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Review of Cougar Mountain Software — Denali - 2011

 

Cougar Mountain Software - Denali
800-388-3038
www.cougarmtn.com

 

From the April/May 2011 Review of On-Premise Installed Accounting Systems for Small Business

Denali from Cougar Mountain Software is a modular product well suited for small to mid-sized businesses that want a flexible, easily navigated product. With solid accounting functionality as well as specialty products available for retailers, and a Fund accounting module to be released at the end of April, Denali definitely moves Cougar Mountain Software into the big leagues.

 Best Fit:
Recently rewritten modular application provides mid-range flexibility and sophistication at a reasonable price. Well-suited for small to mid-sized businesses.

Basic System Functions:
While I accessed Denali via the SinglePoint by Applianz technology that CMS offers, the product installed without issue. CMS is also making support personnel available to their existing clientele who wish to migrate from CMS Professional to the more robust Denali product.

Strengths:

  • Reporting includes 120 basic reports, as well as support for Crystal Reports/ODBC & Financial/Sales Dashboards
  • Support for complex account & department structures (up to a total of 50 characters)
  • CMS SinglePoint Server allows remote access; database can easily scale to support up to 100 users
  • Strong inventory support includes options for FIFO, LIFO, Weighted Average & Standard Cost valuation
  • Multiple currencies supported

Potential Limitations:

  • Denali Payroll & Fund Accounting modules will not launch until later this year
  • Limited market penetration means many first-time users will require additional training
..

The updated Denali interface has a level of polish more commonly associated with higher end mid-range systems. The navigational screens are color-coded for easy recognition, and the main part of the screen contains a navigational flowchart that makes it easy to get to where you want to go. Along with the typical drop-down menu at the top of the screen, Denali offers a menu bar that displays all of the available system modules. All display screens are accessible, with system functions on any screen. Cougar Dtails, A Financial Dashboard offers customizable profit & loss and cash flow information with user-defined date ranges and data size options. Cougar Dtails, A Sales Dashboard offers a multitude of information such as Top Sales by Product, Sales Comparisons and Top Sales by Location. The Sales Dashboard, like the Financial Dashboard is fully customizable.

Denali currently offers both retail/point-of-sale modules and industry-specific features, as well as strong general accounting functionality suitable for both product and service businesses. According to the vendor, a Fund accounting module will also be available at the end of April this year. Denali runs optimally on Windows XP Professional, Vista Business or Windows 7 Professional.

Core Accounting Capabilities:
Denali utilizes a strong batch system when processing system transactions. It also offers the option to adjust account segments to better reflect business structure. Users can enter up to six different segments, and the account number can be up to 50 characters in length. Recurring JEs can be saved and posted on the assigned date, and GL information can be imported, as well. In the AP module, vendor activity is entered into a vendor template, which can be customized as needed. Checks can be printed immediately or through the regular AP process. Recurring AP invoices can be easily entered and processed when scheduled. The AR module tracks detailed customer information as well as information such as billing/shipping history, transaction history and EFT information, if applicable. Denali modules are fully integrated so duplicate entry is a thing of the past. The AR Customer Statements window quickly processes customer statements, with specific printing criteria selected when statements are printed.

Sales tax codes can be easily added and defined for one or more taxing agencies by entering the tax description, taxing agency and percentage. The vendor noted that it will offer a Denali payroll module later this year, but it currently offers its payroll option through the CMS Payroll Bridge, where users can import payroll batches from off-site payroll providers into Denali. All tax tables and updates are available with the purchase of the vendor’s Software Assurance plan, which comes included for 12 months after the purchase of the software.

By utilizing the batch system, Denali maintains audit trail integrity, by permanently recording financial information once the batches are posted. Once posted, they become a permanent part of the system and cannot be removed. Denali offers multi-currency capabilities, where users can enter default exchange rates and update them as needed.

Using CMS SinglePoint Server, users can access and enter accounting data from any location. Denali supports multiple companies and offers the ability to consolidate financial statements when needed. Denali is very robust, and can support up to 100 system users.

Day-To-Day Operations:
Denali supports various shipping methods, which can be set up as needed. Sales tax can be calculated against multiple tax rates, as entered in the customer setup screen. The optional integrated eCommerce Solution, CMS Total eCom, provides users with the ability to manage both store and web inventory, including support for multiple warehouses, from the same location. Denali’s Sales product (POS and OE) easily integrates with all other Denali modules to provide a complete retail solution for small to mid-sized retail stores. The vendor also offers optional add-on products such as Retail/POS and Merchant Transaction Services. Customer information can be managed in the Customer profile page, which tracks data such as credit/collection information as well as transaction history and user-defined fields.

Denali supports various inventory valuation methods including LIFO, FIFO, Weighted Average and Standard Cost. The system also supports assembly inventory and bills of materials for accurate costing. If inventory variances are found, a simple adjustment can be made to your on-hand quantities. A detailed history is available for any inventory transactions posted.

Payments to vendors can be made online, and MerchantWARE TransPort allows for processing credit card transactions. The CMS Total eCom module offers storefront integration as well as basic website setup. Denali can be remotely accessed utilizing the Single Point Server option.

Management Features:
Denali offers both a Sales Dashboard and a Financial Dashboard, both of which can be customized as needed. Reporting options are excellent, with over 120 standard reports included. Denali uses Crystal Reports as a report engine, which allows for deep customization. For more complex customizations, CMS also has an in-house Custom Modification Department. The vendor also offers an extensive array of report add-ons that increase reporting capability. Denali uses individual and group security, with access set by module.

Integration/Import/Export:
All of Denali’s core accounting modules provide seamless integration with each other. The Inventory module integrates with the POS module, as well as the add-on e-Commerce module for solid inventory management. Import and export options are excellent, with the ability to import or export customer or vendor files, transactions, payroll (through a bridge with CMS Professional or outside vendors) and other data as needed. Denali users can also set up their accountants with remote access for easy data retrieval.

Help/Support:
Cougar Mountain Software's Software Assurance plan is included in the cost of Denali for the first year, with access to the Customer Service Center, FAQs, all maintenance and service packs released during the year, as well as discounts on training and other services. Telephone support packages are also available. The vendor’s website is an excellent source of information, with all support handled at their headquarters in Boise, Idaho.

Executive Summary & Pricing
Denali is an excellent accounting product for small to mid-sized businesses. It’s extremely flexible and can easily grow along with the business. With solid accounting functionality as well as specialty products available for retailers, and a Fund accounting module to be released at the end of April, Denali definitely moves Cougar Mountain Software into the big leagues. Standard modules are $599 each with a $295 user license required, as well.

2011 Overall Rating:

 

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