Accounting 2.0 at CloudAve
In an ongoing series of reviews and analysis pieces, CloudAve will be taking a deep look into accounting software for the new world.
See the other posts at this tag
Introduction & Background
accountsIQ is a product from Irish software house Visor. It is marketed as a full featured multi-currency business and accounting software solution.
The functionality of accountsIQ includes accounting, commercial, business intelligence and paperless office capability which is summarised in the following diagram (click on image for detail):
AccountsIQ is multiple entity friendly, providing a navgation view that allows for multiple discrete entities to be viewed by a user.
The three sets of functionality are as follows;
BookkeeperIQ – Entry level including sales and purchasing, document repository and a general ledger. 100Mb and two user limit.
ControllerIQ – as per bookkeeperIQ plus multiple currency and batch payments. 500Mb and four user limit.
EnterpriseIQ – as per controlerIQ plus business intelligence,inventory, overhead allocation and bulk emailing. Five user limit
The user experience
I have to admit that browser specific SaaS applications make my blood boil. Why create a product that is available anywhere and everywhere and then tell people which browser they have to use with it. So accountsIQ commits what I see as a cardinal sin and is only available for Internet Explorer (the folks at Visor however promised that a cross browser version would be available by the end of the 1st quarter of 2009).
The basic functionality
Looking past the lack of cross-browser support, AccountsIQ has a nice user dashboard that shows the user some key metrics across their business.
In operation accountsIQ seems very full featured – it feels like a complete business solution and accountsIQ are quick to point out the productivity gains to be made by using an application that has such integrated “paperless office” features as;
- All documents generated in accountsIQ can be emailed directly from the system.
- Users can make electronic payments and automatically reconcile bank accounts via Internet banking.
- Users can store encrypted electronic versions of all relevant business documents against the transactions or accounts to which they relate, for later retrieval.
Below is an image of the document archive with comments for easy searching;
The latter in particular is a useful feature that will help businesses consolidate the mountains of different documents that often form around particular businesses or projects.
As expected for a solution built on Microsoft solutions, all reports can be directly outputted in Word and Excel and well as pdf and web based formats.
accountsIQ is fully set up for multi-currency processing for all sales, purchases and bank transactions including automatic posting of exchange gains & losses.
The value adds
accountsIQ has possibly the best tools for migrating users of other accounting applications. Users can import data through their step-by-step Data Importer. This tool can handle data from all major accounting systems including Sage, QuickBooks, TAS Books, MYOB, etc.
The importer will achieve the following:
Importation of all masterfile account details (General, AP, AR, Stock)
Importation of transaction details as either Open Balances, Open Items or full transactional history
The ability to map imported transactions to new GL coding structure to facilitate accountsIQ’s enhanced reporting capability
The import windows are fairly simple and intuitive, below we see the window that greats users performing a customer less importation;
accountsIQ displays best of breed banking integration, including:
Collection and auto reconciliation of statements
Generation of electronic payment files
Generation of electronic direct debits requests
Linkage of bank lodgement back to individual receipts
Like other systems, AccountsIQ automatically matches bank entries i recognises and users can confirm and reconcile these transactions along with entering details of the non-recognised entries;
AccountsIQ realise that they don’t have the clout to build sales scale on their own (and they contend that in the world of the long tail – no one does). They’re therefore committed to giving back to their channel partners to gain market share. One way they do this is by offering their product as a white-label, rebrandable offering. In this way a chartered accountancy firm for example, can resell AccountsIQ but with their own branding on it – a win/win for all.
The security issue
accountsIQ has partnered with OpSource for its web operations. It has also achieved SAS70 certification and has a fairly lengthy page detailing their security and privacy arrangements. They also produce a very detailed PDF detailing all their privacy and security policies and procedures.
APIs – connecting the dots
AccountsIQ sent me examples of work done to date with API partners. This includes;
- links to a UK time & expense system called Tally Pro
- for customers to bespoke back office systems, e.g. an online order management solution
- integration to handheld devices for sales and stock management.
AccountsIQ is a very fully featured offering. It enters an unusual space – slightly above the other SaaS players in terms of functionality and cost, but more appropriate than the competition for businesses doing stock, inventory and manufacturing.