want and adjust the time frame for displaying financial data.
The next plan up (A$14 a month) covers all “lite” modules, including automatic bank feeds. Reckon has direct feeds to the major banks in Australia and New Zealand, and uses data aggregator Yodlee for other financial institutions and all credit cards.
This plan also includes unlimited invoices and payments, the ability to enter and pay bills and up to 100 automatic bank transactions reconciled a month. Users also get access to the projects module which allows you to create, bill and report on projects and sub-projects.
Reckon’s Clive Rabie has said several times that businesses are being overcharged for their cloud accounting software. Reckon One is aiming to undercut the market.
The “mid” module plan (A$20 a month) adds an approvals process for invoices and bills, custom rates for jobs and lets you track suppliers by project. It also lifts the number of automatic bank transactions to 250 a month.
The plans are configurable. A business could decide that it needed a medium invoices module (A$5 a month) to have an approvals process for sales and purchases, but stay on the lite module for bank data (A$3 a month).
Or a business could decide that it didn’t need anything more than the core plus a high number of transactions through the bank data module. The highest listed plan stretches to 500 transactions (advanced module, A$7 a month) or you can contact Reckon for a custom plan.
The time and expenses module (A$3 a month for lite; A$5 a month for medium) tracks billable and unbillable time with timesheets. Timesheets can be tracked and time and expenses billed against a project or job, although this requires a subscription to the appropriate level of invoice and project modules.
Reckon One has just announced their new payroll module, the lack of which had previously been a deal breaker for many businesses. It may seem strange to launch a projects module before payroll (no competitor has done so) but it underscores the complexity of payroll in Australia.
Another area to be addressed is the lack of an application programming interface (API). This is the connector that swaps data with other cloud programs. Xero, in particular, has built a large ecosystem of third-party programs that can extend the usefulness of an accounting program in several directions.
Reckon says the API is on the drawing board but there is no date for its release.
Reckon One’s best chance is filling the demand for low-cost accounting software that does what it says on the tin. For micro and small businesses used to spreadsheets, it could be an easy step into the cloud.