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ACCPAC -- Being Much More Than Meets The Eye

Written By: Predrag Jakovljevic
Published On: February 4 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)

  • Acquisition of eWare Limited for CRM software

  • Acquisition of manufacturing software from Lahey Software

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

  • Release of ACCPAC Advantage Series for the Linux desktop

  • 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 One of a four-part note.

Parts One and Two will detail recent ACCPAC announcements.

Part Three will discuss the Market Impact.

Part Four will cover Challenges and make User Recommendations.

ACCPAC ePOS

Most recently, on January 14, ACCPAC announced that it acquired all assets of AGS Software, Inc. of Toronto, ON, Canada, including the point-of-sale (POS) software developed by AGS. The POS application reportedly offers extensive storefront automation, an intuitive web-based interface and support for multi-site operations. An addition to ACCPAC's suite of business management applications, the product is also reportedly fully integrated with the flagship ACCPAC Advantage Series accounting software, and will be marketed as ACCPAC ePOS. AGS Software President Marc Cashman is joining ACCPAC as Director, ePOS Strategic Sales, and all former AGS employees have been offered positions at ACCPAC.

ACCPAC ePOS automates the point-of-sale customer checkout process. The product makes customer and product information instantly accessible, and handles discounts, layaways, automated electronic payment processing, reporting and more. Engineered to run from a Web browser, it is able to automate multi-site retail operations and integrate into a centralized deployment of ACCPAC Advantage Series.

ACCPAC eCRM

On December 20, ACCPAC announced that it has acquired eWare Limited, an Ireland- based developer of CRM software. Since a private label version of the eWare software, ACCPAC eCRM, has been actively marketed by ACCPAC for the past 18 months under an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) agreement with eWare, the product will continue to be marketed as ACCPAC eCRM. Ivan MacDonald, eWare President and CEO, Greg Casey, eWare Executive Vice President, and Alan Wyley, eWare Executive Vice President and COO, together with the entire eWare staff, are reportedly joining ACCPAC.

ACCPAC eCRM is a business application designed to integrate a user organization's interactions with its customers, trading partners and prospects across the enterprise by providing sales force automation (SFA), call center automation, marketing automation, customer and partner Internet self-service, and integrated workflow. To that end, sales team leaders should be able to oversee up-to-the-minute opportunity management activities including sales cycle analysis, territory alignment, call-list assembly and proposal generation. Customer care specialists should in turn be able to use ACCPAC eCRM incident logging, tracking, escalation and resolution management functions to enhance service levels and overall customer satisfaction, while marketing executives should be able to manage campaigns from concept and execution to lead distribution and measurement. The system also includes an integrated workflow engine allowing businesses to implement "rules based" information processing and dissemination throughout their organization.

ACCPAC eCRM is reportedly also a completely Web- and wireless-based CRM solution, providing the above-mentioned functionality through a Web browser, personal digital assistant (PDA) or wireless application protocol (WAP) enabled device, allowing thereby users to access and update the system at anytime, and from almost anywhere. Available in three editions (i.e., Small Business, Corporate, and Enterprise Edition), ACCPAC eCRM also integrates with ACCPAC Advantage Series and ACCPAC Pro Series flagship back-office accounting product suites.

The integration was announced in August during the company's "Partnership 2002" conference in Las Vegas, NV, and it should enable access to back office transactional data as well as vital customer, partner and prospect contact information, and should thereby result in a familiar, complete and unified view of customer data from a single point. Bi-directional integration reportedly allows data to be updated e.g., in either ACCPAC eCRM or ACCPAC Pro Series, with both systems updated instantly. ACCPAC eCRM can also be deployed either in-house or as hosted solution at ACCPAC Online (www.accpaconline.com), ACCPAC's application hosting facility that leverages CA's technologies.

ACCPAC Pro Series Manufacturing

Another recent notable acquisition took place on September 4, when ACCPAC announced that it has acquired the full line of manufacturing software developed by Lahey Software. Like its CRM counterpart, this product has been designed to integrate with ACCPAC Pro Series accounting software and has been popular with ACCPAC Pro Series users for more than a decade. Thus, the modules will be marketed under the ACCPAC brand as ACCPAC Pro Series Manufacturing. The product includes the following four modules each designed on the ACCPAC Pro Series architecture:

  • The Production Entry module is designed for companies that need bill of materials (BOMs), sales kit, configuration and backflush processing by supporting up to 99 BOM levels and real-time costing from ACCPAC Pro Series Inventory Control. Modular and variable BOM types are also available to handle product configuration issues with speed and flexibility, as well as maintaining fewer BOMs.

