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Best Project Management/Accounting & Accounting Systems for a Software company

We are a software company canvasing the market for a new Project Management, Project Accounting, and Accounting System.  Any recommendations and experiences shared would be greatly appreciated. 

Our core business requirement needs are:

  • Project Management & Project Accounting
  • Accounting with a good Deferred Revenue model
  • Contract Renewals & Subscriptions
  • Hardware Inventory & Rentals
  • Ease of Integration with other systems (without it costing an arm & a leg)
  • Flexible (ie: Configurable before and after implementation)
  • Short implementation timeframe
  • User friendly
  • Multi-Currency & Entity

Thank you!

Answers

Topic Expert
Keith Perry
Title: Director of Global Accounting
Company: Agrinos, Inc.
(Director of Global Accounting, Agrinos, Inc.) |

I've been a fan of Intaact for awhile; they missed the cutoff for me a while back...but would make it now (there was a narrow need they didn't have at the time).

I have some peers (Jim Cook at Mozilla, for example) who've adopted them recently for the items you list above.

Lynne Taylor
Title: Principal
Company: Cloud Accounting Services for Enterprise..
(Principal, Cloud Accounting Services for Enterprises (CASE)) |

If you use Salesforce for CRM then Financialforce.com's PSA app built on the force.com platform is pretty robust and meets all your requirements listed. If your company is an SMB then you may want to consider the WorkflowMax/Xero.com apps. Xero also has a seamless integration with Unleashed, an inventory management app. All these solutions are cloud-based, flexible and affordable. WorkflowMax and Xero in particular. I'm a user, not a sales rep or biz dev person for any of these applications, so I have no agenda other than to give you good recommendations based on what I have found works for me and my clients across a range of industries and gross revenue levels.

Chuck Boecking
Title: Open Source ERP and Business Intelligenc..
Company: Chuck Boecking
(Open Source ERP and Business Intelligence, Chuck Boecking) |

If you are a Java house, you might find use with ADemipere. It is a general purpose open source ERP that ties project accounting all the way to the GL. We are an ERP integrator (software firm), and we use ADempiere to manage our support desk, development projects and customer reporting.

Because it is a full ERP, the evaluation curve is steeper; however, this is offset by the amount of traditional ERP features. These features include a enterprise accounting engine, inventory management, CRM, etc...

Here is your list with my comments:
Project Management - limited
Project Accounting - strong
Accounting with a good Deferred Revenue model - strong
Contract Renewals & Subscriptions - would need to extend to work acceptably
Hardware Inventory & Rentals - strong
Ease of Integration with other systems (without it costing an arm & a leg) - strong - it open source released under GPL V2. There are pluses and minuses associated with the web services implementation. I can explain outside of this post.
Flexible (ie: Configurable before and after implementation) - strong - uses Model Driven Architecture to define standard windows and processes.
Short implementation timeframe - weakness - requires about 6 months under normal conditions to ensure everyone knows the system and the systems performs as expected in all situations.
User friendly - OK - the user interface is not pretty; however, it is highly functional and easy to teach.
Multi-Currency & Entity - very strong. You will be pleased with it multi-org and multi-currency capabilities.

I have personally worked with the ADempiere code base for 9 years, and I believe I know it quite well.

I hope this helps!

Chuck Boecking | Trek Global
512.850.6068 (office and cell)
cboeckingattrekglobal [dot] com
www.trekglobal.com
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/chuck-boecking/10/970/17b

Lorne Tappa
Title: Controller
Company: New Resources Consulting, et al
(Controller, New Resources Consulting, et al) |

We are going through an evaluation process and our needs are very similar to yours. We are a software / technology company, also.

Most ERPs are pushing the SaaS pricing model, which is great for a company that does not necessarily have the IT ability to host and support the software on their own. If you feel that you do have the equipment and ability to manage an on-site application, you can realize some significant savings by finding a package with a perpetual license. If not, there are plenty of SaaS options.

I feel pretty confident in my decision to bring the list of options down to two. They are Dynamics SL and Acumatica. Interestingly, some of the Acumatica people came from SL. There are plenty of youtube videos on both of these packages to give you a view of their look and feel. Both are built on Microsoft technology.

Both SL and Acumatica offer perpetual licenses. In my opinion, SaaS is convenient, but the providers over price the cost to maintain the service for you. This is a very high margin piece for the software provider. If you don't have an adequate IT staff, SaaS is your only real option.

Intacct was mentioned, which is SaaS only. I really like their user interface and functionality, but since they are only SaaS, they moved out of our price range.

I would greatly appreciate any feedback people have, specifically on SL and Acumatica. I've posted in the past with no response. Please feel free to contact me directly.

Lorne
Ltappaatnrconsults [dot] com

Topic Expert
Bob Scarborough
Title: CEO
Company: Tensoft, Inc.
(CEO, Tensoft, Inc.) |

There are a few companies that focus in this area – including my company Tensoft. It may be worthwhile to review our website in relation to your requirements. Beyond this some general thoughts that may be helpful in your search:

PSA and Project Accounting have both been mentioned. In Software or Technology companies the typical preference is usually for PSA (professional services automation) over Project Accounting.
• Project accounting usually has a significant focus on cost build up and cost based analysis of projects. It is most commonly seen in construction, aerospace/defense, and custom project efforts. Professional Services Automation has much of the same front end functionality (time and expense, project tracking and billing) – but usually has less depth in cost reporting. The thing that PSA adds is resource management – team work management, resource allocation, project planning.
• Most technology companies are doing smaller repeatable project efforts with an emphasis on scheduling and billing – and do not find a payoff in more detailed cost accounting feature sets.

Your full set of requirements – contract administration, revenue recognition (probably multi-element arrangements requiring revenue allocation), field trial for equipment (software appliances?), or other hardware /software combinations, solid core accounting, and multi-national operations are a fairly standard business requirement set for an enterprise oriented software company. Most standard ERP offerings and providers won’t have the fully set of functionality for you out of the box. I believe you would find value in finding providers who have met these types of requirements before along with an ERP solution.

Bob Scarborough
www.tensoft.com

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