2008 Review of Mid-Range Client Accounting Programs

From the Sept. 2008 Issue

Accounting software continues to evolve every year. Many of the features found in these products today were previously only available in high-end products just a few years ago. But as users become more sophisticated, they have come to expect more sophisticated products. As a result, the vendors of these products continue to raise the stakes accordingly, offering the newest features and expanded functionality, all designed to keep existing customers happy, as well as appeal to new customers.

The mid-range accounting products reviewed here range from standard accounting products designed to be installed on your desktop to systems that offer web-based products that can be accessed at your convenience from anywhere with an Internet connection. This range in products is one of the main reasons it has become increasingly more difficult to determine the value of a certain product or what that even means. Value to a smaller company with a more rigid budget means something completely different than it does to a company with hundreds of employees.

While smaller companies may never need to have 24-hour access to their accounting system, their more robust counterparts certainly may.

Each product carries its own set of benefits, and it remains on the shoulders of the potential buyer to scope out the features and capabilities of any product they may be considering. More than ever before, vendors have worked to ease this vetting process by offering online demos, free demo CDs and even WebEx sessions, where the product can be viewed in action to help the potential customer decide whether or not it’s a good fit.

This year’s review considers the following six areas:

  • Ease of Use/Transaction Entry
    This area is extremely important, particularly for those looking to upgrade their current product, or even those who are considering the purchase of a new product. Is there a large learning curve or can you set up the product and be ready to go? Is the system easily navigated? Can transactions be easily entered?
  • Modules & Notable Features
    This section lists the modules that are part of the base or standard system and provides a fairly comprehensive listing of available add-on modules. This section also recognizes some of the more notable features such as dashboards and customization capabilities.
  • Integration/Import/Export
    This section answers questions like the following: Can the system import data from third-party applications? Do all of the modules work together? Can data be exported to other applications, as well?
  • Reporting
    Reporting is one of the most important features of any accounting system. While all accounting products produce a series of standard reports, it’s important to note the extent of customization capabilities on reports. Other questions this section answers include the following: Can reports be exported to various file formats? Are they easily accessible? Can they be e-mailed to recipients on a timely basis?
  • Support/Training/Help
    Quality support is a necessity when purchasing any new software product. Is the support available during your working hours? Is it included in the price of the software or is there an annual charge? Is quality training available if needed? Is there a decent Help feature available in the system? You’ll find these questions addressed in this section of each product review.
  • Relative Value
    We try to advise readers on the general cost of the product. Of course, product pricing varies based on individual needs, and the ultimate value determination can only be made by the potential buyer. As always, I want to encourage those who are looking for a product in this genre to visit the vendor websites in order to learn more about the product and to access and try out a demo.

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Cougar Mountain Software - CMS Professional
overall rating
CMS Professional from Cougar Mountain Software is aimed at mid-sized companies looking to upgrade from basic accounting software. The program is offered in various packages to suit different needs.
CYMA Systems, Inc. - CYMA Accounting for Windows
overall rating
CYMA has been offering its comprehensive financial management system to businesses for more than 30 years, and Version 10 continues the tradition of providing new features and enhancements with each release.
eTEK International Inc. - eTEK Accounting for Microsoft Office 2007
overall rating
eTEK International continues in its tradition of providing cutting-edge accounting software to multiple industries. The latest version (12.4) of eTEK Accounting for Microsoft Office 2007 has been revamped, taking full advantage of Microsoft Office technology.
Intacct Corporation - Intacct Plus
overall rating
Intacct Plus is a web-based mid-range accounting product geared towards businesses with multiple locations or franchises. A more basic version is also available for smaller companies.
Intuit, Inc. - QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions
overall rating
Ideal for mid-sized companies looking to remain in the QuickBooks family, QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions offers the same familiar user interface, with a lot more power behind the scenes.
Microsoft Business Solutions - Microsoft Dynamics GP
overall rating
Microsoft Dynamics GP is one of the premier products in Microsoft’s mid-range accounting line. The vendor has continued its dedication to providing enhancements to this stable and scalable solution for growing businesses.
Microsoft Business Solutions - Microsoft Dynamics NAV
overall rating
Microsoft Dynamics NAV is one of the business products from Microsoft Business Solutions designed for mid-sized businesses looking to streamline their financial and industry-specific management system.
NetSuite - NetSuite
overall rating
NetSuite is a fully integrated on-demand software product suitable for mid-sized companies. Entirely web-based, NetSuite offers a dazzling array of features that easily integrate front and back office functionality.
Red Wing Software - TurningPoint
overall rating
TurningPoint from Red Wing Software is positioned as a replacement for entry-level software products for companies not quite ready to make the jump to high-end, high-cost software.
Sage Software, Inc. - Sage Accpac 200 ERP
overall rating
Sage Accpac 200 ERP from Sage Software is an accounting and financial management product designed for companies looking to upgrade to a more sophisticated product.
Sage Software, Inc. - Sage MAS 90 & 200 ERP
overall rating
Sage MAS 90 and 200 ERP is an accounting and financial management product line designed primarily for mid-sized businesses. A mature product, Sage MAS 90 and 200 has continued its tradition of providing all types of businesses with a scalable product that can grow as the business grows.
Softrak Systems, Inc. - Adagio Accounting
overall rating
Adagio Accounting – Version 9.0A is the latest version of this mid-range software from Softrak Systems, which is designed for businesses that handle over $1 million dollars in annual sales and revenue.