Mac Accounting Software – All Change

I’m having a bit of a dilemma here. I’ve been using MYOB Business Basics for many years as my accounting package of choice on my Mac. I wrote a blog post about it back in April 2006 (Mac Accounting Software) and started using the software soon afterwards.

Since then it has been working well and all of my business accounts are stored in it. It isn’t the prettiest of applications or the most exciting, but I guess business accounts are really supposed to be pretty or exciting. It works, it does what I need it to and produces the reports I need for my tax returns etc.

The Price of Progress

Trouble is, I now want to upgrade my Operating System to Lion, the latest of the big cats from Apple. MYOB Business Basics however is an old PowerPC application and it won’t run under Lion. Every other application that I have on my computer has been upgraded and will work, but not this one.

I’ve contacted the developers and in order to get my accounts working under Lion I have to update to their latest version (now called FirstEdge). The upgrade will cost me £149 + VAT which is quite a bit, but the worst of it is that I also have to pay £108 + VAT every year for a mandatory ‘service agreement’. That’s just a rip off, £130 a year to use some software that I’ve already bought (twice)? No thanks!

Other Options

There are plenty of other options out there, many of them web-based that all look nicer but most of these cost around £15 per month so that soon adds up too. I’m also a little reluctant to rely on a cloud based system as I still like to keep local copies of such information. The other problem with these options is that I will still need access to my old accounts which are currently only stored within MYOB Business Basics and it seems as though the only way to open these is within the FirstEdge package itself.

So, do I just pay the money and annual fee for Business Basics and accept it as a price I have to pay to keep my accounts in order, or spend some time exporting all of my old accounts to excel spreadsheets and then change to a new package next year? The latter seems like the option at the moment. Not only for the longer term cost savings, but also for the principal as I don’t like being tied into paying for things against my better judgment.


I did come up with another plan, and that was to upgrade to Lion and then also buy a virtualisation application such as Parallels or VMWare Fusion. My plan was to then run a virtual machine that boots into Snow Leopard within Lion so that I could keep running the version of Business Basics that I currently have.

This seemed like the perfect solution to me, I’d be able to upgrade to the latest version of Apple’s OS but also keep an old version running so that I could still keep my accounts in MYOB Business Basics so wouldn’t need to upgrade the accounting software . I’d probably change over to something else in the meantime but would at least still be able to access historial accounts. On top of this I’d be able to run a Windows virtual machine on my Mac as well, which would be useful for other things and maybe even a Linux virtual machine as well.

The perfect plan? No, not quite as apparently Apple doesn’t license Snow Leopard to run under virtualisation and getting it to do so is a little tricky. Oh well, back to the drawing board.

Any suggestions?

15 Responses

  1. Alan says:

    Hmmm, it gets worse as I’ve just discovered that not only do I have to upgrade my software to make it work on Lion and then pay an ongoing annual license agreement, but come Dec 31st 2011 the software I’ve got now will stop working even under Snow Leopard.

    So, even if I don’t upgrade to Lion I’ll be stuck. How can that be right? Software that I bought 5 years ago and legally own is just going to stop working and become Read Only. I wasn’t told that when I bought it, as that was never supposed to be the case. But a new company has taken them over and now they are going to disable it and make it Read Only from the end of the year. That doesn’t seem fair to me and worse still that means that this years annual accounts are going to be useless as I won’t even be able to use the software to keep them to the end of the financial year.

    I haven’t been told about this and only found out when I went looking for information on it myself. I’ve never bought anything from Mamut and have never had anything to do with them. I bought my software from MYOB 5 years ago, MYOB have been taken over by MAMUT and now they are going to stop me using software that is legally mine that I didn’t even buy from them. There’s something not quite right there.

    Definitely time to move to something else. I have discovered that I can buy their new package from the Apple Store cheaper than I can buy it direct from Mamut and without being tied into an annual service agreement. This would of course be the easiest option for me, but I’m now feeling even more inclined to move away from the Mamut products to something else out of principal.


