Microsoft has built a powerful franchise for the Dynamics brand, stretching from growing firms up to the enterprise. If there is an anchor to this brand, it is surely Dynamics GP, which blends strong features, interconnections with the Microsoft Office and desktop, and an economical starting price.
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NetSuite provides on-demand business management software suites that include accounting/ERP, CRM and e-commerce software for small and midsized enterprises and divisions of large companies. Another leading-edge SaaS service, it provides the advantages of cloud computing, from lower total operating costs to simplified installation and real-time access from anywhere.
NetSuite's accounting/financial resources include a GL, AR, AP, advanced financials, time and billing, purchasing, inventory management, and customizable reports. Also included are budgeting tools and multi-currency capabilities. There are both standard and customizable reports, and some advanced financial tools. But the NetSuite package also bundles advanced customer relationship management tools, inventory management tools and e-commerce capabilities.
One of the features that sets NetSuite and other on-demand systems apart from competitors is their use of role-based dashboards that enable every executive in every department to access customized graphical reports and snapshots, and enable drill-down to the hard data. The dashboards also allow access to key performance indicators of every type, enabling faster and better decision-making.
NetSuite also stands apart from the majority of mid-range solutions for the breadth and depth of its services and its willingness to embrace technologies as they emerge - there is even an application to view the management dashboards from an iPhone.
NetSuite is a relative newcomer to the accounting landscape, but has been around long enough to establish a firm footing and a strong reputation for its features. If the future of accounting truly lies in the cloud, NetSuite will be an accounting package of choice.
Peachtree Quantum 2010
Sage North America
There was a time over the past 30 years when Peachtree was considered a small-business accounting package. That description simply doesn't fit Peachtree Quantum, which has evolved into a more robust, more sophisticated and more feature-laden package for the growing and mid-range company.
Sage has added new capabilities to Peachtree for transaction histories, business analytics, customer management, order process workflow, and role-based, customizable dashboards.
The Quantum version was designed to handle the larger volume of data generated by mid-range companies. It also has a strong order process workflow system that keeps track of all of the parts of the order process, notifies the next person in the process with a status report and notes as needed, and sends notification to the designated Peachtree users once a task is completed. The My Dashboard feature, which is also exclusive to Quantum, allows customized screens for each user that can be created from any of the functions in Peachtree. Data is filtered, and security assigned, based on the needs of the user.
Quantum is the most comprehensive product in the Peachtree product line, providing all the features found in Peachtree Premium Accounting for up to 40 named users. It offers performance, database and security management benefits over the regular Peachtree product line, and offers a compelling migration path for companies that have outgrown the standard Peachtree capabilities.
MAS 90 and 200
Sage North America
There are ordinarily some rules in writing reviews. One is that we don't review beta software, and the other is that we don't review multiple products from the same category from the same company in the same review. Let's break both rules for a moment.
MAS 90 and 200 have been powerful competitors in the mid-range field. They automate core accounting, financial reporting, distribution, manufacturing, e-commerce, and comprehensive business intelligence tools. Version 4.3 provided new paperless office capabilities supporting document imaging and storage, e-mail and e-fax capabilities; enhanced business intelligence functionality with the new Business Insights Dashboard, which enables the capture, consolidation and presentation of key performance indicators in simplified snapshots for easy analysis; and "green" features that help users not only save the environment, but also save money.
Version 4.4, which should be available as this review is published, will improve productivity and business workflow through over 30 usability enhancements, including increased personalization capabilities and customizations that survive upgrades, expanded customer and item number fields that allow for meaningful information to be included, such as "smart part numbers" to indicate special handling requirements, a full UPC code, a store number, a vendor's item number, and a new Parallel Migration tool that reduces risks and lowers the cost of upgrading from a previous version of Sage MAS 90 and 200 up to Version 4.4, by minimizing downtime and transitioning from test to live.
More information will follow when the live version of the software is available.
Traverse Version 11
Open Systems Inc.
Open Systems' Traverse accounting software is a business management backbone for many small, growing and mid-market companies. Though built on Microsoft technology, Open Systems provides source code at no additional cost. Recent enhancements to the system have included Traverse Banking, for secure electronic banking.
Traverse Version 11, the newest generation, is built on .Net and SQL Server technologies and has four layers of adaptability.
The first is a personalization layer that allows each user to customize screen preferences, adjust menu organization, and create and save individualized views of data for inquiry and reporting.
The Traverse Design Studio gives users the ability to add custom fields, adjust screens for various users and roles, and build import and export definitions to provide integration to other business management software applications or automation equipment that may be in use. In the integration layer, users can integrate their Web store, trading partner, or other proprietary or third-party data to Traverse using the Traverse Integration Engine, a set of data mapping and scheduling tools. And there's customization to meet the specific business needs of a company.
Traverse offers a powerful, scalable and customizable system appropriate to its position as a mid-range accounting package with a well-established user base, a host of advanced features and economical pricing. It also benefits from its status as the only open-source software among the major mid-range accounting packages.
Dave McClure is the president of Kent Associates, in Alexandria, Va., an independent testing laboratory and evaluation service.