ACCPAC GIVES ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE TO SCHOOLS: Accpac International Inc., a Best Software company, is reaching out to the educational community by making its Simply Accounting and Accpac Advantage Series Corporate Edition products available for free to public schools in the U.S. and Canada.

In the past, Accpac had offered the products at discounts of up to 60 percent to publicly funded schools in North America that teach accounting. “What I’ve been finding as I talk to educators is that there are huge budget constraints and many can’t really purchase software for their courses these days,” said Accpac education manager Chris Heaney. “We are trying to get them something they may not have heard of before and we can offer the ability for other educational institutions to teach a great accounting software package and principles to students.”

Heaney said that the Advantage Series for educators would include modules such as order entry, purchase orders and the eTransact Web store. She also noted that high school instructors are adding Simply Accounting to their entrepreneurial courses. Accpac also provides free multimedia training and free technical support via Web chat for registered instructors.

INTUIT DROPS DIRECT SALES FORCE FOR MASTERBUILDER: Tax and accounting product maker Intuit Inc. has revamped its sales and installation programs for its MasterBuilder construction software by dropping its direct sales force in favor of a completely channel-driven approach.

Intuit, which currently has 19 resellers, is carving the United States into 25 protected sales territories for its Solution Providers, and turning its small direct sales force into a channel support team. The resellers only sell — they collect a fee from Intuit, which bills the customers and ships the products — while the more than 300 MasterBuilder ProAdvisors install the software. Previously, resellers could pitch prospects anywhere, and they also competed with the direct sales force.

The company also has an Authorized Associates program for those who wish to recommend MasterBuilder. ProAdvisors will now work more closely with resellers and will be certified for their installation work. A previous certification program did not focus on installation. ProAdvisors pay a $549 annual fee to participate in the program.

SAGE SELLS DATAFACTION BACK TO FOUNDER: Datafaction, the first company purchased by the former Softline Software when it entered the North American accounting software market, has been sold back to its founder.

Sage Group Plc, which acquired Softline last year, decided to sell Los Angeles-based Datafaction to its chief executive and former owner, Brian Kleinman, for an undisclosed amount. Softline bought Datafaction in January 1999 for what was described as in excess of 32 million South African rand, equal to at least $5.46 million when the deal was announced. The same deal would be worth about $4.6 million at current exchange rates.

Datafaction specializes in accounting for the entertainment industry and counts many high-profile customers among its clients. Datafaction’s Web site describes its products as the choice of CPAs, business managers, high-net-worth planners and production companies. It claims an installed base of 320,000 businesses and 4.9 million users.

Softline’s other North American acquisitions were BusinessVision for $13 million and AccountMate for $8.5 million, both purchased in 2000.

BEST OFFERING ONLINE PAYROLL SERVICE: Best Software has rolled out the Peachtree Payroll Service, a full-service, Internet-based payroll solution for small businesses that synchs with Peachtree accounting products to facilitate integration with the general ledger and employee and job information.

The product calculates employee withholdings, and files and deposits customers’ federal, state and local payroll taxes, including sending out quarterly and annual tax forms to the proper taxing authorities.

Peachtree Payroll Service includes several key features, including payroll processing that is supported by a “penalty-free” guarantee, under which Best will pay any tax penalties for inaccurate or late filings as long as the data provided is complete, accurate and on time, and the customer’s accounts are properly funded.

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