  2. chris jones says:

    Hi Al
    Due to a general backlash regarding the situation you describe, the latest offer from Mamut is for them to offer continuity without support for an upgrade fee of £29 for Account Edge and £119 for Account Edge Plus. As they are asking customers who have already bought the product, this is still unreasonable but getting toward the area of more trouble than it’s worth to fight against. any help?

    • Alan says:

      Thanks Chris, that is a help…. So I can upgrade from MYOB Business Basics to Mamut Account Edge for £29 and won’t have to pay an annual fee. Is that right? Where do I find out about this, and how do I do it?


  3. Julie Oakley says:

    Hi Alan and Chris.

    I’m in the same pickle. I really like Business Basics and I don’t want to nor do I have the time to learn any new software and I don’t need any support, so just don’t want them to switch off the software.

    Please let us know where we find out about the upgrade to Account Edge Chris



  4. chris jones says:

    I had an email from a George Siaperas Business Advisor Mamut detailing the offer. His email is [email protected] or phone 02030 598004

    • Alan says:

      I’ve just spoken to George.. he was of course very nice and very polite, but the long and short of it is that there is an upgrade fee from MYOB Business Basics to Mamut AccountEdge and it does indeed only cost £29, but you also have to purchase the annual Service Agreement which is £108 per year so, the total cost of the upgrade is actual £137+VAT plus an additional £108+VAT each year thereafter. If you stop paying the service agreement then the software stops working.

      Not exactly ideal as that is still a pretty expensive upgrade and then a very expensive annual fee for the ‘pleasure’ of using their software in the future. It does look as though you can Buy AccountEdge through the Apple Store for £178 though without the need for buying an annual service agreement. The Apple Store states

      “Please note: Twelve months’ support is included. Continued Support after twelve months is optional. If support is not taken after the initial twelve months the software will continue to work, but you will not be entitled to technical support or product upgrades.”

      This looks set to be the best option at the moment as it will allow me to continue using my old accounts and continue using the software in the future without being tied into paying for it every year.

      You can also get it from Amazon for £117 but they do say “*Note a mandatory yearly service agreement will be payable. This entitles you for free updates (including major releases!).”
      Quite why Apple and a few other 3rd party sellers can sell it without the need for an annual service agreement but Mamut themselves can’t I don’t know.


  5. Julie Oakley says:

    You might be interested in getting in contact with Phil who is as enraged as the rest of us and has developed a way to continue to activate MYOB files.
    I found it out following this forum thread

    And Phil puts his contact details on the page.

    • Alan says:

      Thanks Julie,
      Although for me, I first found out about this when I was planning to upgrade to Lion and found out that MYOB was a PowerPC only application so wouldn’t work under Lion. It therefore looks as though I will need to upgrade to AccountEdge in order to be able to upgrade to Lion. Using Phil’s somewhat dubious techniques to simply getting old MYOB files to run after the end of the year won’t be enough. Because it’s my choice to upgrade to Lion, I don’t mind paying a little to upgrade to Account Edge, but the cost is quite a bit more than I had expected and the annual service agreement is just a con! I’ve never needed support in the past so why would I suddenly need it now?

      Only after looking into the upgrade paths if I updated my OS to Lion did I discover the plans to disable MYOB at the end of the year. That just doesn’t seem fair to me. I can understand that a software company needs to make money and can’t offer all updates and upgrades to its products free of charge, but most manage by improving their products enough to make people want to upgrade. They don’t normally do as Mamut are doing which is to force you to upgrade by artificially disabling a product that you bought many years before in good faith. If I buy software that works on my current hardware / operating system and I don’t change that combination of hardware and OS then surely the software I purchased should continue to work indefinitely? As a developer myself I can see that any changes in the original hardware / OS may require development of the software and then, yes, someone has to pay for it. But if nothing changes then it shouldn’t be disabled just to force you into purchasing an update.



