It can be a constant battle when considering whether to upgrade the business's software to the current version.
Is There a Choice?
Browser-based software is typically different as the provider (Xero, Intuit QBO, MYOB Essentials and Reckon One) pushes the latest version onto the business as there is no option in the way that it is provided.
There have been some feature improvements/upgrades provided by the browser-based programs that do not “turn on” until the user accepts the change. This usually is the exception.
Desktop or premises-based (in-house server-based programs) will advise of an upgrade. This will require action to download and then install the change at a time that it suits the business.
Whether it is a new feature that has to be bought before it turns on in the browser-based environment, or when it is a paid for upgrade to the Desktop version, the business needs to consider the additional cost verses the benefits or potentially enhanced business process.
Upgrade for Efficiency
In our view, we are in an era of technology change such that every business should embrace the current technology to enable the best and most efficient business processes.
- Government is on a “digital first” strategy.
- The ATO has been and remains on a “digital by default” strategy.
- Single Touch Payroll requires a digital solution, so every employer is going to need to embrace current technology.
Current technology solutions, although still very much evolving towards our “utopia”, provides far better business processing techniques than we have ever had before.
The Dilemma for Software: Change is Hard
The software companies have their own dilemma of trying to evaluate which new technology initiative they should prioritise.
They are “informed” by the government's initiatives that can sometimes enforce changes in the programs, and changes to the way the programs interact with government.
They are juxtaposed in that enforcing modification on their customer base (i.e. their users) can cause conflict.
“We don't tend to like change. We don't like our screens changing, we don't like more clicks to do something. We know how to do it the old way and that is comfortable.”
“There are far better ways to do things that save time but are also a sign of the times and technology changing.”
Change is the Only Certainty
The ATO are going to impose a series of technology changes on every piece of software that continues to hold sensitive data or interacts with the ATO in submitting data (i.e. single touch payroll, TFN Declarations, BAS or receiving data (prefill of the BAS when that comes in), validation of employee details, and so forth.
The new National Payments Platform is going to provide a platform to enable technology providers to integrate day-to-day software closely with payment exchange gateways, even more so than the integrated payment systems in place and developing today.
So Where to With Our Businesses?
We need to find those ways to motivate our business owners to embrace the current technology and allow us to use the efficient tools it provides.
We need to move beyond – say MYOB Classic. We need to consider using those features in software that are made available. Optional tools, such as 2FA in MYOB and Xero, have a very low take-up rate.
Software Companies Between a Rock and a Hard Place
MYOB have recently responded to some commentary about their journey to encourage clients to embrace the current versions.
“We will continue to encourage clients to move to the latest version of their software. In fact, in many cases, it does not actually cost anything to do so. The latest version provides users with the benefits of online accounting, data security with 2FA, better integration, workflows and general features and functionality. It is also the way legislation is moving with recent government announcements including Single Touch Payroll.
In order to ensure that clients are receiving the best value from their software, we made some changes to the confirmation process. We want to encourage a discussion around any perceived barriers. We realise that our communication could have been clearer and we're sorry if this has caused alarm.”
What if customers do not want to upgrade?
Any customers who decline or are unable to upgrade will still be able use v19.8 AccountRight Standard, albeit at a slightly higher subscription rate.
Updated: 24th November, 2017