To confirm Reckon Accounts Plus 2020 -look/feel & price

LookinLookin Member Posts: 8
edited February 27 in Accounts Business Range

HI community!

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?


  • Acctd4Acctd4 Accredited Partner Posts: 993 ✭✭✭
    edited February 27

    Reckon Accounts script/coding was originally Intuit’s “QuickBooks” program from the 80s. The coding belonged to Intuit & - although Reckon have been granted licence to utilise it for the next 80-odd years & have made (& continue to make) some fantastic enhancements/feature additions - there are some original things that are unable to be changed, hence there are a few older/US-termed field labels & feature names (eg “Cheque”)

    The purpose of a “cheque” just represents a payment out (eg direct debit, Till Receipt/EFTPOS etc) where there is no Bill on account.

    The things you’ve mentioned are able to be done very efficiently if you know where to go.

    It sounds like you would greatly benefit from some 1-on-1 training.

    RA is the most customisable, powerful, feature-rich & user-friendly accounting program on the market IF you know how to use it. I’d strongly recommend investing in some assistance to personalise the program & set it up for your specific requirements

    You’ll be amazed at what it can do! 😊

    Shaz Hughes Dip(Fin) ACQ NSW, MICB

    Reckon Accredited Partner (AP) Bookkeeper * Regd BAS Agent (No: 92314 015) *

    ICB-Certified Bookkeeper * Seasonal Tax Consultant since 2003

    Accounted 4 Bookkeeping Services

    Ballajura, WA

    0422 886 003

    [email protected]

  • PhuongDoPhuongDo Reckon Developer Partner Posts: 226 ✭✭

    I have worked with QuickBooks 2006 and I believe Reckon Desktop is built from that version. It is undeniable that all the basic concepts are still there (well, what do you expect from accounting purposes). Even if you try the latest QuickBooks US version, you still have the same experience.

    But they did many changes over the years. I can see a big difference between the original version and the latest one now.

    Phuong Do / Reckon Developer Partner

    [email protected]

  • LookinLookin Member Posts: 8

    Thanks for this info and I hear what you’re both saying but I’m disappointed. For $650 a year I was expecting something a little more up to date in look and feel and with streamlined workflows built in. It’s pretty obvious that the references to “cheques” throughout is a throwback to actual cheque books. At one point, for example, I was inputting a test invoice and it complained that my cheque number was out of sequence and then there are references to purchasing cheque stationary!

    They couldn’t just replace all uses of “cheque” with “payment” at some point in the past decade and get rid of the notion of physical, sequential cheque number?

    Even the payment forms in the UI are shaped like old cheques.

    Anyhow, I appreciate you’re saying it can do everything I need, but how to learn the ins and outs? Is there any online youtubes or how to’s?

    I just want to add some simple debtors accounts for service invoicing, generate TI’s based on a customised template and setup bank accounts and start inputting expense payments against them and be able to categorise my transactions. I want to run bank recs, although I don’t need to electronically import the statements, I can just add them manually for now.

    I want to record wages, including base rate, payment dates and amounts, simple additions and deductions including super deductions and have it automatically raise the payment transactions against the nominated bank account when due via a pay run.

    I won’t need to use supplier billing much or need to load materials, stock or any job codes as it’s mostly just labour.

    Any tutorials about the functionality that I can read?

  • Acctd4Acctd4 Accredited Partner Posts: 993 ✭✭✭

    I’m curious as to the look & feel you’re wanting? Are you comparing it to a Cloud product you’ve previously used? Reckon Accounts has a LOT more functionality & is far more customisable than the cloud programs, hence the price.

    Maybe you’re comparing it to specific industry software? Industry software is built for specific industries ..... with a price tag to match (often 5-50K) Those programs are brilliant for industry-specific features but all are lacking on the accounting side.

    RA DOES have workflows, but they’re accounting-based, not industry. However, you CAN customise it for your industry - if you know how.

    You CAN do ALL of the things you mention (& much more) as well as memorise recurring transactions, have the program auto-fill based on previous entries, “Find” just about anything based on any filter you can think of, turn ANY search result into a customisable & saveable report (historically & in real-time), create & fully customise a template which can be duplicated & edited for other template forms, auto-calculate/auto-fill & report on GST, PAYG, Super, all leave types, hours worked.

    You can set up & manage all your customers, suppliers & employees including date stamping relevant notes in their records, setting default terms & tax codes which will automatically be used when you use their name in a transaction.

    You can manage all your bank accounts, credit cards & loans, recording all payments out, direct debits, loan repayments, bill payments, interest paid or received, bank charges etc etc.

    There are lots of tutorials/videos & help guides on Reckon’s site & on You Tube if you have the time to go through them all for the particular features you need. However, as previously advised, I think you would benefit more from 1-on-1 assistance with someone who can configure & customise the program specifically for you & show you the tips, tricks & shortcuts that are relevant for YOUR particular business.

    Those who know the program & are able to get the most out of it find it’s features are well worth the outlay!

    Shaz Hughes Dip(Fin) ACQ NSW, MICB

    Reckon Accredited Partner (AP) Bookkeeper * Regd BAS Agent (No: 92314 015) *

    ICB-Certified Bookkeeper * Seasonal Tax Consultant since 2003

    Accounted 4 Bookkeeping Services

    Ballajura, WA

    0422 886 003

    [email protected]

  • Steve CookSteve Cook Member Posts: 156 ✭✭

    Hi Everyone

    I'm going to weigh in on this one. These are things I have talked about on this forum, but have never been addressed in several years :

    Availability of perpetual licence. I have RA 2019 Desktop. This is the last version of perpetual licence. I do not use payroll, so am not compelled to new version. I cannot justify the high cost of subscription product.

    Compatibility with 64-bit MS Office. I have proved that RA Desktop is not compatible with MS Outlook 64-bit (elsewhere in this forum). I am forced to use MS Office 2019 32-bit because of this. My system would benefit greatly if I could use MS Office 64-bit. EG I have very large MS Access database and Excel spreadsheet. Reckon needs to move with the times. Even Microsoft Office still offers perpetual licence. MS Office 2021 perpetual licence to be released later this year.

    If these two issues are addressed, plus real improvements over RA2019, I will happily (PURCHASE, not SUBSCRIBE) at reasonable cost, current RA desktop product.

  • Gerry WinterGerry Winter Accredited Partner Posts: 504 ✭✭✭
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