MultiLedger 7

MultiLedger 7

If you think this looks modern, you probably yearn for the days of eWorld.

 

MultiLedger 7 is touted as a "fully integrated accounting program" by its publisher, CheckMark Software. It does indeed have the features you expect from a small-business accounting package -- it tracks financial accounts, customers, vendors, inventory, and jobs. Budgeting, salespeople, and taxes are accommodated too. With built-in networking abilities and cross-platform compatibility, MultiLedger's feature set is quite compelling. But once you double-click the MultiLedger icon, disappointment sets in.

 

MultiLedger's Achilles heel is its outmoded interface. Navigating our way through MultiLedger's many components took us back to the time when a modern-day Mac had a built-in 9-inch black-and-white screen. It's not just a statement of fashion - user interface has evolved over the past 20 years, yet MultiLedger remains trapped in a System 7 paradigm. Toolbars, admittedly overdone in some applications, are simply nonexistent in MultiLedger. Windows and dialog boxes are nonstandard and often frustrating to use. Many windows, like Account Setup, have no buttons for saving or canceling. You just have to close the window and hope that your changes have been retained. When buttons are present in a window, they're not OS X buttons, and they're placed in the top left corner, not the bottom right as we've come to expect.

 

One of the most welcomed features among MultiLedger's competing apps, such as Intuit's QuickBooks Pro 2007 for Mac, is the setup assistant, an interview-style process that gathers information about your accounting needs and sets up an appropriate company file the first time you launch the app. Our appreciation for the setup assistant only expanded when we realized that MultiLedger doesn't have one. On first launch, MultiLedger offers no welcome, no offer of assistance, no guidance whatsoever. The app required us to create our new company almost entirely from scratch. This meant typing entries for all of our clients and vendors as well as some 40 accounts. Before setting up MultiLedger, we suggest users crack the manual and study pages 13 through 56. Professional bookkeepers and accountants may find the setup acceptable but tedious, but average small-business owners are sure to lose their patience. MultiLedger does offer some limited import capabilities, but we were disappointed to learn that text files are the only supported format. Address Book import would be a most welcome addition, not to mention some sort of migration assistant from other products.

 

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