Sage Software: A Friendlier Face Balancing the Books

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, Accpac—then a subsidiary of Computer Associates—demanded 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 owner—Sage Software, whose U.K.-based parent company bought Accpac from CA in February 2004—says 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 customers—a 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.”

Accounting Software

Sage Software
6700 Koll Center Pkwy.
Pleasanton, ca 94566
(925) 461-2625

TICKER: Subsidiary of The Sage Group (London: SGE.L)
EMPLOYEES: 3,000 (N. America)

Ron Verni
Hired in 1996 to be president of accounting software vendor Peachtree Software, which Sage Group acquired in 1999.

Himanshu Palsule
Senior VP & GM, Accounting Solutions
Headed human-resources software for Best Software, which Sage Group bought in 2000.

Accounting software packages include Sage Accpac ERP (previously Accpac’s core product line), which has general ledger, purchase order, order entry, accounts payable, payroll, human-resources and inventory features; and MAS 90, MAS 200 and MAS 500 (previously from Best Software), which provide similar business management functions.

Reference Checks

North American Airlines
Sal Sacco
VP, Finance
(718) 656-2650
Project: Passenger charter airline based in New York uses Accpac for all back-office accounting functions, including accounts payable, general ledger and financial reporting.

Jason Epps
(713) 849-5882
Project: Houston-based manufacturer of drive-through-window enclosures uses Accpac version 5.3a for maintaining its general ledger and managing orders.

Carlson Hospitality Worldwide
Leo Boike
Sr. Business Analyst
[email protected]
Project: Hotel chain based in Minneapolis, whose brands include Radisson, uses a hosted version of Accpac’s software to handle accounting functions for about 30 properties in North America.

New York State Energy Research & Development Authority
Peter Mahar
Controller and Assistant Treasurer
[email protected]
Project: Research funding organization with annual budget of $260 million uses Accpac 5.3a for general ledger, accounts payable and receivable, and other functions.

Sunfresh Farms
Rowena Dixon
[email protected]
Project: Canadian fruit and produce distributor uses Accpac 5.1 for running its general ledger, accounts payable and receivable, and inventory management.

Source Technologies
Tim Baker
Dir., IS
(704) 969-7500
Project: Vendor of check-printing systems based in Charlotte, N.C., uses all of Accpac’s accounting modules, including those for purchasing and inventory.

Executives listed here are all users of Sage Software’s products. Their willingness to talk has been confirmed by Baseline.

Sage Software Operating Results*

Mid-market revenue$378.8MN.R.N.R.
Small business revenue$177.9MN.R.N.R.
Yearly revenue growth 7.2%14.6%2.0%
Operating profit$130.1M$112.2M$102.9M
Operating margin23.4%21.7%23.3%

* 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
contracts: 268K

Blackbaud, Intuit, Microsoft, MYOB,, 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