By Carly Lombardo
Like what you see? Click here to sign up for Accounting Today's daily newsletter to get the latest news and behind the scenes commentary you won't find anywhere else.
Not-for-profit is the way for Serenic’s resellers to profit. But to help them out, the software company is increasing its marketing visibility, and rolling out an enhanced reseller program with increased margins. It may even become more visible with its pending purchase by Vision HRM, a payroll company based in Edmonton, Alberta.
The revamped Serenic partner program is highlighted by an increased minimum software margin of 35 percent, while current resellers will receive a margin of 40 percent on sales of Serenic Navigator for the six months ending September 30.
“The new program is designed to increase the profitability of our current partners and make our program more appealing for new partners,” says Chris Stevenson, vice president of sales.
Serenic has recruited 36 resellers since its partner program began in 2001, and it wants to increase that base as it seeks to serve the broad NFP market, including religious organizations, international missions, state and local governments, education, and research organizations.
“Serenic Navigator provides our partners who have experience with accounting solutions for the public sector an excellent vertical market opportunity,” adds Stevenson. “We want partners with a strong accounting software background. And, we want organizations keen on having a dedicated sales force and pro-active marketing.”
Based in Lakewood, Colo., Serenic was founded in 1999 by Jay Malik, who formerly worked with American Fundware and Epicor. The company released the fund accounting package in November 2000. Under the pending purchase, Malik becomes COO of the merged Vision HRM.
The company’s flagship program, Serenic Navigator, is powered by Microsoft Business Solutions’ Navision Edition. Navision, and its fund accounting software companion have been through some name changes. When Navision was an independent company, the line was called Navision Financials and Navision Attain, at different times. The Serenic product was called Fund Accounting for Navision until Microsoft acquired Navision. Although linked to a single product, it’s a growing market with Navision cited in the last few Microsoft financial reports as being behind the growth of MBS. There are 37,000 Navision sites worldwide.
The Serenic line includes not only Navigator, but also Serenic Fundamentals. Navigator provides functionality for larger not-for-profits and government agencies while Fundamentals, which is not available through resellers, focuses on smaller organizations. Features include automatic fund balancing, an unlimited number of budgets and real-time budget approvals, comprehensive procurement, e-mail notifications, and Web-based time, expense, and requisition entry. The system is XBRL import and export ready, and pricing starts at $30,000.
After the first six months, partner margins will be based on accumulated software and maintenance purchases over a 12-month rolling period and calculated at the beginning of each quarter. The new schedule for margins is as follows:
- Level 1: 35 percent for purchases of $50,000 and less.
- Level 2: 40 percent for purchases of $50,001 to $100,000
- Level 3: 45 percent for purchases of $100,001 to $150,000
- Level 4: 50 percent for purchases of more than $150,001.
Improving Growth and Profitability
Serenic’s partner programs are designed for accounting software resellers and consultants who do business with not-for-profit and governmental organizations.
The program has three levels: reseller, consulting, and referral.
Eligible partners must maintain a Navision certification. Also, current Navision solution or consulting partners are eligible to participate as either Serenic Navigator Reseller Partners or Consulting Partners.
Resellers account for 90 percent of the channel and in order to become a reseller partner, partners must submit a Serenic Navigator product and marketing business plan, execute a Serenic partner agreement, and complete product training and certification. It costs $5,000 to join the program and partners receive demonstration software, annual software maintenance and support, enrollment into the lead distribution program, access to target marketing campaigns, training class credits for product certification, and class credit for sales certification training.
The company waives the $1,000 annual fee for resellers who buy more than $25,000 a year. Partners must attend a training and certification class before becoming authorized. Once certified, resellers can provide implementation and training services. Those who want to implement Navigator, but who do not wish to sell, can join a consulting program for $2,500 and receive all the benefits, except for the lead generation program.
Serenic introduced a Referral Partner program for organizations and individuals who want to refer sales to Serenic resellers. Referrals can receive margins of as much as 20 percent.
A CPA Pioneer
Shawnee, Okla.-based Finely &Cook was Serenic’s first reseller. Benefits of working with Serenic include free technical and sales training, regional marketing assistance, and ongoing lead generation. Linda O’Neal, manager, says, “We love the ability to customize the software to fit our clients’ businesses and not change their business to fit the software.”
This results in satisfied clients, such as the Absentee-Shawnee Native American tribe, which has a variety of commercial interests, including restaurants, a casino, a convenience store, a bank, and a motel.
The tribe, which is considering adding a travel plaza with another hotel and casino, wanted an easy-to-use system that would facilitate the consolidation of entities into one financial statement.
According to O’Neal, consolidated financial reporting was the tribe’s most acute need. “They keep separate books on each entity and have the need to produce consolidated reports. That’s the area in which Navigator is very strong,” she says. The installation, which went live in less than 90 days, involved about $85,000 in software and a similar amount in services.
Similarly, the Portland, Oregon-based eSoftware Professionals finds that “Serenic Navigator continues to grow and expand in market-driven ways, which means we have options for our clients before they realize they need them,” says Robynne Davis, business development manager. About 70 percent of eSoftware’s clients are NFPs, including the Civil Air Patrol. eSoftware provided the CAP with a combination of Serenic software and MBS Navision. CAP, a volunteer-staffed auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, flies search-and-rescue missions along with other emergency and security related inland operations.
The organization needed more advanced financial and accounting software to comply with federal government tracking and reporting regulations for non-profit organizations. The combination was aimed to help CAP adequately track and manage its funding from multiple sources and provide reporting across different donor fiscal periods. In months, CAP was ready to implement the system and with it CAP is saving an estimated $75,000 to $100,000 annually on audit costs.
Meeting the Criteria
Training and marketing also play an important role in the Serenic Partner Programs.
Reselling and consulting partners are required to meet the minimum authorization criteria. Resellers must have a minimum of one salesperson focused on not-for-profit and/or government, a minimum of two product specialists, and a new version product specialist training commitment.
Training includes a Serenic Navigator four-day sales training, which teaches attendees how to position the product. The five-day Navigator product training includes certification on all features, functions, and implementation, on which partners are tested.
Carly Lombardo is Associate Editor of Accounting Technology and can be reached at email@example.com.
HQ: Lakewood, Colo.
Products: Serenic Navigator and Fundamentals
Price: Navigator averages from $30,000 to $75,000.