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Technology Focus: Accounting Systems to Keep Any Bean Counter Happy

Enterprise Resource Planning / Financial
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Accounting applications provide the indispensable service of monitoring the flow of money through an enterprise. For IBM Power System users, third-party software options abound.

 

"Show me the money," if not the most often-echoed movie quote in corporate settings today, is at least at the top of most companies' concern lists. For users of the IBM Power Systems platform, still often called the IBM i, there is a rich assortment of financial applications available to track the bucks.

 

After the financial debacles of the early 21st Century, a number of international, U.S. federal, and state laws and regulations have made accurate accounting and maintenance of enterprise financial records more important than ever. Besides merely keeping track of the bottom line, financial software today is necessary for providing audit trails of many kinds of financial activities.

Cashing In

Traditionally, accounting software helps enterprises control and manage money they take in and money they owe, generate invoices to entities owing them money, track profitability (or lack thereof), and usually quantify the value of assets and inventory. While there are possibly thousands of applications for the PC, most companies using the IBM i prefer to use the platform for accounting functions also, due to its database and related strengths.

 

The bulk of choices in IBM i accounting applications consists of either built-in options that handle other areas related to accounting or products that tie in to software for managing other corporate activities, such as customer relationship management, e-commerce and electronic payment processing, and human resources and payroll. Generally, the size of an enterprise and the kinds of corporate functions management wants to see controlled by software systems set the basic parameters for selecting accounting solutions.

 

What follows is a summary overview of business-accounting software that runs under i5/OS, although some products support other operating systems as well. We'll focus on full-featured accounting applications, which we'll define as products that provide a minimum of functions supporting accounts payable (AP), accounts receivable (AR), and general ledger (GL). Although there are applications that focus primarily on only one or a few aspects of accounting (e.g., fixed assets, spreadsheet generation, document management, payroll, check printing), this article will cover only general-purpose applications.

 

We'll also be leaving out business intelligence, report-generation, and financial-planning applications that, while they can be used in financial contexts, don't incorporate at least the minimum support for AR, AP, and GL functions. Also omitted are accounting applications aimed solely at a specific industry segment (e.g., distribution, retail), in favor of focusing on applications that can potentially be used by any kind of business.

 

There are currently more than 20 accounting software solutions for the IBM i that fit all these criteria. Hopefully, if you’re in the market for an accounting package, one of the following solutions will provide the combination of functions and features that best meets your needs.

Shared Attributes

What we can take as a given for all products mentioned here is that they share certain baseline features. These include report generation, spreadsheet support, tax tracking, and various means of generating executive-level screen-based summaries.

 

To provide some at-a-glance summary information about the available products, the products are listed below with a "functions" field that uses the following function abbreviations: Accounts Payable (AP), Accounts Receivable (AR), Check Printing (CP), Electronic Tax Filing (ET), Fixed Assets (FA), Financial Performance (FP), General Ledger (GL), Human Resources (HR), Inventory Control (IC), Order Management (OM), Project Accounting (PA), Payroll (PR), and Sales Analysis (SA). In addition, you'll see listed under "Extras" additional functions of potential interest that are cited by the vendors for each product on the vendors' Web sites.

 

It's possible that there are additional features offered by particular products that may be useful in your enterprise's setting, but only those attested by vendor Web materials will be listed here. Obviously, for a more complete picture of the capabilities of each product, you should consult the links provided for each product and contact the associated vendors for a more complete idea of what each product's capabilities include.

 

And as always when looking for products or services, be sure to check the MC Press Online Buyer's Guide.

