Las Vegas (June 23, 2003) – Top CPA technologist Wayne Harding, and his hand-picked team of marketing specialists, are all leaving accounting software developer AccTrak21 USA after less than a year.

Harding said the departure followed an agreement with ATX, a provider of tax software and research, announced Tuesday, to distribute the company’s product, altering his strategy to create a direct CPA channel.

Gary Boomer, who wrote a white paper on AccTrak and originally recommended Harding for the post, said the company never lived up to its promise to fully fund a U.S. marketing effort.

David Bergstein, who worked with Harding at CPA2Biz and then followed him to AccTrak21, broke the news to WebCPA during the AICPA’s Information Technology conference here. Also leaving AccTrak is Mike Dickson, who served as senior vice president of channel development.

“We accomplished our objective in signing up a major distributor in the U.S. and now it’s time to move on and look for other opportunities,” Harding said, adding that he is “phasing out” as CEO after just nine months in the post.

“In the Wayne Harding scorebook, this is not a home run, but we got on some bases,” Harding added.

Harding and his team’s original plan was to build out a direct CPA channel for AccTrak21, an online midrange accounting software product, which originated overseas in Australia and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and wanted to break into the U.S. market. But the group eventually decided to bring ATX on as “a quick way to gain a foothold in the U.S. market without spending lots of cash,” Dickson said.

“I’m disappointed with AccTrak’s commitment to the U.S. market and the fact that they didn’t do what they told Wayne they were going to do, which is to fund the U.S. market,” Boomer said. “They were going to commit to a stronger marketing budget in the U.S. and apparently that didn’t happen.”

Boomer said he has since taken the white paper he wrote on AccTrak off his firm’s Web site.

Staying on as Harding’s successor is Steve Yulga, former director of strategic alliances at AccTrak, who previously worked at rival Red Wing Business Systems. Bergstein already has a new job, as business development manager of consumer tax products for CCH, working out of his Florida home.

Yulga disputed Boomer's assertion that Acctrak failed to fund the U.S. marketing effort, saying the company has just completed its first round of funding. "We're fully funded in the U.S. marketplace at this time – it just took longer than we thought," Yulga said. "I'm confident that's what we need," he added."Is it ever enough? I don't know, but it fits our plan."

Under its proprietary brands MAX and Saber, ATX provides tax preparation software to more than 35,000 accounting firms and other tax preparers in the U.S. When UCG bought ATX in 2002, it merged the company with its existing tax-research information division, Kleinrock Publishing.

Prior to joining AccTrak, Harding was senior director of channel development for CPA2Biz for two years. Before that, he headed CPA Channel Development for Great Plains (now Microsoft/Great Plains) for 11 years. Before GP, Harding was the president of his own CPA firm, which emphasized accounting software for microcomputers. He’s also the past president of the Colorado Society of CPAs and sits on various technology-related committees for the AICPA.

-- Tracey Miller-Segarra

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