  • The Work Orders module is designed for manufacturing firms that require work order processing, component allocation, routing and material requirements planning (MRP) features. Work Orders can be automatically generated from sales order requirements, inventory shortages, or inventory requirements forecasting, while, by defining work centers and operation steps, users can create flexible labor routes.

  • The Shop Control module provides shop floor capacity scheduling, "what-if" planning capabilities, and work-in-process (WIP) tracking for production managers who require manufacturing resource planning (MRP II). It imports open work orders with defined routes, identifies bottlenecks, and calculates work order completion dates, while "what-if" plan order scenarios can be created to view resource requirements without affecting real-time purchasing decisions.

  • The Project Accounting module provides a budget and costing tool for project accounting and job cost management. Its design allows for up to four levels of cost tracking with job, phase, category, and cost-type definition. The job account mask supports the optional use of phases and/or categories, and cost-types are user-definable.

The product builds up on ACCPAC Pro Series 7.0, which is a core accounting suite with source code availability. It is one of ACCPAC's two accounting suites for small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) that forms the foundation for a broader set of applications covering front office, back office and warehouse needs among others. Version 7.0 has been available through ACCPAC Solution Providers worldwide since the company's announcement at "Partnership 2002". Designed for small to medium size businesses who demand integration between their back-office accounting and vital front-end functions, the release provides advanced accounting features, Microsoft SQL Server 2000 support, plus the crucial ability to modify the source code to meet specific business needs. A key enhancement in version 7.0 is also an entirely new object-oriented development framework that should enable easier integration with new databases and operating systems.

In addition, the framework reportedly offers enhanced integration with other ACCPAC business applications such as ACCPAC eTransact for e-commerce, ACCPAC eCRM, and the also newly announced ACCPAC Exchange for Internet-based Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). ACCPAC Pro Series 7.0 has a new object based design that should improve user efficiency; it supports XML (eXtensible Markup Language) exporting and should give users a broader choice of databases and the ability to manage multiple tasks at once. The vendor believes this new design should provide for adaptability to support emerging business technologies and is a platform for long-term growth. In addition, version 7.0 reportedly includes a range of improvements in customizability, usability, security and data drill-down. Consequently, long-time ACCPAC Pro Series Solution Providers have reportedly lauded the advancements in the Pro Series software.

ACCPAC Advantage Series version 5.0

Also in August, ACCPAC announced the release of the full suite of modules of ACCPAC Advantage Series version 5.0, its chief foundation offering now providing mid-market companies with a 100% web-based accounting solution. The suite includes seven modules: System Manager, General Ledger, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Order Entry, Inventory Control, and Purchase Orders.

Moreover, Advantage Series 5.0 is the ACCPAC's chief offering, and it serves as a foundation for ACCPAC's comprehensive line of business management applications, including CRM, HR, e-commerce, WMS, and more. Like its CRM sibling, the Advantage Series' product architecture provides for access to the accounting system via an Internet browser and web-enabled devices such as mobile phones and PDAs. In addition, the architecture reportedly allows for a variety of options designed to provide businesses the benefits of open platform choice, rapid as businesses can choose Microsoft Windows NT or Linux operating systems and select from a variety of databases, including Microsoft SQL, IBM DB2, Oracle, or Pervasive.SQL.

In addition, Advantage Series is available as a hosted solution, at ACCPAC Online, or may be deployed on premises, while its customers can reportedly extend their solutions to include a full range of business management applications including ACCPAC eCRM, ACCPAC HR Series, ACCPAC eTransact, ACCPAC Warehouse Management System and more.

ACCPAC Advantage Series for the Linux Desktop

Incidentally, ACCPAC announced at its "Partnership 2002" conference the release of ACCPAC Advantage Series for the Linux desktop, making it likely the mid-market's first accounting application to support deployment on both Linux servers and Linux desktops. ACCPAC attributes this feat to the fact its Advantage Series is an accounting solution built on an object-oriented, multi-tiered architecture that enables it to relatively easily integrate new emerging technologies. The reported growing use of Linux on the desktop, coupled with the availability of ACCPAC accounting applications, should provide mid-market clients with a non-Microsoft choice and the potential for significantly reduced total cost of ownership (TCO) in managing their accounting systems.

This concludes Part One of a four-part note.

Part Two will continue detailing recent ACCPAC announcements.

Part Three will discuss the Market Impact.

Part Four will cover Challenges and make User Recommendations.

 
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