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Sage Software, Inc. — Sage Accpac 500 ERP 5.4;

From the Dec. 2007 Review of
High-End Accounting Systems

Sage Accpac 500 ERP 5.4 is, at core, a sophisticated, robust accounting, enterprise
resource planning (ERP), and operations business management system designed
for small and mid-sized businesses. With this system, users can create a strong,
lasting fit for their business by implementing only the modules needed today
and then building out the financial system over time by adding more modules
and options. Sage Accpac ERP is scalable with three Sage Accpac editions from
which to choose (100, 200 and 500). Users don’t have to worry about outgrowing
their ERP system in the future. With Accounting and Operations, plus integrated
Business Intelligence and Reporting, Customer Relationship Management (CRM),
E-Commerce, Fixed Asset Management, Human Resources Management System (HRMS),
Point-of-Sale (POS), and Warehouse Management System (WMS) application options,
to name a few, most of the bases are covered with this end-to-end business management

Not a lot has changed in the product for 2007, although the vendor released
a number of key updates to complement Version 5.4, such as a new Return Merchandise
Authorization (RMA) module. Much of 2007 has been in research and development
in preparation for Version 5.5, which is scheduled to be released in the first
half of 2008. Version 5.5 promises to offer some exciting upgrades including
digital dashboards, and more.

Modules/Scalability – 5 Stars
Sage Accpac 500 ERP has a full line of core accounting and distribution modules.
Accounting modules include GL, GL Security, GL Consolidations, Multicurrency,
Transaction Analysis/Optional Field Creator, AP, AR, Intercompany Transactions,
National Accounts Management, Project and Job Costing, and U.S. and Canadian
Payroll. Bank and Tax services are built in to the System Manager module. The
distribution suite includes Purchase Order, Order Entry, Return Merchandise
Authorization, and Inventory Control that offers integration with the Warehouse
Management System, which includes integrated advanced radio-frequency and bar-coding
technology through Sage Accpac WMS. Serial and lot tracking functionality continue
to be sold separately from the Inventory Control module as additional enhancements.
Although potential buyers may see this as a drawback, the serial and lot tracking
modules are treated as add-ons intentionally as most users in the target market
would not use this functionality, and Sage Accpac is committed to helping clients
maintain simplicity.

Sage Accpac 500 ERP seems to be strongest in the distribution and retail areas.
Version 5.4 allows companies doing assembly work to set up multi-level bills
of materials (BOM) in Inventory along with support for sales kits. For the manufacturer,
third-party add-on modules are written using the Sage Accpac Solution Developer
Kit (SDK).

The Sage Accpac architecture supports multitier environments, which enhance
performance and scalability. Sage Accpac ERP’s scalability is further
enhanced as it comes in three different editions: Sage Accpac 100 ERP, which
is limited to five concurrent users; Sage Accpac 200 ERP, which scales to 10
concurrent users; and Sage Accpac 500 ERP, supporting unlimited users. This
provides significant advantages to the end user. The value of not having to
change the look and feel of your software as your business grows is a benefit
that is measurable in dollars and cents, but the piece of mind knowing that
your investment will grow with you is immeasurable. Essentially all you have
to do is purchase the additional user support to move from Sage Accpac 100 ERP
to 200 to 500 with no data conversion or end-user retraining. And all three
editions are compatible with the complementary web-based applications. The bottom
line is that a very small company can begin with Sage Accpac 100 ERP and grow
all the way to a small enterprise without having to undergo the pain and suffering
of a single software conversion, relearning the product or losing any customizations
or enhancements that have been developed and put in place along the way. Talk
about customer protection!

Usability/User Experience/Security – 5 Stars
Sage Accpac 500 ERP has a Windows Explorer look and feel. The modules are listed
down the left-hand side, with specific tasks and icons located on the right-hand
side of the screen. A graphic interface that’s consistent from screen
to screen makes for easy data entry and reporting. Learning Sage Accpac ERP
seems to be quick and easy. All the modules have the same look and feel, so
once you learn how to move through one module, the learning curve is short for
the others. Screens are designed to enable users that are tasked with more traditional
heads-down data entry to enter all required data from a single screen. Additional
flexibility is available by enabling users two options for data entry: “spreadsheet”
style or “pop-up” style.

Drilldown and drill around features are solid in this version. This feature
enables a user to quickly access transaction details starting from a trial balance,
account inquiry or company financial statement, all the way back to source transactions.
There is even a drilldown capability from Microsoft Excel back to source data.
Sage Accpac 500 ERP can also be deployed in a web-browser, which eliminates
the need to install the program on each local workstation. The web interface
is clean and intuitive, especially to users comfortable with web-based applications.

