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ACCPAC -- Being Much More Than Meets The Eye Part Two: Announcements Continued

Written By: Predrag Jakovljevic
Published On: February 5 2003

Event Summary

Seemingly unfazed by (although certainly aware of) a tough economic environment and/or by its heavyweight competitors' recent initiatives, ACCPAC International (www.accpac.com), an independent subsidiary of Computer Associates International, Inc. (NYSE: CA) that has been offering accounting and a broader range of other enterprise business solutions for small and mid-size businesses, continues to expand its products footprint and operations worldwide. To that end, its latest product offering now ranges from accounting to include customer relationship management (CRM), human resource management system (HRMS), manufacturing, warehouse management system (WMS) and many aspects of e-commerce. On December 18, ACCPAC also announced that it has filed a registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) relating to a proposed initial public offering (IPO) of common stock. All of the shares are being offered by ACCPAC International, Inc., and the offering will be managed by RBC Capital Markets, SoundView Technology Group and Adams, Harkness & Hill, Inc. Although the registration statement relating to these securities has been filed with the SEC, it has not yet become effective. These securities may therefore not be sold nor may offers to buy be accepted prior to the time the registration statement becomes effective.

During the past year ACCPAC has announced the following:

  • Acquisition of AGS Software, Inc. for point-of-sale software (POS) (see Part One)

  • Acquisition of eWare Limited for CRM software (see Part One)

  • Acquisition of manufacturing software from Lahey Software (see Part One)

  • Release of ACCPAC Advantage Series version 5.0 for a 100% web-based accounting solution for mid-sized companies. (see Part One)

  • Release of ACCPAC Advantage Series for the Linux desktop (see Part One)

  • Release of ACCPAC Exchange the first Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) offering to integrate mid-market accounting applications with IBM Business Exchange Services, aimed at delivering affordable EDI transaction documents over the Internet.

  • Release of Simply Accounting 2003 the new version of its integrated accounting program for small offices/home offices (SOHO).

  • Formation of the ACCPAC Sales Success Distribution Program a global distribution program for ACCPAC third-party developers.

  • An agreement to collaborate with CGA Online Services Corporation to develop CGA Online a new web-based online system that will provide a single source of information and services for Certified General Accountants (CGAs)

This is Part Two of a four-part note.

Parts One and Two detail recent ACCPAC announcements.

Part Three will discuss the Market Impact.

Part Four will cover Challenges and make User Recommendations.

ACCPAC Exchange

As a further proof of increasing relationship with IBM, at its "Partnership 2002" conference, ACCPAC announced the release of earlier mentioned ACCPAC Exchange, the first Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) offering to integrate mid-market accounting applications with IBM Business Exchange Services, aimed at delivering affordable EDI transaction documents over the Internet. ACCPAC Exchange is designed to enable small and mid size businesses to overcome the significant cost and infrastructure obstacles typically associated with traditional EDI value-added networks (VANs) and to relatively easily create inexpensive trading communities with their suppliers and customers.

ACCPAC Exchange also integrates with ACCPAC Advantage Series and ACCPAC Pro Series accounting systems, and it consists of software and services that should deliver affordable Internet-based EDI processing. To that end, businesses can use the ACCPAC Exchange Transaction Manager to send and receive business transactions to other businesses-such as purchase orders destined for a supplier-via an EDI data transfer service hosted at ACCPAC Online. IBM Business Exchange Services would then act as a central data transfer manager for EDI transactions, transmitting the data either exclusively through the Internet or, when required, by accessing traditional EDI networks. This flexible transaction delivery should insulate businesses from the complexities of dealing with multiple EDI networks, while enabling them to electronically trade with not only traditional EDI VANs, but also Internet-based trading communities.

Businesses can either use ACCPAC Exchange to adopt pure Internet-based EDI right away, or, as the market evolves, to gradually adopt Internet-based EDI while benefiting from a lower cost alternative to the traditional EDI fees they may already be paying. The system's connectivity with traditional EDI networks should ensure a smooth transition, while integration with the ACCPAC accounting solution should provide for rapid implementation and increased operating efficiencies. ACCPAC Exchange Transaction Manager carries a suggested retail price (SRP) of less than $6,000, while options for Advanced Shipment Notices (ASNs) and file mapping to match vendor or supplier standards are also available. Transaction fees for ACCPAC Exchange start at $100 per month, which would be a fraction of the cost of traditional EDI services.

Simply Accounting 2003

As to attract the lower-end of its target market, on December 10, ACCPAC announced the release of Simply Accounting 2003, the new version of its integrated accounting program for small offices/home offices (SOHO). The product reportedly gives small businesses a complete accounting system, including payroll and e-commerce features, whereas the more advanced Simply Accounting 2003 Pro version adds multi-user, multi-currency, and time billing capabilities, both for seemingly inexpensive price. A major upgrade from previous versions, ACCPAC Simply Accounting 2003 includes the features most requested from a base of over 360,000 registered users worldwide, including:

  • New Simply Webstore for integrated e-commerce, which should offer businesses an inexpensive and fast entry to online selling, and enable them to build a complete business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) Web store in a matter of hours, using any of over 60 supplied store templates. Unlike typical Web stores that operate independently of the accounting system, Simply Webstore reportedly understands Simply Accounting data, so no extra integration effort is needed given inventory in Simply Accounting 2003 automatically presents itself in Simply Webstore and sales transactions made at Simply Webstore go directly into Simply Accounting 2003 without re-keying.

    Further, because Simply Webstore is managed online through an ACCPAC hosted software facility, it does not require users to set up sophisticated hardware and software in their offices. ACCPAC also offers optional services to assist with domain registration, credit card processing, setup and design for businesses that want to simplify their e-commerce even further. Simply Webstore works with both Simply Accounting 2003 Basic and Pro versions.

