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NetLedger Sets Sights on Microsoft Great Plains

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Posted August 27, 2002 By Dan Muse     Feedback

Makers of the Oracle Small Business Suite target mid-size enterprises with an advanced accounting online application, which will be sold under the NetLedger brand.

Taking aim at the mid-size enterprise market currently controlled by Microsoft Great Plains, NetLedger Inc.today announced NetLedger Advanced Accounting.

The San Mateo, Calif.-based maker of the Oracle Small Business Suite will market its new online accounting services to business with multi-national locations and complex warehousing and inventory management needs.

Unlike its small business service, NetLedger Advanced Accounting will be accounting only and will be branded under the NetLedger (rather than Oracle) name, Stephen Wolfe, NetLedger's vice president of product management, told ASPnews.

The Oracle Small Business Suite is designed to be a turnkey business management service. "We've been working on the integrated suite for four years and continued to add more functions — CRM [customer relationship management], e-commerce, Web site building. This is standalone accounting." However, Wolfe said, Advance Accounting can also be licensed as an add-on to Oracle Small Business Suite.

NetLedger will also rely more heavily on its stable of Certified Consultants and its emerging value-added resellers (VAR) channel to reach midrange enterprise customers who need more customization and vertical expertise than its Oracle Small Business Suite users.

NetLegder's two-prong in-direct sales approach works like this, Wolfe said: Certified Consultants will recommend, configure and customize NetLedger services, but not necessarily sell the product. NetLedger Advanced Accounting VARs will, of course, resell the service and also integrate third-party applications. VARs will also provide a personal touch. "Customers want someone local," Wolfe said.

Four new or improved features will address enterprises' need to customize, Wolfe told ASPnews. Customers can change terminology. For example, Wolfe said, you can change "estimate" to "quote." The Oracle Small Business Suite allows customers to change terminology for customer-facing documents, but Advanced Accounting allows the change to be made on the inside as well. Customers can add custom fields and records. Certified Consultants and VARs can provide further customization through Javascript-based code.

Wolfe added that while consultants and VARs are needed to customize applications for some mid-size enterprises, the Web-native architecture of the software means that network and implementation issues won't require the attention that client-server-based accounting applications demand.

Netledger expects "a good percentage" of Advanced Accounting customers to come from the Oracle Small Business Suite user base of 5,200. However, the product will also open doors at new enterprise customers. "Midrange customers have certain features they need to have." To help attract those mid-size businesses, NetLedger Advanced Accounting includes the following features:

  • Multi-Currency Transactions and Reporting: The automated currency revaluation feature is designed to simplify the period-end close process by generating adjusting journal entries to reflect exchange rate fluctuations.
  • Multi-Location Inventory: Designed to give businesses the capability to categorize entities, items and transactions by location so that they can manage, track and report on inventory across multiple locations.
  • Advanced Shipping and Receiving: Breaks out the order fulfillment and receiving functions, which is intended to give greater control of order management and workflow. It includes capabilities for receiving to multiple inventory locations and UPS shipping integration.
  • Multi-Company Consolidations: The consolidation capabilities are now designed to allow financial results to be rolled up for complicated multi-level business entity hierarchies, with drill-down to the subsidiary company transactional data.
  • Assembly and Package Items: This new inventory feature is designed to allow items assembled from other inventory parts to be tracked separately from their components. Once created, Assembly and Package Items can be managed as a single inventory item.
  • Roles and Permissions Enhancements: Various levels of restriction can be applied to users based on their department, class, location and supervisory relationship with other users.
  • Accounting Period Management: Designed to give businesses the flexibility to assign transactions to an accounting period that may not match the actual transaction date. Businesses can close periods at any time, blocking users from recording transactions into periods that have already been reviewed. This feature also gives users the capability to close different accounting modules at different times. For example, businesses can close payroll, but leave accounts receivable open while finishing recording transactions.

NetLedger Advanced Accounting is scheduled to be available in early October. Pricing starts at $3600 per year, which includes one full-access account, free access for accountant and 10 employee accounts.

NetLedger is listed by ASPnews as a Top 20 Service Provider.

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