Tools We Like – Saasu

Online Accounting with Saasu

We’ve been running small businesses for the best part of two decades, and like most we relied on MYOB and Quickbooks to keep track of the accounts.

Originally it was MYOB and it worked well for us, although it had some serious limitations. MYOB was an absolute pig on a network for multiple users, a problem we eventually solved with an expensive terminal server solution. It was difficult to integrate with (and expensive if you had to buy the ODBC connection license). It’s primitave flat file database also had a habit of falling over. I’d seen it happen to a few clients and eventually it happened to us. The problem was terminal, and after battling on for a few months it was the catalyst to migrate to Quickbooks.

MYOB have since upgraded to an SQL database in a famously botched upgrade that affected thousands of customers. Glad we weren’t around for that one.

Quickbooks was definitely better, but still required the terminal server for multiple users, and was almost as difficult to integrate with and almost as slow.

Both require locally installed software, local databases which need to be backed up and taken off-site, and both require a terminal server for remote access. That is so last century. Both have cloud solutions, but MYOB’s is so limited to be almost pointless, and the Quickbooks version is just a hosted version of the old desktop app (the hosted Quickbooks version is worth a look for those stuck on or happy with the program but wanting to move to the cloud).

When it came time to start up a couple of new businesses last year I knew I was unlikely to go back to either of the traditional SMB players. We didn’t want to be running in-house IT – we use cloud storage, cloud CRM, and cloud email. We’re not only comfortable with web based apps in the cloud, we prefer it.

In Australia the two main players are Xero and Saasu. We chose Saasu because it had integrated payroll and came at a cheaper price for our particular usage pattern. Xero has since purchased a third party payroll provider and I assume they will fully integrate it at some point, and both have changed pricing plans recently.

While Saasu does have some limitations compared to the more mature desktop competitors, they are not important for us. New features are being added constantly so they will certainly catch up. We now run four companies through the product, choosing plans relevant for each company but using a single login to access them all.

We can access the system from anywhere with a web browser. There are two of us that have full access to each company, while other users have access only to the company they are working on. Our accountants can access the accounts without having to send files backwards and forwards and if we wanted to we could easily have external bookeepers doing the legwork.

Like the features list, the number of third party solutions that plug in is also growing rapidly – one of the great benefits of cloud based apps. There are ecommerce, CRM, email marketing and many many other integrations available. I recently attended Saasu’s first cloud conference and learnt quite a bit more about the ecosystem they are encouraging – I will write more on that later.

If you are starting fresh you would be mad not to consider cloud based accounting. For existing MYOB and Quickbooks users coming up to the end of financial year it might be time for a look at the alternatives. We would never go back to the desktop.

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