NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Peachtree, an accounting package designed specifically for small business, is moving from a simple bookkeeping system to one that would provide business analysis, but Canadian users probably won’t be seeing it anytime soon.
Sage Software, which acquired Peachtree back in 1999 and is now part of the company’s small business accounting solutions division, is calling the release of Peachtree by Sage 2007 – Quantum Edition, its most significant release in its 30 year history.
Connie Certusi, general manager, small business accounting solutions for Sage, said this release is the largest ever delivered and goes to a unique target market: “The small business owner who is passionate about their business, but is also serious about control and the accuracy of its accounting solution,” she said.
The Quantum edition will now support up to 10 named users, and will include free support, upgrades and updates in an automatic annual renewal plan. In the past, the package only supported five users and was unable to bridge current customers who grew its business beyond five employees.
Dan DeRosa, vice-president of product management for Sage, said Peachtree Quantum tries to incorporate past, present and future components.
“We wanted to stay true to small business accounting, while focusing on innovation to those who use their data strategically.”
Sage is also trying to attract new customers, DeRosa said, but does not expect them to be in Canada. Sage has purposely not marketed Peachtree in Canada because they did not want to cannibalize Simply Accounting by Sage, which has been in the Canadian market for more than 20 years.
DeRosa added that while Peachtree would not compete with Simply Accounting, he did say that the Simply Accounting user base can be helped by Peachtree Quantum edition. The company is working with Sage Canada in this regard, he said, but did not provide details.
Alan Salmon, the CEO of the newly formed K2 Enterprises Canada, said there is no significant market presence in Canada for Peachtree. “I don’t expect it to be big. Sage would not want to eat their own. Peachtree will not be in Canada. They stopped marketing Simply Accounting in the U.S. because of this. They still support it and there are Simply Accounting U.S. editions, but you will not find it at Staples in the U.S. anymore,” said Salmon, whose company is a professional education and consultancy firm.
Simply Accounting has approximately 55 per cent of the Canadian market, while the rest is Intuit QuickBooks.
Early reseller and customer reaction
Peachtree by Sage 2007 will have a business status centre, which enables customers to receive a single integrated view of its business with the most spending customers and current due bills, DeRosa said.
Other enhancements are easy access to lists, changing user IDs, and advanced budgeting with Excel like capabilities.
Chris Ashby, COO of Toledo, Ohio-based solution provider ProActive Solutions Ltd., said he represents many product lines and whenever vendors make significant updates they always disassociate older customers. This has not occurred with the Peachtree release. “They still can see the old drop down menus so it does not alienate them,” Ashby said.
He added that the integration with Excel-like functionality is the best enhancement to the product. The advanced budgeting feature enabled ProActive to make more margins by offering its customers budgeting training courses on why and how to do budgets.
ProActive makes about 40 per cent margins off the Peachtree software for new installations.
“For businesses who would have outgrown (Peachtree) with five users, by moving to a 10-user edition they helped customers who have out-grown the product and did not have a solution that could go up,” Ashby said.
Brian Weinberg, a mortgage consultant for Castle Mortgage Corp. of Bloomfield, Conn., was one of those customers who have out-grown the original Peachtree package.
Castle helps its clients figure out the best mortgage for them at a lower cost from what the bank offers, said Weinberg. “We did not have a way from moving from point A to point C,” he said. The eight-employee company did not want to move up to the more expensive MAS 90 product and the $3,700 Peachtree Quantum was easy to set up and saved him time so that he could concentrate on his clients instead of IT, Weinberg added.
Castle also uses it for payroll and generating quarterly statements into PDFs. The package comes with state tax forms, for example.
“I’ve been able to track banks and cross reference customers with it. This allows me to change the IDs,” he said.