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Technology Focus: Bookkeeping Software for Any Budget

Enterprise Resource Planning / Financial
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Tracking enterprise funds has never been easier with the wide range of features available in today's accounting software for Power Systems.

 

It used to be that accounting software simply had to keep track of the money coming in and the money going out. But things just aren't that simple and clear-cut anymore. Today's enterprises rely on accurate financial figures not only for past and present, but also for the future to help make strategic decisions. Such tasks as creating forecasts, building inventory assemblies, pinpointing job costs, and evaluating business performance trends have become as important in some contexts as any other accounting functions.

 

A survey of general-purpose accounting software applications for Power Systems shows that you can get as many or as few bells and whistles as you like for keeping the books. It's mostly a matter of how much you're willing to pay. And that means you'd be wise to make an accurate analysis beforehand of what functions your business needs in an accounting system so you can tailor your software purchase to how you do business.

 

It's important to note that, although many business-intelligence, report-generation, enterprise resource-planning, and financial-planning applications touch on accounting functions and are often used to make financial decisions for enterprises, we're excluding those types of applications here. Those kinds of products need to be covered in a context that goes beyond the basic number-crunching features of accounting software. 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. And obviously, we also don't include here Windows-based accounting software that runs on Power Systems clients because that universe of products is beyond the scope of this overview.

 

When selecting an accounting software package, there are a few points to keep in mind. Obviously, you want software that is capable of handling the type of business transactions your enterprise routinely requires. But no off-the-shelf product is going to be perfect for your needs, so be sure to find out how customizable the product may be and whether customization work can be done by your programmers or must be done by the providers' staff. Is the product scalable should your business grow over the years you plan to use the software? How easy is the product to use by your accounting and executive staff with their present level of technical expertise? Can you get a demo version of the software to check this and other product attributes out? And of course, there is always the standard question one must ask when buying any third-party software: What is the quality of customer support the vendor can provide? By way of researching this, are there some satisfied customer companies from which you can get some recommendations or other feedback on their product experience?

 

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.

The Bottom Line on Calculating the Bottom Line

For purposes of this article, we've included products that provide basic accounting functions. We don't include here applications that have a limited focus on only one or a few aspects of accounting (e.g., fixed assets, spreadsheet generation, document management, payroll, check printing).

 

All accounting software products surveyed below 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 features claimed in vendor Web site information are summarized here. For the most complete picture of the capabilities of each product, you should consult the links provided for each product and contact the associated vendors for additional information about what each product's extended capabilities include.

 

For your convenience, we've divided the software into two lists, one for systems running the IBM i OS, and the other for Power Systems running AIX.

 

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

IBM i Accounting Applications

 

ACOM Solutions

EZPayManager/400 Payment Management

Functions: CP, PR

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

 

Advanced Logic Solutions

Pacioli/400 Accounting Suite

Functions: AP, AR, GL

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

 

American Software

American Software Enterprise

Functions: AP, AR, GL

Extras: Interfaces to business intelligence, logistics, planning, manufacturing, supply chain, and e-commerce suite members

 

Butler Commerce Solutions

Freedom Series/ec21

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.)

 

Chouinard & Myhre

CMI General Accounting System

Functions: AP, AR, GL, PR

Extras: Multiple-company accounting, statistical tracking

 

DAPREX

DAPREX Application Suite

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.)

 

Diversified Computer Services

Simplicity/400

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

Extras: E-commerce, sales analysis

 

Gamma Software

GammaSoft Executive Series

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

Extras: Customer relationship management, maintenance scheduling, forestry and refuse industry options, bank reconciliation

 

Global Software

Global Financial Applications

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

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

 

HarrisData

HarrisData Financial Management Systems

Functions: AP, AR, FA, GL

Extras: Multicurrency support

 

Infor

Infor Financial Management System (FMS)

Functions: AP, AR, FA, GL, IC

 

Information Consultants

Financial Portrait Software System

Functions: AP, AR, GL

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

 

Kobelt Development Inc. (KDI)

Core Information System (CIS)

CIS-LAMP

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.)

 

Lawson Software

Lawson M3 Finance Suite

Functions: AP, AR, FA, GL

Lawson offers applications tailored for manufacturing and service industries.

 

Mosaic Data Solutions

Mosaic21 Financial Accounting Software

Functions: AP, AR, GL, HR, PR

Extras: Automatic data conversion for selected third-party applications

 

New Generation Software (NGS)

NGS Concert Series Financial Software

Functions: AP, AR, GL, HR, PR

Extras: Multicurrency and not-for-profit organization support

 

Oracle

JD Edwards World Financial Management

Functions: AP, AR, FA, GL

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

 

Professional Support Group Pty. Ltd.

Integra

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

Extras: Job and project costing, estimating, subcontractor accounting

 

Sage Software

Sage ERP Accpac

Sage ERP Accpac Online

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

(Sage ERP Accpac Online is a Web-based version of Sage ERP Accpac.)

 

UNIT4

CODA Financial Management

Functions: AP, AR, GL, FA, PA

Extras: AIX support, point-of-sale (POS) transactions, process and control automation, budgeting and forecasting, cash management, and customer relationship management

 

Xperia

COMPREHENSIV

Functions: AP, AR, GL, HR, PR

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

AIX Accounting Applications

Addon Software

AddonSoftware General Accounting System

Functions: AP, AR, GL

Extras: Distribution and manufacturing add-on modules available

 

Advanced Computing Software

Smart Business Suite

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

Extras: Order-to-cash, procure-to-pay; member of larger suite handling e-financials, BI, document management

 

Innov8 Computer Solutions

StepUp Accounting

Functions: AP, AR, GL

Extras: Multi-company, multi-currency, VAT-enabled, auditing tools

 

ONLINE Computing

MasterTools

Functions: AP, AR, FA, GL, HR

Extras: Cash management, time and attendance, sales tax database

 

Passport Software

Passport Business Solutions Financial Modules

Functions: AP, AR, GL, PR

Extras: Payroll direct deposit, check reconciliation, professional time and billing

as/400, os/400, iseries, system i, i5/os, ibm i, power systems, 6.1, 7.1, V7, V6R1 

 

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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