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ERP with an accounting background

When small and medium-sized companies want accounting applications, AccPac is generally near the top of the list. But what about when the same company wants an enterprise resource planning solution? They don’t call AccPac, but one of many other companies. However, for the past three years, AccPac

has been building upon its accounting knowledge and client base to slowly roll out an ERP solution — the AccPac Advantage Series.

It was while the e-commerce bubble was growing exponentially that AccPac noticed many of these companies were trying to implement their solution, along with others, with little success when it came to complete integrations.

“”We saw the next step as really being mid-market ERP — for the mid-market, lower mid- and upper- SMB companies, but with a twist,”” said David Hood, AccPac International Inc. president and CEO. “”It couldn’t be the same ERP the SAPs deliver to the largest enterprises, it had to be a mid-market ERP proposition that accommodated the special needs of the SMB marketplace.””

In many respects, mid-market businesses have the very same needs as the largest enterprises, but they don’t have the same cash flow or resources.

“”We also realized one very important thing — all of these different applications have one thing in common — they don’t all integrate with one another necessarily, but they all integrate with the accounting software,”” said Hood.

When vendors venture into the SMB market they have to start from the ground up, even if they are well established in other market spaces, and this includes establishing a channel. AccPac’s channel and potentially large client-base were already there, thanks to its accounting implementations. However, actually getting the product to the client via the channel proved to be a tough sell.

“”It’s a major step for a channel partner,”” said Hood. “”We have 3,000 partners around the world [but] I’ve only got about 25 per cent up to speed on my mid-market ERP at this point.””

Which is not to say Hood isn’t pleased with the channel’s support, it’s just that, like any other vendor, he would be much happier if it were 100 per cent.

“”If it’s challenging for us, and it is, to get all of our partners rallied around these additional technologies . . . imagine the challenges for a company that doesn’t have an existing SMB channel,”” said Hood.

According to IDC Canada software analyst Warren Shiau, despite facing some huge hurdles, AccPac is on the right track. “”I don’t think their strategy has resulted in significant market share compared to the traditional ERP vendors or enterprise integrated application suite vendors.

“”However, I don’t think it’s their purpose to compete against those guys. The way they’ve gone about it [expanding into ERP] is probably the realistic way to go about it [because] AccPac has a very good channel reach,”” said Shiau.