Red Wing Software - CenterPoint Accounting
From the April/May 2011 Review of On-Premise Installed Accounting Systems for Small Business
Started in 1979, Red Wing Software offers quality accounting and financial software products to small and mid-sized businesses. CenterPoint Accounting is an entry-level product that contains all the basics that a small company requires. The addition of a strong Inventory module will create a new market for this product. Also available from the vendor is TurningPoint, a more sophisticated accounting product designed for larger companies or those looking to upgrade from their entry-level product.
Small & mid-sized businesses who need an entry-level product with all the basics; scalable to more sophisticated TurningPoint accounting product designed for larger companies
Basic System Functions:
CenterPoint was downloaded from a link provided by the vendor, and installed in minutes. System navigation is easy, with a drop-down menu that offers access to system functions. Icons are displayed directly below, providing access to frequently used functions. The Quick List option, to the left of the navigation screen, provides a shortcut to all system modules and frequently used features.
Customization options are found throughout, with the ability to customize just about any user interface screen if desired. CenterPoint also contains a variety of other features such as the transaction search function that makes system navigation easier. The drilldown option also provides quick access to all originating transactions for invoices and payments.
This program is designed for small businesses, and while there are no industry-specific templates or features, it does contain all the core functions that a small business should need. However, Red Wing Software does offer two other industry-specific products: CenterPoint Fund Accounting for nonprofits and CenterPoint Accounting for Agriculture. However, both are offered as separate product versions, not as templates or industry-specific features with the core CenterPoint accounting system.
Core Accounting Capabilities:
CenterPoint offers the option to utilize real-time accounting or to use the batch system. Account numbers can utilize up to 22 characters, and sub-accounts can be created for easier account grouping. The system also offers a transaction template that can be utilized for quicker transaction entry. Both recurring journal entries and recurring batches can be saved. Users can also set up entries for auto-reversal, if desired.
CenterPoint offers several features that simplify data entry, including the ability to add vendor, customer and inventory information on the fly. Using the batch entry system, users can easily review and edit any transactions prior to posting. Default account numbers can be entered for vendors and customers, with the ability to post both partial and full payments in the AR module, as well as easily process and print customer statements.
Sales tax is easily tracked. Users need to set up tax categories and jurisdictions, with tax categories assigned to all items or services. After tax categories are assigned, users simply define each tax entity with the appropriate tax percentage.
CenterPoint offers a separate payroll system that easily integrates with the accounting product. All tax tables are provided, and updates are serviced with Customer Care memberships. An advanced audit trail called “Transaction Search” can list any transaction in the system with filter and sorting capabilities. Posted transactions can be drilled down, and for auditing purposes, the life cycle of the transaction can be determined.
CenterPoint allows for the entry of information for various shipping options, but there is no true integration with any specific shipping vendor. Sales tax can be calculated based on any of the tax entities that are set up within the program. The Sales module in CenterPoint easily handles day-to-day sales information and integrates with the new Inventory module. No point-of-sale module is currently available.
Customer information can be easily tracked in the AR module, with all screens customizable to display only the information desired. Detailed customer ordering preferences can be recorded, but CenterPoint does not offer integration with any third-party CRM programs. Employee information can also be easily tracked and managed using the system’s payroll module.
As previously noted, CenterPoint now offers an integrated Inventory module. Valuation methods supported include LIFO, FIFO and Average Cost. Retail accounting is easily supported, with products being assigned groups for easily inventory management. Various sales types are also available, including inventory item, serialized item, lotted item, service item, service item with labor, and non-tracked items. All inventory adjustments are posted using the Special Transactions Template, where inventory levels users can easily be adjusted up or down accordingly.
While system dashboards are not currently available, the new Ratios module easily performs business calculations similar to a dashboard. The excellent drilldown capability allows management to easily spot strengths and weaknesses, as well as trends. The financial analysis summary also performs a similar function.
Reporting options are available in five areas: transaction reports, financial statements, setup lists, audit reports, and user defined/tax reports. The excellent forms designer included in CenterPoint allows users to easily customize reports to suit their business, with options to customize reports, statements, invoices and checks. Reports can be saved as favorites and quickly accessed when needed. All CenterPoint reports can be viewed on-screen, printed, or exported to Excel or PDF. CenterPoint utilizes both database security as well as system security, with all system users assigned to a group. Menu-level security is also available.
CenterPoint contains an import function that simplifies data import from other databases. Financial, customer or budget information can also be easily exported to Excel for spreadsheet creation. Reports can be re-formatted as a PDF for easy emailing or sharing. The system easily integrates with other Red Wing products, including Fund Accounting, Accounting for Agriculture, and the CenterPoint Payroll module. CenterPoint does not currently offer an option to transfer data files to an accountant.
CenterPoint offers an excellent Help function throughout the product. Various training videos can also be accessed. A quick link to the vendor’s website allows registered users to check for any product updates or available downloads. The CenterPoint website offers an extensive library of webinars, which is an excellent training option for new users. How2 information as well as the CheckPoint Community Forum can also be accessed from the website. All new customers must purchase a Customer Care Membership. Gold-level memberships cost $649.99; $949 for inventory users. Support is U.S.-based and is part of the Customer Care Membership, as are product maintenance, updates and payroll tax tables (for payroll users).
Executive Summary & Pricing
CenterPoint Accounting costs $1,495 for a single-user system; each additional seat is $295. The optional CenterPoint Payroll module is $795, and the Inventory module is $695. Though not suited for everyone, CenterPoint can provide smaller businesses with solid accounting capability. With the option to upgrade to the more robust TurningPoint system from Red Wing, CenterPoint can be an excellent starting point for smaller, growing businesses who desire solid customization capability.
2011 Overall Rating: