This is just a mini rant about MYOB. I hate MYOB. I hate it with a passion.
I remember seeing a demo of the original version of MYOB back in the late 1980s at the Apple Users’ Group in Sydney. I remember clearly the guy saying that he’d written it himself, although a quick refresher course on Wikipedia seems to suggest otherwise. Being a hard core Apple IIer at the time, my mates and I thought strange name, but its still Mac shit as we rather affectionately called it.
I didn’t realise that 20 years later I’d be using it myself. My first mistake was actually choosing MYOB to do my accounts. I was thinking that its been around a long time, so its probably the Microsoft Word of the accounting world. Wrong. My second mistake was buying the Windows version, assuming that the Windows version would be better than the Mac version, due to how many Windows MYOB users are out there. Wrong again.
MYOB has been around for around 20 years now, yet the user interface (of the Windows version) is almost unusable. I’ve been struggling with it for four years now, and every six months when an update comes out I think to myself “ahh, this will be the update where they refactor the UI”.
For those who don’t use MYOB, here’s a few of the stupid braindead things that it does. The developers should be ashamed of themselves letting a bad quality interface like this out the door.
- You cannot open more than one transaction at a time. I can’t remember invoice details off the top of my head, so I just copy the information from the previous invoice. Things like the item title, the purchase order number, and regular monthly invoice totals that never change. In MYOB you cannot open an old one and edit a new one at the same time. It’s impossible. You have to open the old one, write the details down on paper, then close that and create a new transaction, and hand enter what’s written on the paper. Unbelievable. There is absolutely no reason why I shouldn’t be able to do this.
- Window content in many windows is fixed size with scroll bars. If you make the window larger, the scrolling pane inside the window stays the same size. So you end up with a scrolling list and hundreds of pixel of blank padding between it and the window edge. Why allow me to resize it if its not going to make any difference. There’s absolutely no reaon why the window shouldn’t resize its content. That’s what a window is for!
- If you’re creating a transaction and you click on account number cell, the first cell you edit in a new transaction, then it will not let you leave that cell unless you enter a valid account number. You cannot hit Esc to exit, Delete to clear it and exit or anything else. You have to enter a valid dashed account number to get past it, and this gives you a new line in your transaction which you don’t want. Hitting tab at the end of an item line also starts a new item and puts the cursor in the account number cell, causing the same problem when all you did is accidentally tab off the end of a line. And once the new unwanted entry is created, the only way to delete it is to erase the entire transaction.
- Key presses seem to be randomly assigned across the application. Its as if different people wrote different parts of the interface, and they all had their own master interaction style guide, which was different to anyone elses.
- Finding anything is impossible. There are so many menus which give no indication of whats inside them, and finding a particular function is very difficult when there could arguably be a half dozen different menu items where it might be hiding.
- The BAS tool is just plain buggy. It runs outside of MYOB, which is braindead considering it is the only really mandatory accounting task for every Australian business. Once you’ve entered your data, you can save it, but it only saves some information. It doesn’t save your name, phone number and business name for example, things that don’t change from BAS to BAS. So if you open up the current BAS from the saved version, it won’t print or validate, because your name and phone number, of all things, are missing!
I’ve had it, I really have. I understand its a Windows application, so my expectations are already pretty low, but they don’t even meet that. I understand that Windows developer are on the whole pretty stupid and ignorant, and that Windows developers can get away with not knowing what interaction design is. But if their millions of Windows users aren’t complaining about their shit UI, then surely their test team complain every time they have to jump through hooops just to enter test data for each release?
Using MYOB is like pulling teeth. Every month I sit down and wrestle with something that hasn’t even been designed properly for its primary audience: small businesses who need to do their accounts, quickly and easily, so they can get on any do things they do better, like building their business and satisfying their customers. The most basic requirement of MYOB I would have thought, aside from it actually doing accounts. And after 20 years, these idiots still can’t get it right.
I need to change, but I don’t know what to change to. I’d prefer a Mac app, which is what I should have done from the start, but are there any good ones for Australian accounting standards?