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Intacct Corporation — Intacct On-Demand Financial Application Suite

the Dec. 2006 Review of High-End Accounting Systems

Intacct On-Demand Financial Applications are the first Software-as-a-Service
(SaaS) SAS70 Type II certified financial management, supply chain management,
business intelligence and project management suite available on the Web. According
to its website, Intacct is available in three versions — Intacct Express,
Intacct Small Business and Intacct Enterprise — for a monthly usage fee.
A review of the Help facility reveals a fourth version designed for accounting
firms called E-Practice. E-Practice appears to include some additional tools
for practice management.

Founded in 1999, the company has weathered the rise and fall of other web-based
accounting packages and currently has over 2,000 customers and 10,000 subscribers.
Intacct has specifically targeted software companies, retail, wholesale, business
services and franchises as key vertical focuses for its system. Most recently,
Intacct has enhanced its financial reporting wizard to allow more calculations
and summaries, deferred revenue and revenue recognition functionality (frequently
required by software publishers), and an automatic bank reconciliation function.
Upgrades to the system occur monthly, are immediately available to the entire
customer base, and are delivered in real time. Transactions can be posted in
batch or in real time to the system’s GL and subsidiary ledgers. Like
other web-based applications, the user interface does not provide the efficiencies
found in competing non web-based applications and is not necessarily the easiest
to use.

Modules/Scalability — 5 Stars
The Intacct Express edition includes GL, AP, AR, cash management, order management,
financial reporting and executive dashboards. Unique to this level of software
is Intacct’s expense management module, which allows employee expenses
to be captured and automatically routed for online approval. The Small Business
Edition adds revenue recognition, budgeting, inventory control and ad hoc reporting.
Intacct’s robust revenue recognition module allows the user to capture
information at the time of entry in AR and order entry to note the date revenue
recognition will commence and over what period of time. Custom revenue recognition
schedules can be defined, and credits and refunds can be reverse amortized.
Recognition models (templates) can be defined and linked to items or kits. The
Enterprise Edition adds Multi-Entity Management, which includes a multi-currency
module, consolidation module, and multi-entity management module (required when
accounting for multiple entities). Intacct for Software Companies adds functionality
for contract management, project management and maintenance. The project management
suite also includes modules for time and billing and client expenses.

Nearly all of the documents in the system can be printed and delivered via
e-mail or through Intacct’s online service. The project management module
includes a knowledge management system that allows users to collaborate on documents
and share information on a real-time basis. The consolidation module not only
provides for consolidating financials for multiple entities but also allows
reports to be consolidated based on a department level across multiple entities.
The order entry and inventory modules lack a few of the features found in most
tier two distribution systems, including features such as alias item numbers,
promotional pricing, order deposits, physical inventory reconciliation, capable
to promise, drop ship and landed cost. Inventory control does, however, include
serial and lot tracking with expiration date tracking and excellent options
for configuring pricing at a group, customer, product line or item level for
specified time periods if desired.

Intacct’s web-based pay-as-you-go model allows its customers to scale
as they grow knowing that transaction volume can increase, and features and
licenses can easily be added without ever having to think about the infrastructure
required to support a growing business.

Usability/User Experience/Security — 3.5 Stars
After signing in, the user is greeted with a home page that includes a message
board with system alerts (e.g., submit your expense reports by month end) and
messages from Intacct regarding new features to the system, links to licensed
modules, application and report shortcuts, and application and reporting drop-down
lists. The system is intuitive and easy to navigate. Each module includes its
own series of pictographic workflow screens hyperlinked to the various maintenance
and input screens.

Transaction screens are clean, well laid out and employ multi-tab screens
to minimize clutter. Lookup fields include drop-down lists that allow “begins
with” type searches as well as buttons that display a pick list of existing
records, an entry screen to define new records, and a view screen to edit existing
records. Document files can be attached to most any transaction entered into
the system.

As previously mentioned, the system is easy to navigate, but it may not be
easy to use for those who are unaccustomed to working with a web-based system.
Unlike with non web-based applications, the user may only have one screen open
at a time and does not have the luxury of having an inventory inquiry screen,
customer maintenance screen, and two order entry screens open at the same time
with the ability to toggle between them. Navigating from one module to the next
requires the user to use the drop-down menus or return to the home page. Depending
on bandwidth and Internet speed, screen refreshes can be slow when saving transactions
or when moving from one screen to the next. While maintenance and transaction
screens are intuitive, setup screens will require most users to consult the
Help manuals to complete the task.

