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Sage releases Simply Accounting 2009

Updated line of software aimed at improving usability for new small business owners

Richmond, B.C.-Based Sage Software Ltd. today unveiled the latest edition of accounting software, Simply Accounting 2009, which will be available through resellers and in retail stores mid-November.

Simply Accounting 2009, an entry level accounting solution for small businesses requiring quick setup, ease of use and payroll functionality, is intended for small business owners with 100 employees or less.

The theme of ’09 is simplicity, said Alistair Ellis, product manager of Simply Accounting. The improved features are the result of feedback from customers and partner accountants.

An important detail of the new release is that the software’s names have changed. The group now includes: First Step (formerly Entrepreneur), Pro (formerly Simply Accounting), Premium and Enterprise.

New entrepreneurs will benefit from the software’s start-up ease, Ellis said.

“The biggest changes are the learning center improvements – bringing self, help, more training and tutorials to small business owners,” he said.

The Pro edition and above have a learning centre with tutorials available for viewing in an enhanced learning centre, customizable RSS feeds, a frequently asked questions box, and links to the latest information from the online community on the help page.

Getting started is also improved, which helps new users enter a new listing and add information about vendors, employees or inventory in an Excel format instead of ledger by ledger, Ellis said.

The First Step software is aimed at start-ups and home-based businesses with few employees that are transitioning from the spreadsheet. The best addition is the ability to e-mail Simply forms in PDF, Ellis said.

Pro and Premium with Payroll have enhanced payroll features including improved remittances and the ability to e-mail direct deposit slips. The bilingual software also has an added benefit to improve usability for new and existing with employees in Quebec, adding an additional box to account for the QC tax.

Wage payments have also been made more user-friendly by reversing the order of Employment Insurance and Canadian Pension Plan to match the original forms in order to avoid transposing the numbers, which was a major cause of errors in previous additions.

Improving productivity and security was also a major demand from customers, Ellis said. A major feature in 2009 allows clients to process credit cards from inside Simply Accounting.

“Clients can now take credit card information over the phone; they no longer need to have the physical card in front of them.”

The program provides an authorization code within the program and for increased security, credit card information is not stored on the software – it’s stored by Safe Payments Solutions offsite.

An addition recommended by the accounting community was to hide corrections on project reports when printing, Ellis said. The report design has also allowed users to insert columns and resize columns efficiently by clicking for automatic resizing.

Enterprise software also improves security for multiple users. Enterprise is available in five and 10 user editions, with role-based security settings for each, allowing owners to hide banking or customer details, Ellis said.

The new line of software is aimed at new business owners or existing entrepreneurs who don’t have any solution at all, Ellis said.

The company already has 400,000 users within Canada and five million worldwide, and expects resellers to have huge demand for the 2009 edition.

“We’ll definitely continue to see a large demand for the product,” Ellis said, “Especially since it’s geared toward small businesses. Most companies go out of business within the first few years and thousands start up each year. There is definitely a lot of new business coming this year.”