For more than two decades, Accpac’s accounting software has helped balance the books for thousands of small and midsize firms, as well as divisions or small offices within large corporations like BearingPoint.
“The software is very easy to use, and it’s extremely customizable,” says Jason Epps, president of Quikserv, a 39-employee company in Houston that makes drive-through-window enclosures for fast-food restaurants. Accpac is almost overkill for Epps: “It’s like a huge Swiss Army knife, and we just haven’t gotten to being able to use all the tools yet.” Quikserv, for example, doesn’t use the software’s inventory-tracking features.
But in years past, Accpac has sometimes struck customers as uncaring. “Over the years, Accpac got too big for their britches,” says Rowena Dixon, controller for Sunfresh Farms, a distributor of fresh fruits and vegetables in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Dixon says that in 2002, Accpacthen a subsidiary of Computer Associatesdemanded that Sunfresh pay to upgrade its whole system when all she wanted to do was add another user in the accounting group. “Their attitude was, ‘We’ve got it, you want it, so you have to pay for it,'” says Dixon, who has used Accpac’s accounting software since 1980, when it was a DOS-based program.
Meanwhile, Tim Baker, director of information systems at Source Technologies, a provider of check-printing systems, says in his experience Accpac seems to have catered more to its partners that deploy and support the software than the businesses actually running it. “They need to have more events for customers,” he says. “We see a lot of marketing. But it helps to have end-user events.”
Accpac’s new ownerSage Software, whose U.K.-based parent company bought Accpac from CA in February 2004says it’s actively responding to such customer feedback.
For example, in November 2005, Sage held its first-ever customer event, called Summit, attended by 3,000 people in San Diego. Also, last fall the company began offering technical support via phone to Accpac customersa service not provided when Accpac was part of CA, according to Himanshu Palsule, senior vice president of Sage Software’s accounting solutions group.
Palsule notes, however, that the company retains a partner-oriented model, and that customers’ primary contacts will be with one of its 8,000 resellers in North America. “For the local touch, we turn to the partners,” he says. “We’re not in the business of coming to your door and offering professional services.”
Sage Software Operating Results*
* Represents North America Operations of the Sage Group; Fiscal Year Ends Sept. 30; N.R. = Not Reported Customers**
Mid-market customers: 353,000
Mid-market support contracts: 149K
Small business customers: 2.1M
Small business support
Blackbaud, Intuit, Microsoft, MYOB, Salesforce.com, Oracle, SAP
** as of sept. 30, 2005; north america only
Sources: Company Reports; Currency Converted From British Pounds Based on Period-End Exchange Rates From Oanda.Com