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Open Systems, Inc. — TRAVERSE

From the September 2005 Review of Mid-Range
Accounting Software

Open Systems offers two business accounting packages for small and mid-market
companies: OSAS, primarily for Linux and UNIX operating systems, and TRAVERSE
for Windows. In addition to general accounting, the programs are available in
versions tailored for specific vertical markets, including construction, service
industry, repair and maintenance businesses, retail/point-of-sale and not-for-profits.
The system was developed using SQL Server, Microsoft Access and Visual Basic,
enabling wide integration and output options. TRAVERSE Business can support
up to 12 users, while the Enterprise version can support almost any number.
System licenses can be purchased in sets of modules or individual modules, which
include more than 30 options for accounting, manufacturing, distribution and
reporting functions, as well as an eBusiness Solutions Suite, which ties an
online retailer’s web site business directly into the accounting system
through separate modules for eManager, Shopping Cart, eCustomer Order, eCustomer
Inquiry, eSales Rep and eProject Cost. A core package with modules for GL, AP,
AR, bank reconciliation, inventory, sales orders and financial reporting for
up to five users costs $7,700 (includes first year of maintenance), with annual
renewals costing about 15 percent of the initial software cost.

TRAVERSE is centered around the System Manager, which provides a Main Menu of
available modules. When a module is selected, the middle column on the screen
provides general functions available through that module, while a third column
provides access to detailed tasks. The system also gives the option of an alternative
menu structure that utilizes a collapsible folder tree structure. This option
makes the program amenable to the preferences of users, while maintaining intuitive

The primary work screens for data entry are contained on subwindows that use
traditional Windows forms, with pull-down selection lists for choosing GL or
bank accounts, vendors, customers and other tasks. Information for customers
and vendors is easily managed, with lists that offer multiple sorting, filtering
and search options providing quick access throughout the system along with rapid
access to customer activity histories and billing, as well as payables data.

Open Systems includes source code for the application with its license costs,
enabling total customization and specialization of the program to meet the needs
of niche markets. Built around and for Microsoft products, TRAVERSE is easy
to use and work within, requiring little time to grow accustomed to the interface,
although the depth of the product may require some formal training.

The program includes significant security protocols, including base-level login
requirements just to access the system’s client database, as well as the
ability to restrict access by user, department or user groups. An audit trail
tracks all changes made to data within the system. TRAVERSE supports any number
of companies, customers, suppliers and inventory items, with multilingual and
multicurrency capabilities and detailed item histories. Historical information
for an unlimited number of years can be viewed in detail or summary. The inventory
module supports assembly items, matrix pricing and multiple pricing per item
and can be set to standard, FIFO, LIFO or average weighted costing, with detailed
histories available to track inventory changes and strong reporting features
that can help identify problems with products and purchase/sales cycles. The
system also provides strong support for manufacturing firms, with modules for
Bill of Materials, Materials Requirements Planning, Routing and Resources, and
Production, with various worksheets that assist in production processes along
with visual tools such as videos and pictures. The system’s dispatch process
allows setting of the sequence for each process.

The GL provides 30-character account masks and seven user-defined segments,
with up to 367 periods per year open, and the ability to maintain history for
an unlimited number of years.

Built on SQL Server, Microsoft Access and Visual Basic, TRAVERSE is completely
integrated with Microsoft Office, providing simplified one-click output of reports
and data to programs including Word, Excel and Outlook, as well as HTML. The
system can also import from these programs and can import ASCII data.

REPORTING — 4.5 Stars
Integration with Office also lends itself to TRAVERSE’s reporting capabilities,
enabling reports and data sets to be easily modified in Word or Excel, or sent
via e-mail, with the ability to preview all reports on-screen prior to output.
The program’s included multilingual (English-Spanish) ability also extends
to the reporting process. Additional languages can be added by installing an
update from Open Systems. TRAVERSE also offers financial analysis tools and
an advanced reporting module that enables more detailed creation and customization
of historical reports and scenario planning.

The system maintains an adequate help utility with context-sensitive assistance
and *.PDF user guides, and Open Systems offers subscription-based technical
assistance as well as training options that include online and on-site sessions.
An online support center provides a Knowledge Base. Open Systems also offers
consulting and custom program development services.

With its open source code, TRAVERSE is exceptionally flexible and enables developers
and advanced users to tweak the program to specific markets. Built on Access
and SQL, the system also offers excellent integration with Office products,
which aids in reporting and collaboration efforts. TRAVERSE offers a wide selection
of powerful modules that makes the program strong enough for virtually any business
type, whether retail, manufacturing or service-based.

2005 Overall Rating — 4 Stars