A botched customer relationship management (CRM) system upgrade at MYOB is behind major problems at the accounting software maker that have left customers unable to pay wages, super and tax.
The problems began on Friday night and continued into this week, with 23 forum pages so far filled by impacted users.
“On Friday night we had a major upgrade to our CRM system,” MYOB’s social support and community manager Suja Pillai posted.
“This system controls a number of our other services, including our automated activation and confirmation (licensing) services.”
For anti-piracy and assurance reasons, MYOB requires customers to activate and then periodically reconfirm ownership of their company file and that they hold the correct licensing to make changes to that file.
Failing to reconfirm the file puts it in a read-only status, so users are unable to make changes to it.
The systems for activating and confirming the file are among those taken offline by the botched CRM upgrade.
That has left scores of MYOB customers unable to make changes and therefore process any accounting activity through their company files.
That means delayed filing of business activity statements, which were due in to the Australian Taxation Office on April 28, as well as users unable to meet wage or super obligations.
Pillai claimed that the CRM upgrade “had been extensively tested” prior to it being put into production.
Despite the tests, MYOB “started noticing some issues on Saturday morning.”
It said it managed to fix “most of the issues” but that “another issue” had since arisen that was likely to cause the issues to resurface.
That second issue was characterised as a “service that connects two other systems”. It was causing connection errors for customers trying to log into AccountRight Live for files not confirmed in the last 30 days, as well as errors for users trying to upload new files.
Users were also unable to activate or add new users to their company file, and also faced errors when trying to log into their self-service portal.
“Rest assured that we are doing everything we can to get things back up and running,” Pillai said.
“Our teams are working (literally) around the clock and we have our third party vendors here working with us as critical priority.”
For customers unable to make the BAS deadlines for the ATO, MYOB said only that it was working with the tax office on the “best approach to deal with [it].”
“We'll keep you posted,” the company said.
“For now, there's nothing you need to do other than sit tight and re-attempt any currently unavailable services every 30 minutes or so.”
The company said it would provide a letter outlining the problems that it said could be passed to the ATO by customers that had missed the quarterly BAS deadline.
Pillai apologised on behalf of the software maker.
“To say that we're sorry for the effect this has had would be a huge understatement,” Pillai wrote.
“We realise the impact this is having and I promise you we have everyone we can working as hard as they can to get you back up and running.”
However, as the outage continued, customers began to lose patience.
“For those of us who have Super payments due; how do we pay those? For those of us who have wages to pay, how do we do those?” user dmwitnish wrote.
“This is much so bigger than just an upgrade gone wrong. How do you come back from this? How do you compensate for this?”
Other users complained that an explanation emailed to them was not signed by MYOB’s CEO but rather with a generic ‘the MYOB team’, causing them to question the company’s response in the wake of the outage.
Update, 3pm: MYOB said customers unable to file BAS documents with the tax office had a fortnight's extension to do so.
The company said the issues "affected less than one percent of users" and the "majority ... have now been addressed".