IBM i Accounting Applications

American Software Enterprise

American Software

Functions: AP, AR, GL

Extras: Interfaces to logistics, planning, manufacturing, and e-commerce suite members

 

CMI General Accounting System

Chouinard & Myhre

Functions: AP, AR, GL, PR

Extras: Intercompany accounting, statistical tracking

 

CODA Financial Management

UNIT4

Functions: AP, AR, GL, FA, PA

Extras: Process and control automation, budgeting and forecasting, cash management, and spending controls

 

COMPREHENSIV

Xperia

Functions: AP, AR, GL, HR, PR

Extras: Financial management, letter-of-credit generation, statistical tracking, credit management, incentive pay tracking, multiple-bank audit trails

 

Core Information System (CIS)

CIS-LAMP

Kobelt Development

Functions: AP, AR, FA, GL, IC, OM

Extras: Incident tracking, contact and membership management, purchase-order generation

(CIS-LAMP is a version of CIS with a Web interface.)

 

DAPREX Application Suite

DAPREX

Functions: AP, AR, FA, GL, IC, OM, PR

Extras: Sales analysis, fund accounting, time and attendance, vacation scheduling tied to payroll

(Suite members are also available standalone.)

 

EZ PayManager/400 Payment Management

ACOM Solutions

Functions: CP, PR

Extras: Electronic payment automation, check templates and printing controls, Web-based training

 

Financial Portrait Software System (FPS)

Information Consultants

Functions: AP, AR, GL

Extras: Multiple-company database, menu and session tailoring, open accounting periods, automatic payment term calculations

 

Freedom Series/ec21

Butler Commerce Solutions

Functions: AP, AR, FP, GL, HR, IC, OM, PR, SA

Extras: Sales commission calculation, integrated EDI and fax, demand planning and forecasting, customer relationship management

(This product is also available as a hosted SaaS offering.)

 

GammaSoft Executive Series

Gamma Software

Functions: AP, AR, GL, HR, IC, PR

Extras: Customer relationship management, maintenance scheduling, forestry industry option, bank reconciliation

 

Global Financial Applications

Global Software

Functions: AP, AR, FA, GL, OM, PA

Extras: Cash management, project and lease accounting, purchase-order generation

 

HarrisData Financial Management Systems

HarrisData

Functions: AP, AR, FA, GL

Extras: Multicurrency support

 

Infor Financial Management System (FMS)

Infor

Functions: AP, AR, FA, GL, IC

 

Integra

Professional Support Group Pty. Ltd.

Functions: AP, AR, GL, HR, IC, PR

Extras: Job and project costing, estimating, subcontractor accounting

 

JD Edwards World Financial Management

Oracle

Functions: AP, AR, FA, GL

Extras: Multicurrency support, purchase-card management, planning and budgeting

 

Lawson M3 Finance Suite

Lawson Software

Functions: AP, AR, FA, GL

Lawson offers applications tailored for manufacturing and service industries.

 

Mosaic21 Financial Accounting Software

Mosaic Data Solutions

Functions: AP, AR, GL, HR, PR

Extras: Automatic data conversion for selected third-party applications

 

NGS Concert Series Financial Software

New Generation Software (NGS)

Functions: AP, AR, GL, HR, PR

Extras: Multicurrency and not-for-profit organization support

 

Pacioli/400 Accounting Suite

Advanced Logic Solutions

Functions: AP, AR, GL

Extras: Support for up to 9,999 companies, check-writing and reconciliation, user-defined aging criteria for AR

 

Sage Accpac

Sage Software

Functions: AP, AR, FA, GL, HR, IC, PA, PR

Extras: Multicurrency support, transaction analysis, electronic funds transfer, returned-materials authorization, document management, marketing automation, manufacturing support

 

Simplicity/400

Diversified Computer Services

Functions: AP, AR, GL, IC, OM, PR

Extras: E-commerce, sales analysis

 

as/400, os/400, iseries, system i, i5/os, ibm i, power systems, 6.1, 7.1, V7,

 

John Ghrist

John Ghrist has been a journalist, programmer, and systems manager in the computer industry since 1982. He has covered the market for IBM i servers and their predecessor platforms for more than a quarter century and has attended more than 25 COMMON conferences. A former editor-in-chief with Defense Computing and a senior editor with SystemiNEWS, John has written and edited hundreds of articles and blogs for more than a dozen print and electronic publications. You can reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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