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AccountMate Software An International Product No One Knew About Part Two: Applications, Competitive Analysis, and User Recommendations

Written By: Charles Chewning Jr.
Published On: January 20 2005

AccountMate Software An International Product No One Knew About -- Part Two: Applications, Competitive Analysis, and User Recommendations
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Introduction

With installations in more than 54 countries, AccountMate Software (http://www.AccountMate.com) of Novato, CA (US) has been one of the quiet leaders in the middle market for a number of years. AccountMate's strength has always been the fact that it provides source code which allows its resellers and independent software vendors (ISV) to modify the core product to fit the needs of individual customers.

AccountMate's current management team is focused on marketing several critical facts that will point up its products' strengths:

  • AccountMate 6.5 is a very well-designed product with rich functionality.

  • The product has been translated into three languages (French, Spanish, and Chinese) in addition to its native English.

  • The product line is multicurrency and is supported by resellers or distributors in twenty-eight countries.

  • AccountMate provides a unique built-in translation engine for data dictionary translation into any language. This translation engine allows clients to run their AccountMate SQL/MSDE products with the screens supported in their home language.

Part One of this note described the company's standard product line and applications.

This part continues a description of the company's product line, describing additional applications.

Business Intelligence

Business intelligence (BI) is a powerful query and reporting tool that enables users to analyze their business data from any angle, including non-AccountMate application data. Benefits include faster reporting cycles, higher quality information, sophisticated data analysis capabilities, better data on customer buying behavior, and improved end-user productivity. BI comes with many predefined queries such as best-selling products, largest customers and vendors, top salespeople, product class and product line analysis, and much more. Other features include the following:

  • Report Creation: The Report Wizard guides the user step-by-step through the creation of new reports, making available fields from related visual AccountMate tables. Users can also add calculated fields to summarize complex information.

  • Multidimensional Queries: Multidimensional queries allow users to dynamically analyze business facts from different perspectives simultaneously, such as sales by product line, customer, year, and salesperson. BI's unique multidimensional architecture allows ad hoc addition of dimensions by the end user.

  • Powerful Formula Engine: The formula engine allows users to create new calculated fields, using data from any table. Formulas can have long expressions, logical functions, and rankings.

  • Scheduled Data and Formula Refresh: BI extracts data into a data warehouse, so as to maximize reporting performance and overall system stability. The data extraction and formula calculation processes can be scheduled to automatically execute in off-peak periods, so the data warehouse remains current without user intervention.

  • Dynamic On-line Analysis: Users can view any set of data tables using the relationship object. While viewing customer data, users can drill down to invoices and invoice details, and dynamically set filters, summaries, and graphs.

  • Quick Data Locate and Export to Excel: It is quick and easy to find any data set in the database and export it to Excel and other formats. The export function uses the descriptive field names.

  • Power Drill-down: It is possible to access any level of data detail, from high-level business summaries to single cells, providing full drill-down capabilities for all modules.

  • Users can send query results via e-mail.

  • Filters can be color-coded so customers with declining sales will appear in red, while the top ten best-selling products appear in blue.

  • Other systems and third-party applications can be integrated so all company data is viewed as a single database.

  • All information objects can be reused. That means the users define a filter or formula only once, and then use them in all queries and reports. This feature, in conjunction with the pre-mapped relationships, make complex reporting quick and easy.

  • The graph engine is integrated to Microsoft Graph, likely familiar to Excel users.

Consolidated Ledger

Consolidated Ledger brings easy-to-use features to financial consolidations, providing the ability to quickly combine each different company's account balances and budget information into a single unified ledger to present consolidated financial statements and other reports.

Fund Accounting

AccountMate's Fund Accounting features facilitate not only the specific reporting needs of the not-for-profit organization, but also provide the tools necessary to provide a detailed accounting of funds expenditures.

Contact Manager

AccountMate 6.5's Contact Manager is a full-featured contact management software program that helps professionals manage the total business cycle more productively and efficiently. Contact Manager fully optimizes Microsoft BackOffice to provide a complete, automated contact management system that offers an all-in-one solution for managing multiple contacts.

Inventory Control

Inventory Control is AccountMate's basic inventory application. If users require additional functionality, they can purchase other AccountMate inventory applications. Although this can be thought of as a "standard" application, it does allow users to assign serial numbers to inventory items, define multiple substitutes for an item, record transfers of units from one item to a similar item or to the same item in a different warehouse, list all the vendors that supply a particular item or all the items supplied by a particular vendor, and copy inventory items to another company.

Price Control

Price Control supports price maintenance in one menu location, unlimited simultaneous pricing by quantity and price code, the ability to set up minimum prices for inventory items and a customer price paid default option. The module is also ideal for making quick and easy changes to inventory prices without spending hours on data entry.

Customer Inventory Manager

Customer Inventory Manager allows users to easily cross-reference inventory item numbers, descriptions, and units of measure (UOM) with their customers, as well as automatically updating prices.

