Cyma Swaps Size for Personal Attention


When resellers want personal attention, larger vendors don't tend to make the short list. Smaller companies like Cyma Systems, which has provided accounting software for 25 years and only has 20 employees, stand out.

Many of Cyma's 81 resellers have stuck with the Tempe, Ariz., company for more than a dozen years. While they brag about the Cyma Accounting for Windows product suite-whose version 9 release last October contained more than 100 new features from speedier invoice entry to improved job costing, they also appreciate the friendliness of the staff.

Topping that pyramid of congeniality is Debbie Armer, Cyma's director of channel development.

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Armer started her career with Cyma in 1998 as a regional sales manager, became a channel manager in 2004, and was promoted in November 2006 to this new role, in which she is responsible for reseller recruiting and lead generation under an ongoing Carpe Diem campaign.

Target regions include the Northeast, mid-Atlantic, southern Florida, and southern California. Key vertical industries include government contracting and nonprofit organizations.

Armer hopes to bulk up the number of resellers to 140 in the next two to three years, and is aiming for channel product sales to account for 75 percent of product revenue within five years, up from 45 percent in 2006.


Burland Brown, owner and president of Indianapolis-based Computer Support Services, signed up for the new program in December. He needed to find a new vendor after nonprofit accounting software provider Blackbaud discontinued its reseller program at the end of 2005.

After evaluating MIP Fund Accounting, Kintera's FundWare, Cougar Mountain Accounting, and Microsoft's Great Plains, he chose Cyma because it is a lower-priced product containing most of the functionality that nonprofits need. Setting up payroll and the chart of accounts is easier than in Blackbaud, whose functionality is "overkill" for most smaller organizations, according to Brown.

Cyma's mid-market Financial Management System and Not-for-Profit Edition are built on the Pervasive SQL platform and use the industry standard Crystal Reports and the F9 Financial Report Writer. Module add-ons include General Ledger, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Bank Reconciliation, Inventory Control, Job Costing, Payroll, Purchase Order, and Sales Order, so customers can choose what they need. Most modules cost around $595.

"Cyma isn't as overwhelming or as graphically appealing, but the functionality is there," Brown says, adding that he hopes to sell or convert four or more users to the system this year. "You get a lot of value for that price tag."

Cyma's smaller size and larger commitment to the channel also influenced Brown's decision.

Armer assures that the program is forging ahead, not disappearing. Carpe Diem sets out to deliver a new level of support to the channel in several ways, many of which boil down to financials.

In 2007, the cost for newcomers is $3,400, which includes online training, unlimited tech support for one year, a complete set of products for internal use or for demo purposes, and 16 new product modules at 75 percent discount, instead of the typical 50 percent.

"We want them to recoup within 12 months the financial and time commitment they made," Armer says. "Sixteen modules will do that."

Continuing resellers pay $1,095, which includes 15 technical support incidents, software upgrades, and new releases. They are required to order five new or upgrade systems this year to qualify as resellers in 2008.

The average new system is for two to three users and includes four to five modules, costing roughly $5,000 for the product and $5,000 for consulting and tech support, according to Armer.

"For every $10,000 they collect for new products, they'll pay Cyma $2,500. The opportunity to make money is good," she says. "We want to incent our resellers for new system sales. That's where the most growth has been since 2005."

Cyma also incents its direct sales force not to compete with the channel. As part of the Lead Referral Zone, Cyma uses a 60-mile radius from each reseller's main office location to pass on potential clients. In areas with multiple resellers, Cyma will assign the lead based on proximity to the end-user and the reseller's skill level. Where no resellers are based, the direct sales force supplements the efforts.

Dave Kerr, of Kerr Consulting & Support, would like a bit more regional freedom, however.

"Their argument is if there's no reseller in Rhode Island and they get a lead, they'll pursue it themselves," Kerr says. "We have Cyma in all 50 states. We can handle it."

Kerr began his relationship with Cyma in 1987 and has been the top reseller for the past eight years, earning roughly 40 percent of his revenue from Cyma sales and support.

He also sells Sage's accounting products but, like Brown, says Cyma is difficult to beat when looking at the "bang for the buck."

He values the import and export capabilities in the basic software to and from Excel, and the due to/due from fund accounting, which makes keeping track of money easier for a wide range of clients-from orders of nuns to pawn shops.


Because he sold four or more new systems totaling $10,000 in purchases to Cyma during the second half of 2006, Kerr was named a New Business is Grand 2006 winner, which yields a reward of $1,000 in cash. He also is one of eight 2007 Cyma Dealers of Excellence, earning him a special logo and placement on Cyma's Web site.

To qualify, resellers had to sell six new/upgrade systems by the end of 2006, meet growth goals, attend each version 9.0 dealer training topic in the virtual classroom, and participate in local marketing campaigns.

Jack Pruett, owner of Memphis, Tenn.-based AMBR Technologies, prides himself on earning that designation two years in a row.

His two-person company serves roughly 165 clients in nine states and has been a dedicated Cyma reseller since 2000. "Dealer of Excellence proves how if you take advantage of what's available, you're going to make the grade," he says.

In addition to those rewards, other benefits include a Dealer of Record Credit, earning resellers 10 percent for software maintenance plan renewals on a semiannual basis that can be applied to all software and service orders, including third-party products.

The Cyma Reseller Marketing Fund provides them with a budget equal to 5 percent of their 2006 purchases. That money is used to match expenditures on lead-generation activities such as new business, email marketing, and field seminars. The company also helps produce regional Google search engine ads and contributes 25 percent of that cost.

In 2006, 90 percent of participants seeking free pre-sales assistance closed their pending deals. Online sales and marketing support and product training also are free.

Those services, along with product improvements and easy updates, allowed Sheryl Dodge and partner Linda Fletcher of A-Soft Professionals to increase sales by 130 percent over 2005 with roughly 250 to 300 customers in Texas, ranging from single-user systems to 31 users.

"They'll spend 30 to 60 minutes going through features with us to make sure we know what we're talking about," Dodge says. "That kind of stuff could make or break a deal."

Alexandra DeFelice is Associate Editor of Accounting Technology and can be reached at

Cyma Systems Snapshot

HQ: Tempe, Ariz.

Founded: 1980

Employees: 20

Resellers: 81

Products: Cyma Financial Management Systems, Cyma

Not-for-Profit Edition, Cyma Client Write-up

Web site:

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