Security in the system is very strong with the ability to restrict activity
by function. A nice security feature is the ability to remove modules, tasks,
reports, etc., from the screen if a user is not authorized, allowing for a business
to easily set up role-based business management. This also removes clutter from
the screen and potential user confusion.

Extensibility – 5 Stars
Sage Accpac’s success in the industry is based on a strong software architecture.
The separation of core business logic from interface and database services allows
Sage Accpac to embrace industry-standard technology quickly and custom fit the
software to the user’s needs. The Sage Accpac SDK and APIs enable developers
to write applications to extend the functionality of Sage Accpac 500 ERP. Since
the program is such an international product, with deployments in over 130 countries,
developers from all corners of the globe have created a number of very impressive
enhancements for manufacturing, service management, credit card processing,
PO workflow, fixed asset management, warehouse management and more. As mentioned
earlier, a number of products and services are available directly from Sage
Software that integrate with Sage Accpac 500 ERP and provide solutions for almost
any aspect of a business. These include the following: SageCRM for Sage Accpac
ERP (Customer Relationship Management), Sage Accpac HRMS, Sage Accpac ePOS,
Sage Accpac WMS (Warehouse Management and Automation), Sage Payroll Services,
Sage Accpac Insight (business intelligence tool), Sage Accpac FAS (fixed asset
management), and eCommerce for Sage Accpac ERP.

Integration/Customization – 5 Stars
Sage Accpac 500 ERP enables end users to import or export data from virtually
any data-entry screen in various formats including Excel, *.CSV, Access, XML
and ODBC. This functionality is included with the system and does not require
the purchase of an additional module. Sage Accpac ERP can help your business
be more productive and more informed with its ability to communicate end-to-end
with your web store, your warehouse, your sales department and many other areas
of your organization. Sage Accpac ERP also comes with the option of hosted deployment,
a cost-effective way of providing secure system access to anyone with a web
browser and Internet access.
Sage Accpac ERP screens can be modified to include buttons from third-party
vendors or to execute Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) code. Using the Transaction
Analysis and Optional Fields module, Sage Accpac 500 ERP provides for an unlimited
number of user-defined fields across the product. By exposing the business logic
to Visual Basic, users or developers can access Sage Accpac ERP product functionality
from within their own applications.

Reporting – 5 Stars
Sage Accpac Insight is an enterprise-wide reporting, budgeting and consolidations
application. It allows users to quickly capture and integrate information into
meaningful reports and securely distributes them across the entire enterprise
on demand. With Sage Accpac ERP as the foundation, a business can use Insight
to enhance its business intelligence with sophisticated and customizable budgets,
analytics and reports. Author is a wizard-driven tool in Insight that allows
users to create new templates quickly and easily in Microsoft Excel. Once the
reports have been generated, users have the full capabilities of Excel at their
disposal to further format and generate additional charts and graphs.
The Insight Viewer module allows users to run reports against the Data Link/Mart
and present reports in Excel, extending the value of the data available through
the Sage Accpac ERP system. This feature gives powerful cross-module drilldown
capabilities. Viewer provides for drilldown to supporting transaction detail
and even “drill around” from one module into another, making it
simple to view underlying transactions.

Included in every module are standard reports. Custom reports can be created
using Crystal Reports. Drilldown is also available from the report back to source
data. Sage Accpac 500 ERP can also use any Microsoft Office module (Excel, Word,
Access, etc.) or any other ODBC product for reporting and analysis.

Support, Training & Help – 5 Stars
Sage Accpac 500 ERP has a software assurance program available at the cost of
18 percent annually of the suggested retail price of the software. The software
assurance program provides users with automatic version upgrades, Knowledgebase
access, education sessions, online account access, and an e-newsletter. Unlimited
telephone support is available for one flat fee of $1,500 per year. Sage Software
University (
provides classroom training, onsite training and online training for users of
all skill levels. As well, training and support is also available through Sage’s
extensive network of resellers and consultants.

Overall Assessment
Sage Accpac 500 ERP is a comprehensive, web-based business management solution
with powerful financial and operations management, e-business, and customizable
capabilities. This edition supports unlimited locations and a global marketplace.
With powerful analysis, reporting and customization options, Sage Accpac 500
ERP is ideal for companies requiring a highly scalable system that supports
international business infrastructures. With an advanced technology platform,
a strong internal development team and a host of fine development partners worldwide,
Sage Accpac 500 ERP should remain one of the premier ERP solutions available
to mid-market companies.

2007 Overall Rating: 5 Stars