San Francisco (Feb. 10, 2004) -- Though Accountmate was recently acquired by Best Software, the acquisition was not the focal point of the keynote address of the software vendor’s reseller conference, held here.

Instead, Murray Aston, president and chief executive of Accountmate’s U.S. parent, Softline Software USA, focused on what he felt were the keys to growing a business, rather than what the immediate future might hold for his particular business.

"I strongly believe we achieved the goals we laid out at last year's reseller conference," Aston said. "I thought that the best message to you should be about what it takes to manage and grow your business. And that is, first, break all the rules."

Aston referred to a book he recently read on the topic of good management, and imparted some of its key messages: “Defy conventional wisdom when managing your business,” “don't tell people how to get there, tell them the goal,” “change your strategy according to the current business climate, not just to change,” and “spend time with your best employees.”

“No pun intended,” Aston added after the last, referring to the employees from Best Software in the room.

Employees and resellers from both Best and Accpac International Inc., another pending Sage Group purchase and future sister company to AccountMate, were a notable presence at the conference. At the end of his speech, Aston invited Best senior vice president of business partners Taylor Macdonald to say a few words.

Macdonald, a former reseller himself, gave a brief overview of the Best family of products and overall business and partner strategy. Macdonald was later invited to answer specific reseller concerns and questions that AccountMate resellers had about merging with Best.

The somewhat impromptu Q&A drew questions about AccountMate being branded as a Best product, consolidating AccountMate's payroll functions with Best's Abra product, and how to become a Best partner. Macdonald was able to answer the latter in some detail and also referred to a presentation he plans to make later in the conference that will answer reseller concerns in more detail.

"For those of you who want to become Best partners, that's why we are here," Macdonald said. "What I can say right now is to ask yourself, ‘Is there value in taking on this new product line or can I just get in touch with a top Best partner in that area and take the commissions?’ You will find you have many options with us."

-- Seth Fineberg

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