  • The new Departmental Accounting capability in Simply Accounting 2003 Pro enables detailed reporting of up to 100 departments within a company. Simply Accounting 2003 Pro uses segments in the general ledger (GL) account codes, enabling true Departmental Accounting and reporting throughout all accounting modules. In addition, new integration between the product's Time Billing and Payroll modules should enable users to easily pay employees based on time slips and compare billable or actual amounts with payroll costs.

  • New Security features, as Simply Accounting 2003 security can now be assigned to the record and journal level. This release also incorporates increased password security and a new check log report that allows small business owners to keep tight control and monitoring of their internal accounting. Equally important, Simply Accounting 2003 retains a full-time audit trail, ensuring accounting integrity automatically.

  • New Reporting enhancements, as Simply Accounting 2003 allows users to sort and display information based on the user's preference and easily change report-viewing options without having to close and re-open reports. Date range selection for ad-hoc reporting has also been streamlined with pop-up calendars and drop-down lists. In addition, users can now easily produce reports in HTML format for viewing over the Internet.

  • New General Journal enhancements, as users can now track tax details through the General Journal module. They can also store additional transaction detail and view additional comment fields in each journal entry.

  • New Payroll enhancements, as small business owners can now define extra payroll hourly rate fields and they can also automatically view vacation pay owed and view outstanding balances for employee advances.

  • Simply Accounting 2003 also includes many new time-savers such as the ability to assign a revenue account to specific customers for faster data-entry. Users can now also quickly access the Microsoft Windows calculator from the Simply Accounting toolbar, easily edit sales tax information in the sales journal and attach user-definable fields to transactions.

Approved by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers, ACCPAC Simply Accounting has long been popular among accountants and small business owners alike. Simply Accounting 2003 Basic and Pro carry SRPs in the U.S. of $39.99 and $89.99, respectively. Both products are available now directly from ACCPAC and will also be available at Office Depot, Fry's, Hastings and other select retailers across the US beginning in January 2003.

ACCPAC Sales Success Distribution Program

As to further energize and entice its channel, also during its "Partnership 2002" conference ACCPAC announced a global distribution program for ACCPAC third-party developers. The ACCPAC Sales Success Distribution Program reportedly gives the ACCPAC development community new access to prospective customers, while reducing their operational costs through marketing support activities they might not otherwise afford on their own.

ACCPAC's third-party Development Partners can now resell their products globally through ACCPAC's sales force, take advantage of corporate marketing initiatives, and better leverage ACCPAC Solution Provider relationships. Namely, ACCPAC Solution Providers, until today, earned marketing credits and product discounts based solely on the volume of their ACCPAC-branded product purchases. Now, whenever they purchase eligible third-party products directly from ACCPAC, those purchases are automatically included in calculating their accrued benefits. As a result, Development Partners have new leverage with the worldwide ACCPAC Solution Provider channel.

To date, ACCPAC Development Partners with applications for banking, specialty financial management, manufacturing, multi-currency management, payroll and contact management have reportedly joined the Sales Success Distribution Program. Selling ACCPAC Development Partner products in the Sales Success Distribution Program should provide ACCPAC Solution Providers increased sales incentives, including the ability to more quickly reach higher purchase discount levels, which should increase their profits on all their purchases and subsequent sales of ACCPAC products.

Solution Providers' will also earn ACCPAC marketing co-op credits on these products, which should help them with market-building activities. In addition, ACCPAC sales staff is now compensated on sales of these third-party products, encouraging more coordinated sales efforts between the Development Partner, ACCPAC and its Solution Providers.

In addition to the impact of reseller-oriented sales, marketing and profitability incentives, ACCPAC Development Partners who join the Sales Success Distribution Program will benefit from enhanced ACCPAC end-user marketing programs, including a stronger presence on the ACCPAC web site, custom-made direct mail marketing brochure templates designed by ACCPAC, sales collateral inserts in new Solution Provider Welcome Kits and participation in a quarterly e-mail marketing program. In addition, program participants are highlighted at the annual ACCPAC Partnership Conference exhibit center and are eligible for a keynote speaking opportunity at the conference.

CGA Online

Not neglecting the important public accountants' community, on November 26, ACCPAC and CGA Online Services Corporation announced an agreement to collaborate in developing CGA Online, a new web-based online system that will provide a single source of information and services for Certified General Accountants (CGAs), students in the CGA Program of Professional Studies and the public. CGA Online will serve a broad range of constituents, including CGAs, students, Association employees and of course, the public. When completed, CGA Online will provide CGAs with coordinated access to local, regional and national content, and web-based services. The site will be built using software from ACCPAC's parent company, Computer Associates, including CleverPath Portal and CleverPath Enterprise Content Management, and using a team of CGA and ACCPAC staff. ACCPAC's internet-based accounting, business analysis and other business solutions will be offered as hosted services on the site, accessible to CGA-Canada, CGA Associations and CGAs.

ACCPAC and CGA-Canada first established a strategic partnership for technology training for CGA members in 1985 and have worked together continuously since then to promote and deliver technology programs. CGA Online Services Corporation is an organization jointly owned by CGA-Canada and most of the provincial and territorial affiliate CGA Associations in Canada. CGA-Canada and its partner Associations are self-regulating professional organizations, which together represent 55,000 Certified General Accountants and students in Canada, Bermuda, the nations of the Caribbean, Hong Kong and the People's Republic of China.

This concludes Part Two of a four-part article.

Part One began the detailing of recent announcements.

Part Three will discuss Market Impact.

Part Four will cover Challenges and make User Recommendations.

 
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