How to avoid upgrading MYOB to cope with GST change

MYOB demonstrate again why I have switched to Xero. To cope with the GST change you either need to upgrade, or follow the instructions on their website.

The instruction pages all start with the boilerplate text:

“The quickest and easiest way to handle the 1 October GST and tax changes is to update your software.”

This is true. Upgrading is the easiest answer – but it does, of course, come at a price. This sort of forced upgrading is how MYOB makes recurring revenue, and it should be added to the service plans and compared with subscription models.

But you can avoid the upgrade by following a obnoxiously complicated process, but be aware that even when you are done the GST Return functionality will no longer work – you need to go manual:

Completing a Standard GST Return post October 1If you choose not to upgrade your software, the GST Return included in your current BusinessBasics software will not calculate correctly for periods on or after October 2010. Do not use the old GST Return report (101) for any Returns at the new GST rate. Instead you can use the appropriate GST Detail and Summary reports to derive the correct values to allow you to complete the GST Return manually.

So here it is below – how to change GST in MYOB for Business Basics – which is the cheapest package and is “Accounting software that helps with the basics like invoicing, expenses and GST. Great for a small business.

Try not to laugh, or cry, and sincerely – if you are using MYOB then now is a really good time to shift to something like Xero. I did a few months ago and the difference is light and day.

Published by Lance Wiggs


21 replies on “How to avoid upgrading MYOB to cope with GST change”

  1. Lance

    Couple of things here…

    1) You’re kind of shooting the messenger, it’s the ID that made this entire process so complex
    2) In fairness we’re yet to see a definitive method for managing this change from Xero as well – it’s going to be a complex process no matter what software you use (and I have businesses using both MYOB and Xero)

    My 2 cents


  2. Xero must be loving this! I’ve just helped another business switch to Xero after using MYOB for seven years. We’ve also just launched another new business and there was never a question of which accounting software to use.


  3. @Ben, you’re earning your MYOB defender points today.

    We are covering everything in Xero full stop.

    MYOB has understandably gone for the easiest implementation which leaves their customers keying data in to sort out any anomalous transactions like credit notes and calculate stuff manually. They need documents as big as they have to tell you how to work around the bits they didn’t build.

    Our approach has been to build the smarts in the app so that the user just enters the data as they usually would and we will sort it out. GST is one of our most important features we have, and the dev team are busy coding up some facemeltingly complex stuff so that the experience for the user is easy.



    @stuartm u bet!


    1. Rod – I’m not hunting for MYOB defender points. I’ve talked Xero up more than I’ve done so for MYOB if you look at a history of my posts.

      I’m doing the GST changes webinar incognito with Matt tomorrow, between that and the actual 1 October change I’ll let you know my thoughts…


  4. Actually, on second thoughts and in fairness to Xero, much of the complexity around the GST change was forced upon all vendors by the IRD. I’m doing a webinar with Xero resident hunk Matt Barnett tomorrow and will then be able to say how much of a dog the process is (or otherwise). Similarly after October I’ll be able to assess the same for MYOB…..


  5. It seems that you get offended when you have to pay for an upgrade for a piece of software and think it is a company trying to extort money from you. Whilst at the same time you are happy to pay 50 dollars a month to another company for software that when you stop paying for you lose access to your information. With MYOB the cost in the long run can be a lot cheaper and suit some businesses better.

    I am not debating the ease of processes between MYOB and Xero as the functionality in Xero with GST is quite slick. However everyone seems to forget that Xero is not free and costs around 500-600 dollars a year FOREVER.


  6. @Graeme, you can easily get your data from Xero and we maintain your data even if you leave, which you can get back at any time in the future for a small charge.

    MYOB support (what you need to pay each month to get updates like this GST change) for equivalent products to Xero is $48 per month (with a 12 month minimum) so Xero, with no upfront cost and no contract is demonstrably cheaper let alone no servers, no backups, time saved etc etc.

    If we save you an hour a month (and we’re sure we save you many many hours then that) we’re sure could based applications are very good value.

    We also have cheaper versions for small businesses.

    Hope this helps



    1. In the terms, there is no liability if Xero loses the data, which happened recently with a very large US software company where they lost their customers data. Also what happens if Xero goes out of business, as businesses don’t last forever. You also have the risk of prices going up over time. Accounting software is something that I don’t beleive needs to be cloud based, as updates can be pushed to software that you install on the PC. Also it is not usable if you don’t have an internet connection, unlike conventional accounting software. I can see the benefits, and I like the idea of Xeros system and it’s ease of use, but I personally wouldn’t use it due to it being cloud based.


      1. Hi Rob, great to hear your feedback as it allows us to address the concerns.

        We’d be screwed if we lost your data which is why we invest so heavily in world class operations.

        You’re far more likely to have your hard disk crash than us loose your data.

