Software Category Analysis – Financial and Accounting

Introduction

Something very interesting is happening in the space for stand-alone financial systems. And that is that even the largest buyers now have superior solutions available to them outside of ERP system financials. This is a fact, but is still little known among enterprise software buyers, most who still adhere to the incorrect notion that ERP systems offer the best financial and accounting functionality.

Quickbooks was the originator of the stand alone financial system, and has been fabulously successful, and has a very high client satisfaction level. Many people do not know that Quickbooks runs quite a few companies of surprising size that have essentially outgrown Quickbooks – because they started with the application before they began to grow, and never switched to a new financial/accounting system. However, other more heavy-duty stand-alone financial systems have risen to prominence. These application integrate very easy to supply chain and CRM systems, and have the potential to change the game in the ERP space.

A New Better Era For Financial and Accounting Applications

The applications profiled in this section have a level of user satisfaction, and a level of usability that ERP systems cannot match. Furthermore, the discrepancy is quite large and is widening because the stand along financial software vendors are innovators, while most ERP vendors are not. Secondly, some of these financial software vendors are quite new – which means they have exceeded the financial systems in ERP systems in a very short period of time. If the difference is already so great, our prediction is that it will only continue to grow.

Some of these new stand alone financial application are doing things that the financial systems in ERP suites never thought to do, and are allowing the buyers that use them to actually be better managed. For instance, the statistics on everything from how quickly money is collected, to revenue recognition to how sales is tracked is better in these applications than in ERP systems. The major consulting companies have been giving the advice to their clients that implementing an ERP system are the best route to better financial performance. However, the research into ERP system implementations over a period of three decades has proven this to be untrue. The question for the present and which will only increase in the future, is how much do companies intend to accept their performance to be reduced by continuing to use ERP based financial system?

Another major benefit of this category of applications is that none of the major consulting companies have consulting divisions that focus on implementing them. These companies do not get their sales leads from major consulting companies – which means the cost of implementation is far lower and the likelihood of project success is substantially higher than if a major consulting company is involved in the implementation. This is shown in our TCO estimation when one compares stand along financial applications to ERP applications.

Strong Innovation

Financial Force and Intacct are software vendors to keep one’s eye on. In addition to its leading financial application, Financial Force has introduced a very nice application, which is essentially a complete solution for consulting management called Professional Services Automation.

Professional Service AutomationThis application leverages Financial Force’s financial functionality by planning items like bill-ability, consulting revenues – in fact all the requirements to manage a consulting entity in one application.

Software Category Summary

The stand-alone financial application category has at least three excellent choices for small, medium and large buyers. While there is no research on the financial returns of these applications, they are so superior to what is currently used, that is ERP financial modules, that the likelihood of a strong ROI is properly implemented is quite high. The news on these applications is slow to get out, because buyers will not hear about them from their consulting company. However, once a detailed comparison is performed for what they can do, they become easy decisions.

MUFI Rating & Risk

See the MUFI Ratings & Risk below for each application in the Finance & Accounting software category.

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