Inventory Specification

This application allows users to create categories for inventory items, such as size, color, weight, and texture, and then to track and price them by each category created. This provides users with the ability to quickly suggest a similar item when the desired specification is not available, thereby reducing the likelihood a sale will be lost.

Kitting

Kitting allows users to create and manage groups of inventory items packaged together as kits (such as the components of a computer system) and sold to others for assembly.

Lot Control

Lot Control allows users to track units of lot-controlled items from purchase or production through inventory and sale, as well as recording each lot-controlled unit's expiration date.

Manufacturer's Inventory

With AccountMate 6.5's Manufacturer's Inventory, users can break down large jobs into multiple starting dates; post work-in-process (WIP) status automatically or manually; print work orders, routing slips, production slips, and a wide variety of reports; and track jobs, resource usage and backorders through to the posting of finished jobs and the cancellation of any unused allocated resources.

Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA)

RMA allows users to manage all aspects of the RMA process including the generation of sales return invoices and the calculation of the resulting gain or loss from inventory replacements, or substitute items. RMA also supports other specific functions such as the claims person, inventory warranty, and the defective inventory adjustment maintenance.

Return to Vendor (RTV)

The RTV module offers users an accurate and comprehensive system to manage purchase returns to vendors. Users can create RTV orders, as well as record important tasks such as shipments of purchase returns and the receipt of substitute or replacement items.

Industry-Specific Applications

AccountMate was designed from its first release twenty years ago to become a platform that allows resellers to meet the needs of individual customers as well as create applications that serve specific industries. Over the years resellers and ISVs have created a significant number of industry-specific applications. The following list is certainly not all inclusive, but does identify some of the leading applications that may be of interest to users.

One of the interesting facts about AccountMate and its independently developed applications is that many of these applications operate in a wireless environment, probably more so than even its larger competitors.

Competitive Analysis

AccountMate 6.5 offers a very rich set of applications. Its direct competitors are ACCPAC Pro Series, MAS 90/200, SouthWare, and other middle-market products. Depending on the circumstances AccountMate 6.5 could find itself in competition with products such as Navision, MAS 500, and similar higher-end products, or lower-end products such as BusinessVision, CYMA, and TurningPoint (Red Wing Software).

In the past AccountMate may have been viewed as a nice middle-of-the-road product that offers source code. Its resellers might have been similarly viewed as programmers, not necessarily sales or business oriented people. To some extent this is now its most significant challenge.

Price is a market reality and AccountMate's relative position (less expensive than higher-end products) gives it an opportunity to create a competitive advantage. At the same time it is more expensive than lower-end products and therefore at a competitive disadvantage. If smaller prospects are also looking at lower-end products, they must be convinced that they need the added value AccountMate can provide. If larger prospects are also looking at higher-end products, resellers must convince them that they do not need all of the functionality they think they need or that they (the reseller) have the ability to understand the user's requirements and create appropriate modifications.

User Recommendations

It is not absolutely necessary to spend $50,000 or $100,000 (USD) to acquire highly productive accounting and business management software. AccountMate is one of those products that does not receive a lot of press, and yet serves customers in fifty-four countries and four languages. That's a lot better than many products that call themselves international.

As users are evaluating their requirements some of the following factors should be considered:

  • AccountMate offers significant core functionality at an affordable price.

  • AccountMate does not compete feature-by-feature with higher-end products and does not pretend to do so. Users must determine if they really need all of the features offered by higher-end products and at the same time calculate the additional cost to acquire required features not currently supported by AccountMate.

  • Depending on the user's requirements, any one of three different products can be selected. This may prove to be an advantage, particularly if the company is relatively small right now but growing. Rather than switching to a completely different product, users could just upgrade to a more robust version of AccountMate.

  • Its use of SQL as its high-end database gives it the ability to serve large companies.

  • It is available in four languages and in many foreign countries.

  • The fact that source code is available means that the core program can be modified to meet any company's unique requirements. This is also where the analysis can become a little tricky. Source code availability or the ability to easily create add-in functionality can be a slippery slope. Too much modification may make it difficult (and therefore expensive) to upgrade the program to current version compatibility. This is the case for any accounting system, not just AccountMate.

  • If program modifications are required, users must rely heavily on the reseller; not just their programming abilities but their business abilities. Resellers must understand the intricacies of the industry in which the user competes in order to create modifications or entire application suites that will allow the user to compete more effectively.

  • There are a significant number of third-party products that can integrate with AccountMate and thus avoid customization. This can be an advantage, but if the reseller has no familiarity with a specific add-in, this may prove to be a disadvantage. Again this applies to all resellers, not just those representing AccountMate.

About the Author

Charles Chewning, Jr. is president of Solutions, a Richmond, Virginia-based consulting firm specializing in accounting software selection. He is considered a leading software selection expert. Chewning has written a number of accounting software reviews and is a frequent speaker on the subject of accounting software selection as well as sales and marketing. He is the publisher of The Accounting Library (http://www.accountinglibrary.com). He can be reached at cchewning@accountinglibrary.com

 
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