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2008 Review of Mid-Range Client Accounting Programs

More Customization & Flexibility Available Than Ever Before

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
  • 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
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
CYMA Systems, Inc. – CYMA Accounting
for Windows
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Softrak Systems, Inc. – Adagio
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