Cougar Mountain Software — CMS Professional 2009 Accounting

CMS Professional 2009 Accounting from Cougar Mountain Software is ideally suited to small to mid-sized businesses looking for a step above off-the-shelf accounting programs. With its modular structure and numerous add-on programs, CMS Professional is well suited for growing businesses.

From the June 2009 Review of Small Business Accounting Systems: Tier II

CMS Professional 2009 Accounting remains an easy-to-navigate program, containing a toolbar at the top of the screen that offers easy access to program functions such as File, Journal, Reports and Account. Options change as you change modules, thus providing easy access to functions found within that module. Modules can also be accessed from the icon bar if desired.

CMS Professional contains numerous upgrade and system enhancements in the 2009 version, including the ability to attach documents to your system data and the ability to print invoices by aging period. It also offers new sort options for printing customer history reports, a log file that contains all your credit card activity, and the ability to block charges from being added to delinquent customers.

Data-entry screens are easily navigated, with the appropriate lookup options available throughout. System setup is a breeze with the use of the Setup Wizard, which takes you through the basics and module set up. CMS Professional uses a batch system for processing transactions and offers numerous user-defined fields that can be set up according to your needs.

CMS Professional 2009 Accounting includes GL, AP, AR, Inventory, Order Entry and the Data Exchange modules. Add-on modules available include Payroll, Job Cost, Bank Reconciliation and Purchase Order, along with many others.

The program includes three-year fiscal calendar capability, the ability to handle multiple companies, and the ability to define budgets for each company. The AR module can handle an unlimited number of customers, and one customer payment can be applied to numerous invoices (up to 250). You can also timestamp all AR transactions, an excellent feature for future reference. In AP, recurring payments can be easily setup and payment activity monitored by vendor. CMS Professional’s Inventory module can track inventory levels at multiple locations, use various valuation techniques for inventory costing, and allow you to easily view inventory totals and transaction history from a single window.

System security capability is good in CMS Professional with the ability to assign employee access to individual system functions, modules and data. Audit trail reports allow you to monitor system usage so you’ll always know what is going on with the system.

Reporting options remain strong in the latest version of CMS Professional 2009 Accounting with reports available within each module. Built-in filters allow you to define reporting options to print the information that you need. R&R ReportWorks Infinity, which is included with CMS Professional, opens up your print options considerably, providing everything from form customization to data mining capability. Also available is an optional GL Report Generator, which allows you to create account or fund categories that can be either included with your reports, or excluded, if preferred. A custom report template can be created and modified as needed, or saved for future access. The report scheduler allows you to schedule reports in advance so you’ll never forget to run a report when you need it.

Handy management tools are found throughout CMS Professional, including data mining capability and the Snapshot Report feature, which offers business owners a quick glance at their business statistics. Industry-specific add-on modules such as the CRM Bridge to ACT!, Job Cost and Advanced Bill of Materials also offer advanced reporting and management options designed specifically for your business type.

CMS Professional 2009 Accounting offers excellent integration capabilities. All modules are completely integrated so add-on modules can be purchased as needed. Cougar Mountain also offers one of the most extensive lists of add-on modules that I have seen, particularly for a product designed for smaller businesses. The Data Exchange module, included in CMS Professional, makes it easy to import and export data using a wide variety of formats such as Excel, Lotus, Access, dBaseIII, FoxPro and ASCII. Data can also be imported from other accounting software, and the data transfer process makes exporting data painless.

Cougar Mountain Software offers several different support options, including the Software Assurance plan, which is available in both Standard and Premier levels. The Software Assurance plan provides customers with everything from access to the customer service center and product knowledge base to all maintenance and service packs, product upgrades and basic e-learning. You’ll also get a discount on support and classroom and telephone training. The premier version also provides 20 hours of online or telephone support. Numerous phone support plans are available, as well, ranging from two hours to 20 hours of support per contract year.

CMS Professional offers an excellent Help option, in addition to classroom and online training through the vendor’s popular e-learning offerings, which provide access to over 100 online tutorials.

CMS Professional from Cougar Mountain Software is an excellent product. A single-user system currently costs $1,599. The Payroll module is extra as an add-on module and costs $425 for a single user. This is an excellent product for smaller and growing businesses that need flexibility, integration and affordability.