Physical, system and application-level security are excellent. Three-part
user authentication is required to login via a SSL encrypted (128-bit) site.
The database is secured with advanced security and includes real-time activity
log tracking. Intacct is run from a hardened IBM Global data center with 24×7
secure access with continual uptime insured by redundant fiber trunks, mirrored
RAID drives, standby servers and other network components.

Extensibility — 3 Stars
Intacct has created integration to the popular online customer
relationship management (CRM) system. The interface adds full integration to
order management, financial management and expense management. While Intacct
currently does not integrate or interface to any third-party manufacturing,
human resource or fixed asset systems, a variety of tools including XML, IBM
Websphere, Suns J2EE and Microsoft .NET enable integration with any third-party
system that utilizes these tools. The application does offer integration with
ADP payroll services, which allows easy import of journal entries supplied by

Integration/Customization — 4 Stars
Customizations, available throughout the system, are implemented through a customization
tool set that allows the user to create ad hoc queries and reports, custom fields,
smart links, smart rules, and smart events. Smart rules allow industry-specific
compliance to be built into business processes. Smart events provide alert technology
that monitors the database and triggers e-mails to users when pre-defined conditions
are met. Over 20 templates are provided to import master file data and transactional
data from comma-separated value (*.CSV) file formats and QuickBooks. Data can
be exported from any report to Excel, Word, *.CSV or text files. Intacct also
supports an open interface, enabling developers of third-party applications
to link with its accounting functionality. The “Intacct XML Gateway”
allows a company to create customized data exchanges for electronic bank files,
payroll information and fixed asset systems.

ITA Survey Feedback for Intacct
Competitive Advantages:
• Reasonable feature set in mid-market
• Architecture
• Strong Financials
• Fantastic integration tools

Areas for Improvement:
• Expand feature set

Reporting — 4 Stars
A modest number of reports are available in each module, and most provide an
extensive list of sort and selection criteria that can be memorized for future
use as a public or private report. Reports can be viewed, printed, exported
or processed offline for later viewing. Built-in reports can be further customized
by modifying headers, columns, detail levels, and font sizes and types. Many
reports throughout the system provide drilldown capabilities. While not as robust
as Crystal Reports, the customization tools can be used to design custom and
ad hoc reports. In addition to its library of reports, Intacct allows users
to define role-based dashboards, which include alerts, reports, charts, lists
and links. Dashboards are easy to create and maintain and provide quick access
to critical information.

Support, Training & Help — 5 Stars
Intacct provides a comprehensive Help system that includes online user guides
and tutorials as well as training videos that address new features, business
processes and reporting. User guides are well organized and provide thorough
explanations on how to set up and use the system. Online Help is context-sensitive
and well written with ample links to related topics, user guides and tutorials.
E-mail support is included with the system, while premium phone support and
LiveHelp — a real-time chat-based support system available seven days
per week during business hours — are also available for a fee. A professional
services group is also available to assist with configuration, setup and report

Overall Assessment
Intacct On-Demand Financial Suite sets a high standard in delivering accounting
and business management applications in a SaaS model. Software companies, professional
firms and distributors looking to upgrade or replace their current accounting
solutions should include Intacct on their short list of products to evaluate.
As web-based products go, the system is rich in features and provides a well
integrated solution.

Minor challenges for those who purchase Intacct include lack of integration
of time and billing with payroll and the sometimes unfamiliar web-based interface.
Professional firms looking to integrate their time and billing systems with
their payroll provider will need to do some work using the XML tools (Intacct
offers no payroll module of its own). (The vendor noted that most of the 100
or so customers who have an integration between payroll and time & billing
had those as well as other applications integrated with the help of Intacct’s
Client Services. Customers who want to do it themselves (usually larger enterprises)
use the tools.) While Intacct has greatly minimized the limitations and aggravations
associated with a browser-based application, companies should expect some frustration
and a slightly longer learning curve from users accustomed to working with traditional
desktop systems. Notwithstanding, Intacct On-Demand Financial Suite is a very
solid product with an abundance of fine features for mid-market companies and
advanced functionality specifically for professional service firms and software
development companies.

2006 Overall Rating: 4 Stars