Softrak: Providing Guidance

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Softrak Systems has spent most of the last 20 years living off a product from another company. The Vancouver, British Columbia-based company gets much of its business from end users who are transitioning from Accpac Plus, the DOS-based product from Accpac, which has not been actively marketed for several years. But there are still thousands of companies happily using Accpac Plus.

Softrak knows a lot about that product. It started as a database repair company and then became a third-party developer for Accpac Plus While Softrak programs still interface with the DOS application, it has been selling Adagio, its own Windows accounting line, to organizations with between $2 million and $100 million in annual revenue.

"These organizations have a significant transaction volume and at least one person responsible for managing those transactions. We're the next step up from QuickBooks," says Wally Kunz, who heads Softrak's channel development.

Partner Insights

Adagio combines a batch interface with online processing in order entry and inventory control. Modules include general ledger, bank reconciliation, receivables, invoices, payables, inventory, order entry, sales analysis, job cost, Crystal Reports, and time and billing with TimeKeeper. The prime markets for Adagio include Accpac Plus users, First Nations and not-for-profits, service companies, distribution companies, and professional service organizations. A typical installation is Adagio Quintet, with GL/AR/AP, inventory control, and order entry for about $5,000.

Softrak has had a channel in place since 1995, with more than 100 partners in North America, 27 of them in the United States. However, in the last two years, it has added two partner programs for accountants and resellers who need a little more guidance when it comes to selling accounting software.

"We're making a push. We want it to be easier for new partners or smaller companies to join our channel, as well as offering current partners additional options. The bottom line is we want our end users to get the best installation possible," says Kunz.

The Dealer of a Business Partner program, introduced just over a year ago, helps potential partners get their feet wet. "This program is for companies that hope eventually to be full Softrak Business Partners, but aren't ready to make the commitment to sell at least six Adagio modules per year. It makes it easier for new or smaller companies to participate in the Softrak channel," says Kunz.

Each dealer is matched up with a Softrak Business Partner that mentors the other organization and can be called upon to provide assistance in installation, implementation, training, and support. The dealer receives mentoring in marketing and business practice, a 30 percent purchase discount from the reseller, and technical support from Softrak. The reseller, in turn, can earn as high as a 50 percent discount when working with dealer partners. This program currently has 20 dealers.

CPA Steve Schwartz, based in Wynnewood, Pa., and a reseller for the last ten years, is currently mentoring six dealers and the number is growing by one per month.

"I take the budding resellers under my wing, and make myself available to them by cell phone and email," says Schwartz. "It helps the new resellers by giving them an extra level of support and comfort when they go out to do an install or make a sales call. It also eliminates the upfront fees that they would have to make if they were to become a full-fledged reseller."

"It benefits me directly because their sales get channeled through me, so I profit on the sale. It helps me indirectly because it helps grow the Adagio slice of the accounting software pie, and this can only be good for me," he adds.

Softrak has also added a new partner program for accountants. The Adagio FX Partner Program allows accountants to sell Adagio FX, the company's financial report writer. It is aimed at accountants who don't necessarily need the full Adagio line, but have clients who use QuickBooks or Simply Accounting. Partners can join the program for $375 and receive a professional version of Adagio FX for their own use, along with technical support, and a 10 percent discount on Adagio FX Pro for resale. Kunz hopes the program will enroll approximately 100 partners by year-end.

In addition, Softrak is reaching out to QuickBooks ProAdvisors. In February, Softrak ran a promotion to reach ProAdvisors at www.greatstatements.com. When ProAdvisors register, they get an Adagio FX Pro for their own use. ProAdvisors also receive a full year of support and upgrades for free, and Web training on Adagio FX Pro.

FX Pro works with QuickBooks, Simply Accounting, Accpac Plus, and Adagio Accounting. "Accountants use QuickBooks to export to Excel, and have to format it every time, but with Adagio, it does it all and it's read-only. No one can touch or mess up the data in QuickBooks," says Kunz.

Time for an Upgrade

To become a Softrak Business Partner, a dealer must purchase at least $3,000 in software-the six core modules-or register for and attend the Adagio Opportunity conference.

Each partner level is reviewed at the end of each quarter, based upon purchases in the last four quarters. A partner's level can be increased during a quarter if the current order and prior purchases exceed their current level.

Reseller price levels are based on purchases of new licenses, upgrades, support programs, and database repairs. The five partner levels include Premier, Diamond, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. Margins can be as high as 50 percent.

Resellers have access to a private partner area on the Softrak Web site, free registration at the conference, not-for-resale software, and upgrades. They also receive leads, including referrals of orphaned users, along with prospect lists. Collateral material includes promotional literature and CDs. Membership in the Adagio Professional Software Recommender program is limited to accountants in a public accounting practice. Each recommender is matched with a reseller. It costs members an initial $300 to join the program, with an annual renewal fee of $360.

"Many recommenders either use Accpac Plus or have clients who use Accpac Plus, and want to be able to use Adagio for themselves and recommend Adagio to their clients," adds Kunz.

Recommenders receive Adagio software for their own use, product upgrades throughout the year, discounts on other Softrak products for their use, and technical support.

Schwartz says Softrak helps his business grow by pushing him to do things he wouldn't have done on his own. "I sponsor seminars, send out newsletters, call prospects, and created my own Web site, all thanks to Softrak," he says.

For example, this year Schwartz held a seminar to demonstrate the latest upgrades to existing Adagio users. Last year, he held two seminars, one geared towards Accpac Plus users looking to switch, and another geared towards CPAs in public practice who are looking to enhance QuickBooks' financial reporting functionality with Softrak Adagio FX, which can be used as an add-on product for QuickBooks.

"I usually get one or two prospects from each seminar. More importantly, I develop new business from existing clients, additional software, a new project, or both," he says. "For example, this year, an attendee subsequently hired me to fully develop their financial statements, and expanded the project to include an integrated purchase order system."

Schwartz's typical client has been using Accpac Plus since the mid-1980s and has decided to upgrade hardware and/or a network. This is where Softrak's Adagio comes into play. "Adagio was written to provide a smooth transition from DOS to Windows for Accpac Plus users. It doesn't require a data conversion, so it can be implemented one module at a time, and user retraining is almost nil," adds Schwartz.

Although many users are still happy with Accpac Plus, it is no longer certified for new hardware. In replacing Plus with Adagio, Schwartz typically provides a day of training at a cost of as little as $1,000 for his services, plus the actual cost of the software, which ranges between $2,000 and $10,000. "In the process of upgrading the software, it is common for the client, once they trust me, to ask me about improving related inefficient procedures they have. Typical examples would be to integrate a work order system, a recurring billing operation, or a purchase order system, that had been previously done off-line, into an accounting system," adds Schwartz.

Softrak Snapshot
HQ: Vancouver, Canada
Phone: (604) 736-3741
Web: www.softrak.com
Products: Adagio accounting.

Carly Lombardo is Associate Editor of Accounting Technology and can be reached at carly.bohach@sourcemedia.com.

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