There’s a lot of attention paid to general accounting vendors like Microsoft Great Plains, Best Software, Navision, Accpac, and others. After all, they are the big players in the mid-market software business.
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But for the reseller, it’s often the third-party product that solves the problems faced by clients. After all, the accounting software is largely used by the accounting department. But there are a lot more parts to the organization.
|Additional Third-Party Stars|
|These stars are covered in more detail in Richard McCausland’s story Vertical VARs--Scratching a Niche in this same issue.
AKA Enterprise Solutions
Business Management International
DBC Systems/Everest Software Solutions
Macdonald Consulting Group
Rowie Walker & Associates
“We have found that the success of our accounting implementations is often measured by the value of the information derived from the system, the ease in which that information can be retrieved, and the accessibility of the information to ALL users, not just those who work directly with the back- office system,” says Helene Cole, president of DMS Technology Solutions, a reseller based in Cedar Knolls, N.J. DMS sells Great Plains Dynamics and eEnterprise lines.
The third-party business is a pretty fluid one. Success in third parties often leads to their acquisition by accounting software vendors. A few years ago, Solomon acquired Smith Gaylord Dennis and integrated that company’s project accounting package into Solomon.
Best Software has been particularly aggressive in acquiring important third parties, so many of its better-known packages have now been incorporated into the family. Last year, it acquired Haitek, a manufacturing software vendor. This year, it has acquired Intellisol’s Projecting Accounting for the Best Enterprise Suite and Batchmaster for PFW, a process manufacturing package for Platinum for Windows line, which Best had just acquired from Epicor.
“My perceptions of what customers really want is they want one company to take as much of the responsibility as possible,” says Dave Butler, president of Best Software’s Mid-Market Division (formerly known as Sage Software).
Butler noted that Best acquired the Intellisol Software, while Great Plains continues to use other Intellisol products in a third-party relationship. “We don’t think that’s what customers want,” says Butler.
But independent software vendors and VARs who write their own packages continue to provide important support to the accounting software community.
They don’t just write software. Many are value-added resellers in their own right, but as ISVs, they also have resellers that they use to get their products into the hands of end users.
Based on recommendations from accounting software companies, nominations by resellers and consultants, and the general industry reputation, Accounting Technology has chosen its first-ever listing of Third-Party Stars, those lesser-known players that make accounting software sing.
Accountable Software illustrates what happens when a third party is very successful. The company wrote Explorer, which enabled users to query the Great Plains Dynamics database by pointing and clicking.
So Great Plains purchased Explorer in 2000 and Accountable was on to its next generation with the AnyView line. Not surprisingly, the company has received a number of awards from Great Plains, including a citation in 2000 for having the Most Powerful Customer Solution Award.
Accountable (www.accountable.com), based in Exton, Pa., was founded in 1990 by CEO David Haabestad. The company was ranked number 271 as the fastest growing technology company in the United States two years ago by Deloitte and Touche.
The next generation of products, AnyView Creator and AnyView Browser, work in conjunction with Explorer. Creator enables users to build new Explorer objects, essentially fields such as sales or transactions, which enables queries to be performed. AnyView Browser enables users to perform the queries over the Internet.
Using the AnyView Browser while on vacation, “One of the things I was able to do on the Internet was check sales. I could work for 15 minutes and know my business was running well,” says Haabestad. The company most recently wrote a Solomon version of AnyView.
The formula is a hit with Lisa Kianoff, a Birmingham, Ala.-based reseller.
“Accountable Software stands out. They are a great company to work with. They are creative, responsive, and write a great product,” says Kianoff.
Advanced Concepts has been producing point-of-sale and sales management software for more than twenty years from its headquarters in Milwaukee, Wis.
Among its more recent offerings is Sales CTRL 2000, a customer relationship management package that integrates with Microsoft Office. Written in Visual FoxPro, the line helps manage company and contact information, account relationships, business opportunities, lead generation and tracking, sales forecasting, automated marketing campaigns, sales cycle analysis, custom reporting, appointment scheduling, data synchronization, broadcast email campaigns, and customer service functions. The system has interfaces for Open Systems Traverse and Open Systems Accounting Software.
Advanced Concepts (www.advanced-concepts.com) also markets Orders Plus, an order entry and point-of-sale system for distributors and retailers that integrates with OSAS’s general ledger, accounts receivable, inventory, purchase order, and report writer modules.
AGS Software, based in Toronto, develops and sells software which integrates accounting packages with browser-based applications.
The main product from AGS (www.agssoftware.com), EPOS, a browser- based point-of-sale package, works with a variety of databases including Microsoft SQL Server, Pervasive.SQL2000i, IBM/DB2, Oracle, and CA Ingres 11. EPOS, on the market for three years, supports Microsoft and Linux operating systems, and links with the Accpac Advantage Series. The software directly links to the Inventory Control, Order Entry, and Accounts Receivable modules, and the transactions flow from these modules directly to the General Ledger.
“What sets us apart from other third-party businesses is the fact that we have created a great piece of technology utilizing a browser-based Point-of-Sale software that taps directly into an off-the-shelf accounting,” says CEO Marc Cashman.
The Web-based system links both to the accounting package and the IBM/DB2 Database. Cashman also touts its robustness. “Our product also has a fail proof offline mode that can be switched on-the-fly in case of server or Internet connectivity failure,” says Cashman.
American Computing Systems
Ultimate Point of Sale (UPOS) from Atlanta-based American Computing Systems automates the checkout process for use with barcode scanners, cash drawers, receipt printers, and credit/debit card readers.
UPOS can be modified to fit customers’ needs. In addition to enabling screen customizations, the infrastructure can be modified to flow, process, and work according to customers’ requirements. American Computing (www.upos.com) will also provide source code to end users.
“We place our customers in a position of control where they can control their own destiny,” says president Daryl Anderson. “They can opt to have their in-house IT staff maintain or customize the application as well as our engineers or the reseller.”
UPOS has been on the market for more than 10 years and integrates with both the Accpac International Pro Series and VisionPoint.
Applied Business Services
Applied Business Services, an Open Systems reseller and VAR for twenty years, developed its ClientAccess Software to enable VARs to manage their businesses by tracking client support activity, billing customers, managing service and maintenance contracts, sales lead tracking and proposal activities, and employee time and projects.