Cougar Mountain Software Professional Accounting

From the April/May 2008 Review of Contractor/Construction Accounting Systems

Version 12.1 of Cougar Mountain Professional Accounting is the latest release of this popular accounting software product that features a variety of add-on modules including a Job Costing module. An excellent accounting product, Cougar Mountain Professional does not include a whole menu of construction-specific features, but the job cost module does an admirable job of effectively tracking costs for all jobs entered into the system. Cougar Mountain Professional Accounting with Job Costing would be a good fit for smaller construction companies.

Learning Curve/ Ease of Use -- 5 Stars
The job cost module in Cougar Mountain is efficient, tracking overhead, labor and materials for every job entered in the system. Job codes can utilize up to 20 characters that can be alphanumeric if desired. The main screen contains a standard drop-down menu bar for system navigation. Directly below the menu bar is a series of module icons that provides access to all installed modules. Cougar Mountain Professional makes extensive use of wizards and templates for easy company setup. Users can choose a default chart of accounts, modify an existing chart of accounts, or create their own. Navigating through the program is easy, with uncluttered data-entry screens and lookup options available in all of the necessary fields. Utilizing the numerous user-defined fields will make it easier to track the desired data. Phases, cost codes and jobs can be added on the fly. Integrated modules such as Purchase Order and Inventory increase the functionality of Cougar Mountain Software with Job Costing.

Modules & Functionality -- 4.5 Stars
Cougar Mountain Professional Accounting contains complete integrated accounting functionality with GL, AP, AR and Order Entry modules. Numerous add-on modules are available, including the aforementioned Job Cost module, along with Advanced Bill of Materials, Bank Reconciliation, Fixed Assets, GL Report Generator, Multi-Location Inventory, Purchase Order and Payroll modules as well as a Tax Update utility. Also worth mentioning is the CRM Bridge to ACT!, as well as PDF-eXPLODE - e Doc Generator, which will be discussed in the next section.

Productivity Tools -- 4.5 Stars
The PDF-eXPLODE - e-Doc Generator helps users keep better track of documents by turning documents such as invoices, purchase orders or statements into PDF files, thereby allowing users to e-mail them directly to customers. PDF e-XPLODE – e Doc Generator will also allow for the creation of company financial statements to e-mail directly to clients and investors, as well as the ability to convert system files to PDF and store them on the user’s computer rather than in a file cabinet. As of this review date, PDF-eXPLODE e-Doc Generator will not work with the Windows Vista operating system. The CRM Bridge to ACT! allows for integration of Cougar Mountain Software Professional with ACT!, the popular customer relationship management software. This integration eliminates the need for duplicate data entry, and will allow better tracking of vital customer information.

Import/Export/ Integration -- 4.5 Stars
Cougar Mountain Software Professional is a completely integrated system, with all modules available bundled for a complete financial solution. Add-on modules integrate with the core product, and Cougar Mountain Software offers various third-party applications that are designed to integrate with the core product, as well. The Data Exchange module allows easy import and export of data utilizing a variety of file formats including Excel, Access, ASCII, Lotus 123 and Paradox.

Reporting -- 4.5 Stars
The Business Condition Snapshot Reports function maintains and produces a three-year snapshot of the state of your business. The Snapshot Reporting feature provides the ‘Business Condition’ for GL AR, AP, Sales and Inventory modules. Snapshot Reports contains user-defined information, and criteria will be saved for the next time the feature is accessed, or different information can be displayed each time. Cougar Mountain Software Professional also contains good reporting capabilities, with plenty of standard reports available. The R & R Report Writer can be used for more custom reporting options. The GL Report Generator (add-on) offers data-mining capabilities for more detailed reporting. Reports can also be exported to spreadsheet software applications such as Excel and Lotus 123.

Support & Training -- 5 Stars
Cougar Mountain Software offers its Software Assurance Plan in two levels: Standard and Premier. Both levels offer maintenance releases and service packs, software upgrades, and discounts on support and training. The Premier version also includes Premium level e-Learning and 20 hours of online or telephone support. Separate phone support plans are available as well and start at $400 (basic) per year; Priority phone support starts at $800 per year. Both plan costs are dependent upon the number of support hours chosen. Cougar Mountain Software offers some of the best training options available anywhere, including the Cougar Training Center, which is located at the vendor’s corporate headquarters. On-site learning, e-Learning and online learning options are available, as well.

Relative Value -- 4.5 Stars
Cougar Mountain Professional Accounting is currently priced at $1,918 for a single user, which includes the Software Assurance plan. The Job Cost module is an additional $799 for a single user, or $999 for multiple users. The company also charges $249 for installation services to ensure that the product is set up correctly before a customer starts to use it. While Cougar Mountain Software Professional is not specifically designed for the construction industry, it will be a good fit for smaller construction and contracting companies that are looking for an excellent financial management software product with job costing capabilities.

2008 Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars