To confirm Reckon Accounts Plus 2020 -look/feel & price
I just downloaded and installed Reckon Accounts Plus 2020 as a trial version and I'd like to confirm what I've found.
My installation experience:
I ran the install offline, as I don't intend to run it connected to the web. I want a desktop experience, where all my data stays on my own machine. It seems to install and run happily offline, so that's a tick in the box from me to start with.
During installation it gave me a trial key which I had to input during the installation process. I could specify the installation path, however the directories must already exist otherwise you cant proceed. So you have to exit out of the install, go and create the directory and come back.
Even though I specified an install path, it still installed some components to the c: drive, such as Quickbooks in Common Files under program files(x86).
The install takes about 800MB but also adds about 60MB to the registry, which is not trivial. I will do an analysis of the registry changes later. It also installed MS flash player which is now deprecated and no longer supported. I don't know what Reckon uses it for, but I consider Flash to be a security vulnerability.
I noticed that many of the installed files are dated from 2006 and 2007 and this turned out to be consistent with several of the help files which include statements such as "In Reckon Accounts 2008/2009 you can...". This suggests to me that the Reckon product is probably based on much older versions and has probably been developed over the years in an incremental manner. No doubt there's a bit of spaghetti code there!
On first run it threw an error message c = 343 due to QBW32.exe trying to update a protected directory; documents. I granted it access and moved on, but clearly the program is not designed with this Windows behaviour in mind, otherwise it would handle it more gracefully.
So my first feeling, given all the above, is that the installer and many parts of the program seem fairly old in design and look and feel. Would that be correct?
I then opened the demonstration company file so that I can learn about the app and had to grant it some further privileges. The "demo" is literally just a company file with lots of transactions and data pre-populated, there's no actual demo video or script or anything. You just start poking around.
It also prompted me for a licence code, even though I had already input my trial key during installation. Further the trial key doesn't fit into the licence code windows. Eventually I just cancelled out of that and it seemed to continue running without any issue.
Observations so far:
Clicking on help in settings always generates a script error, but the help window does display anyway. It looks like the old style of Windows help, with topics on a left pane and narrative in the right. This is consistent with the rest of the interface which has a kind of Windows XP style to it, I guess. But it looks clean and functional, so that's a minor point.
I wont try and describe the UI in detail here, as I assume you're all familiar with it, but for confirmation purposes: I'm seeing a windowed environment, where each functional module is accessed from the main window. The main window appears to be a container for the currently opened company file. (Presumably you can configure more than one company file if you need).
The main window acts as a type of switchboard window, or home window, from where you access each of the key functional modules, such as Supplier, Customer, Employee, Banking and Company modules. When you run a feature from one of these modules it opens as a sub window within the main window. These windows can all be minimised, maximised and resized and dragged around as you need, so long as its within the main window. This appears to be a very familiar UI, its classical MS functionality going way back, such as we see in Excel for example.
I noticed right away that there are quite a few features related to cheques. i.e.: write cheques, print cheques and reporting such as missing cheques and there are cheque references on many forms and there are pay cheque processing options and so on. I suppose we need these for the rare odd cheque that comes in, but AFAIK cheques are obsoleted with digital payment processing. Why are cheques such a big deal in the program?
Issues that I'm currently trying to resolve:
I couldn't figure out yet how to enter a miscellaneous expense cash payment. When I go to the register and enter the detail it always defaults to CHQ in the type column and I cant see any way to change it.
The payroll feature seems to be built on printing cheques via a scheduled pay cheque run. I don't understand this as typically we pay employees via EFT to their bank. The whole payroll feature seems useless due to this. I assume that I don't actually need to run a pay cheque run, so maybe I can ignore it. But then I'm not yet sure how to process the pay run.
The Invoices feature allows me to customise my own TI template, but I couldn't see any way to change the layout to landscape, it seems to default to portrait.
When viewing a TI that had been paid I could see the payment value that had been applied but I couldn't see any way to jump to the payment record itself.
There are lots of reporting options and nooks and crannies to explore and I will keep tinkering but I have to admit it all just seems dated and basic. Is it correct that its $650 per annum for this?