        We recommend people who are dependent on cloud applications get a prepay mobile data card. Not getting customer emails is probably more of a problem than having to hop down to the internet cafe to do your bank reconciliation.

        We will not put up prices for existing customers. Our model is to provide more and more value as we release software each month. For example when we release multi-currency we made it no charge for all existing customers as a loyalty bonus. That’s just common sense for us for us to do.

        Lance’s post covers many of the reasons why we believe SaaS is better. Initiatives like the IRD’s Making Tax Easier will provide more and more benefits to being online.

        Maybe we won’t get you this year but I’m sure we’ll get you some time in the future :)



        1. Cheers Rod for your reply, and it certainly answers most of my concerns. Yes you are right you will probably right about getting me in the end. I will need to buy some shares in the company.


  7. Whoops that was a bad sentence … should be..

    If we save you an hour a month (and we’re sure we save you many more hours then that) we’re sure cloud based applications are very good value.


  8. I have just tried to upgrade my MYOB software, to the latest version. However apparently the new versions don’t support the format of my old software, and it neds some form of convertor, but there is no converter to be found on their website. Massive fail by MYOB. Maybe they are wanting peopel to switch to another company. I have also tried emailing them, but no reply.


    1. Dear Matt

      All MYOB AccountRight products include a database upgrader ( it’s accessed from the program menu) so your data can be used in the latest version. We can usually upgrade data from even our oldest versions.

      Let me know what product and version your using and I’ll will ensure our Support Team sort that for you. My email address is: or you can call me on 021773344.

      Kind regards

      Julian Smith
      General Manager – NZ


  9. Great post lance, and you’re dead on with these legislative changes being a goldmine for accounting software companies (think back to 2000 when myob’s share price rocketed from under a $1 to about $4 in the space of a few weeks because the aus govt introduced gst).

    to be honest it sux for business owners, theyre the ones who wear it while the fat cats rake it in – compliance costs are killing a lot of nz businesses so its no wonder a lot of businesses opt for a shoebox and excel spreadsheet instead of getting caught up in the game some software companies play. with myob of course they want you to upgrade, in fact what they really want you to do is think ‘rather than buy an upgrade every time the govt changes a rate by half a percent, i shld join the support plan get free upgrades’.

    if i remember correctly from when i worked there you should actually be able to just update the rate yourself (for gst anyway) – its just in settings > tax rates or something

    if i was conspiracy theorist id say these guys have someone on the inside making large party donations in return for a 2.5% gst increase :)


  10. Sure the GST change is an opportunity to revew the other products for me, but my view is that MYOB does what it says on the box. It’s a known quantity and a GST change is a once in 15 year activity. That alone has not driven me to change.

    That and my accountant has advised me that the costs and functionality of Xero is not what I have in MYOB. The key challenge is this: if I switched to Xero I would want the option to switch again. I think its unethical of Saas Xero to keep all my data for ever and either not confirm it’s been removed, and not let me export it lock stock.


  11. @Andrew. You have the option to switch from Xero (we have no contracts) and you can export your data from Xero in numerous ways.

    If a customer asked us to remove their data of course we’d do it immediately. That’s just common sense. We would never do anything that was unethical. That is completely against the values of everyone at Xero.

    As to costs, with MYOB support factored in Xero is often cheaper but we have no doubt that the business case for SaaS with no servers to manage and the time we can save we stack up and are providing even more value with each monthly release. SaaS is a different from boxed software – we have a team looking after your data every day.


  12. i have to agree with rod on the point that SaaS is a much better business case, and myob know it hence why they made an attempt (im being gracious by calling it an attempt – it didnt even work on firefox!) with businessbasics online, and now theyve come back with accounts live or something, which (i havent tested it) looks like a better job. the other factor is that ex-ceo of myob craig winkler bought like a 20% share in xero says he knows its the future of accounting software.

    unfortunately most users of accounting software (& accountants too) are known as laggards in the business (late adopters of technology) so the changeover isnt going to happen quickly but xero are doing a good job of trying to encourage change and i say good on them for that.


  13. Im rather late here, but this is very interesting.
    I just an hour ago got off the phone to MYOB. Aparently they did a “special price” of 263.35 for the upgrade for the GST change( thought i wasnt told this at the time). I got a quote but being lost in the silly season did not get round to comfirming an upgrade – my fault i know. However when i range back in the new year the upgrade had gone up $200!! So thats over $400 to upgrade the GST, for something that would take me 2 seconds on a calculator anyway. Ofter a very long phone call today, where i was treated like i was 5 years old, they refused to budge,I therefore have decided that our company can do without the upgrade.

    On another note, i do not that i have found another simplier way to update the MYOB than that on their website …… Maybe there is something I have missed that will come to light in next few months, who knows.

    Will look into Xero, however I do not see my director being too keen on changing once again – after all MYOB was meant to be the fix to accounting products scamming for money.


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