Ready, set ... GST!

That about sums up the challenge facing small to medium enterprises (SMEs) with just a couple of months to go until Australia gives birth to its bouncing baby GST. With that in mind, our regular round-up of accounting software has a heavy emphasis on new or impending versions that are GST-ready.

It is understandable that small business has been hesitant to prepare for the new tax system, considering that the tax legislation has been a moving target. However, the GST requires plenty of preparation - much more than creating an "add 10 per cent" key on the cash register.

Basically, the GST means you become a tax collector. You are responsible for charging for the tax where applicable (which is a pricing issue in itself), collecting it from customers, and remitting it to the Australian Tax Office (ATO), just as you will need to claim tax input credits for the GST you have paid to your suppliers. This raises vital cash-flow concerns for any business.

Many businesses that have been running paper-based accounting systems will be forced to computerise their books just to survive. The accounting software vendors know this and they're ready with GST-capable programs to help - yes, they'll probably make a killing on the GST but, remember, it wasn't their idea in the first place.

Spending the vouchers

Making the choice

MYOB Retail Manager

Going global with PlanetPastel

Entry-level acounting

MYOB FirstAccounts 3.1

Pastel SOHO 1.1

Quicken Cashbooks 8

Quickbooks 7

Mid-range (Single- and multi-user)

MYOB Accounting 9/Accounting Plus 9

MYOB Premier Accounting 3

Pastel Partner 5.2

Pastel Partner, Client Server

Quickbooks Pro 7

Sybiz Vision 2.32

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