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AME Software Products, Inc. — Accounting Made Easy!

From the June/July Review of Small
Business Accounting Systems

AME Software’s Accounting Made Easy is a full suite of general small
business accounting applications, providing GL, AP, AR, checkwriting, basic
fixed asset depreciation and 1099 reporting. The company also offers an integrated
payroll package that includes client payroll options, MICR check printing, e-filing
of W-2s and 1099s, and direct deposit, with support for all states. AME’s
accounting system supports cash- and accrual-based methods and can be used to
manage an unlimited number of businesses and subsidiaries while offering customizable
departmental and consolidated reporting. The base AME system, with GL, AP and
AR, costs $349 for a networkable site license, supporting all users in the same
office. The company’s Full Accounting Package, which adds payroll and
MICR functions, costs $598. Each of the individual modules is also available
separately. As well, the company has a wide base of users utilizing its payroll
system, which starts at $249 as a stand-alone program.

Ease of Use/Basic Functionality — 4 Stars
AME offers basic guides during initial setup functions and provides wizards
and general templates for creating charts of accounts. Within the program, the
interface opens to a mostly blank work area with icon buttons across the top
for accessing the program’s primary modules along with buttons for accessing
business, banking, departmental and vendor information. When selecting one of
the major module areas, the icon buttons change to provide options related to
that area. Within the AR module, for example, these buttons include options
for Invoices, Payments, Customers, Customer Credit, Sales Items, Recurring Charges,
Sales Taxes, Sales People and AR Setup. Additionally, pull-down menus offer
access to specific functions and reporting tools. To go back to the main menu,
users must either select the Esc key or click the Exit menu, which is peculiar
at first.

AME’s vendor list is accessible straight from the main menu and is displayed
in a subwindow that offers sorting only by vendor ID and name. The main customer
list, found in the AR module’s menu, offers better functions with options
to sort by ID, name and AR balance. Transaction screens are intuitive and easy
to use, but the Invoice search function provides several filtering options (like
date, open, closed, balance due, salesperson and department). It somehow does
not offer the ability to see the customer name … only their ID. When adding
new invoices, however, the system does offer customer names in the search list
provided on the transaction screen, while selection lists are also available
for selecting inventory items. Neither sales items nor customers can be added
“on the fly” from these invoice sheets; rather, the user must enter
them through the Customers menu or the Sales Items menu. In general, the program
provides a very easy-to-understand interface that offers quick access to the
various modules and program features, though it lacks customization options.

Core Accounting/Security Functions — 3.5 Stars
As noted, AME’s core financial management modules include GL, AP, AR,
1099 reporting, and payroll with direct deposit and electronic reporting. The
program’s receivables function provides some support for job costing through
departmentalization, and the system can support any number of companies with
unlimited vendors and departments. AME Accounting’s GL also provides options
for performing bank reconciliations, consolidating businesses and generating
financial reports.

While it can manage a virtually unlimited number of items, the system is very
limited in inventory capabilities, providing only listings of individual products
as “sales items,” with no support for multiple pricing, kits, assemblies,
customer discounts or multiple warehouse locations. Through the AR system, the
user can set other individual customer options, including one default sales
tax rate, terms, credit limits, comments and multiple shipping locations. Additional
tax rates can be added through the Sales Taxes function. When using credit limits,
the system alerts the user when the limit is exceeded. Users can also set up
recurring charges through AR and manage late fees.
The optional payroll system offers good internal payroll functions, with vacation
and sick leave tracking, multiple taxing states, support for pre-tax benefit
deductions like 401(k)s, Simple IRAs or and cafeteria plans, and unlimited post-tax
deductions. Several pay types can also be set up for each employee, along with
support for commissioned and tipped staff. For contact management purposes,
customer lists can be viewed with phone information, but vendor lists do not
offer this option. AME does not include an audit trail but does offer password-based
client-level security.

Reporting & Management Functions — 3.5 Stars
Most reporting functions in the AME Accounting program are accessed from within
the various core modules. General financial reports include income statements,
comparative statements, balance sheets, cash flow, GL activity, check register,
depreciation and trial balance, among others. AR reports include aging, credit
balances, customer histories and sales by individual staff. For payables, users
can generate aging, projections, histories and check registers. The system can
output reports to PDF format and offers a built-in report customization tool,
which allows changing basic layout such as headers, font and margins, but since
it can also save to plain and rich text formats, most users will likely find
editing reports in Word to be more intuitive. Reports can also be saved to HTML.
In addition to 1099s from the payables module, the payroll module can produce
forms W-2, W-3, 941, 940, 940EZ and 943.

Import/Export/Integration — 4 Stars
Data automatically flows between the primary module of the system, with transactions
posted to appropriate accounts. The optional payroll module also integrates
seamlessly with the program. Reports can be saved into PDF, HTML, plain and
rich text formats, the latter two being directly compatible with Microsoft Word.
Users can import and convert data from DOS, but import/export with other third-party
programs is not offered, nor is export to spreadsheet formats. No remote access
options are available.

Help & Support Options — 3 Stars
The program is easily learned and generally intuitive, and therefore should
require minimal time for new users to get accustomed to. Since the system doesn’t
include a traditional Help menu or assistive features like right-click menus
or tutorials, this is a good thing. A PDF user’s manual is included. The
company includes one year of unlimited technical support as part of its pricing
and annual updates. (The company noted that interactive Help is available in
its Payroll program in most screens and that Help for other AME modules will
be developed in the near future.)

Relative Value — 4 Stars
AME offers a good payroll module and core financial functions that are sufficient
for smaller entities, especially for businesses with limited technical expertise.
It is attractively priced and covers the basic needs of a small company.

2008 Overall Rating: 3.5 Stars