  6. Alan says:

    Just a quick update. I decided that although out of principal I;d rather move to software from another company that it would be a lot of work and therefore take a lot of time to make my old accounts accessible once I moved away from MYOB Business Basics.

    The only way to easily keep these old account usable was to upgrade to Mamut AccountEdge. The other options were just as costly too, as long as I could find a way of upgrading without incurring on ongoing annual fee.

    Buying via the Apple Store for £179.95 was the way to do this as it stated the following on their site

    “Please note: Twelve months’ support is included. Continued Support after twelve months is optional. If support is not taken after the initial twelve months the software will continue to work, but you will not be entitled to technical support or product upgrades.”

    I spoke to George at Mamut and he confirmed this so I ordered Mamut AccountEdge from the Apple Store on Sept 16th.

    It arrived today and the version I got was AccountEdge 2010, not AccountEdge 2011, but it seems to be OK. It isn’t very different from the MYOB Business basics. It has a few extra features and is a little more colourful but it is essentially the same application… I just had to pay £179.95 for the privilege of continuing to use it. Upgrading my company files and accounts was straight forward and I can now open them all in Account Edge. AccountEdge will also run under Lion, so if / when I upgrade to Lion I should be ready to go.

    The fact that it is AccountEdge 2010 and not AccountEdge 2011 does mean that it won’t sync with the iPad app, but that isn’t a huge problem for me. It would have been nice seeing as I do have an iPad, but I didn’t need that before so should survive without it now.

    One other thing to note though is that I decided to check which version it said I was buying on the Apple Store, and it is no longer there. It looks as though Apple no longer sell it, or that Mamut have asked them to remove it as they have discovered that it was a loophole that allowed people to buy it without signing up to the ‘service agreement’. I could be jumping to conclusions, it may just be that Apple are out of stock, but it does seem a little odd that it disappears from the Apple Store days after mentioning to Mamut the fact that I could buy it there without the service agreement.

    I just hope my version does continue to function as stated without the need to pay the annual service charge.


  7. Julie Oakley says:

    I’m furious I was just about to buy it from the apple store this afternoon and it’s not available.

    I’ve rung apple and they can’t explain why it’s not there any more, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Mamut have closed this loophole.

    I think I’ll go back to having a paper ledger.

    • Alan says:

      Sorry Julie… I feel a little guilty that I managed to get in there before it was removed, and possibly a little responsible for its removal, but I hope not, I’m sure I don’t have that much influence. It does seem a little suspicious though.


  8. Alan says:

    Time for a bit of an update.

    First up I discovered that the 2010 edition may not actually be Lion compatible after all which was a bit of a shame. I wasn’t certain, but there may have been a few problems with it. Thankfully, the version I bought from Apple came with a 12 month upgrade and service pack so I was able to download the demo of the 2011 version of AccountEdge from the Mamut website and register it using the serial number from my Apple Store purchase.

    This means I now have the 2011 version of AccountEdge running and fully registered on my Mac which will work under Lion when / if I upgrade my OS.

    Julie has also managed to track down a copy of the software from a bricks and mortar Apple Store – one of the last copies available in the country as far as I’m aware.

    Also, I’ve just had a phone call from George at Mamut asking how I’m getting on. I told him what I’d done and I once again checked with him that the version I now have is completely Lion compatible and will continue to work without having to pay the annual service fee. He assured me it will, so it looks as though I’m OK… Until of course I need to upgrade due to an incompatibility with a future release of the Mac OS.

    So, it cost me £180 but I now have continued access to my historical accounts, don’t have to pay an annual fee and hopefully have software that will continue to work under Lion for several years to come.


  9. Alan says:

    Just thought I;d let you all know that I have recently upgraded to OSX 10.9 Mavericks and all seems OK with my (now quite old) version of AccountEdge – without an annual support fee.


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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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