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Iris vs Greentree vs Access vs Sage X3

Iris vs Greentree vs Access vs Sage X3

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We are an SME (c.100 staff, £10m tunover, multi site, JV), looking to upgrade our accounting system. We have reviewed a series of applications and have a shortlist including Sage X3, Iris Exchequer, Access Dimensions and Greentree. Does anyone have any (balanced and honest) views of these applications having either been through a selection process or as a previous/current user of the systems. Thanks in advance for any input.


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By paul.k2
31st Jul 2013 11:05

A big question

Thats a big question and without some context its difficult to make any comment.

Its quite an interesting mix.

Paul Kelly

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31st Jul 2013 21:35

A broad spread
I have been through the implementation process a number of times now for mid-tier ERP systems and most recently for an engineering company in the south west of England. Like you we went through a rigorous selection process which involved more than 12 vendors including the system you mention above, before making our final selection of Access Dimensions.

Having reviewed many products including some from the Microsoft stable we very quickly came to the conclusion that whilst many would serve 80-85% of our current requirements, we were looking for a partner who could provide the other functionality we could grow into over the coming 18-24 months including business intelligence and external expense and procurement solution which could assist our external staff made up of more than 50 project managers and engineers.

Whilst all the above had some form of solution for these areas some where more rounded and functional than others. The Sage brand certainly scored points for some within our selection team but having implemented Sage systems in the past I was aware that the X3 product whilst powerful was not developed by Sage and the time if our selection was not really proven in the UK (France was its origins I believe?)

IRIS Exchequer seemed quite functional in many areas but fell a little short in our selection as the BI and web based support for our PM's and the batch daybook post option meant that our project costs would not be live.

Again the Greentree system seemed very functional and very competivley priced but our concerns sat around the relativly low number of sites and it appeared its never really cracked the UK market, for some I don't suppose this is a problem but for us the partners longevity and commitment played an important part.

Our final shortlist came to Microsoft Navision and Access Dimensions and it was a very difficult decision to make but our section team decided upon Access as they seemed to have the right products to meet our short and long term goals all of which was their own developed software and after meeting their CEO Chris Bayne we felt that dealing with a supplier who was forward thinking and making a very large commitment to product development in what is would be a direct relationship with the author over a reseller model with the Microsoft product. Whilst this might not seem like a big thing to many I certainly didn't have any offers of a visit from Bill Gates!

Having now gone through the implementation the only advice I would give in terms of Access is to ensure you quickly identify the method of report delivery you or your users prefer as they have a number of reporting options all of which serve similar reports but with a different level of ease in which they can be amended, identifying this with you users early on can ensure you control the costs around report writing and deliver consistency around the interface the users will work within.

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01st Aug 2013 10:42

Really good response

Richard R64 has provided a really good response and one of the best I have ever read in one of these 'which software' discussions. As a consultant that helps companies with search and selection and having previously worked with/for many of them, I have to say that Richards comments are all valid.

I would however, also echo the comments made by Paul.K2 in that a little more detail would be useful.

If you are needing pure core financials I would definitely include XLedger and Aqilla in your deliberations. Also so you have some true cloud options. All of the names you mention are investing in or developing Cloud solutions and so you should be wary of investing in their traditional on-premise solutions, without some visibility over the longevity of the system or what might replace it and when.

Again, subject to what the business is, SAP Business One should get a mention in this sphere especially if you have any production or distribution processes or significant BI needs.

We advise clients to document their needs, carry out an initial qualification on paper and only then, when you have established a match, enter into demonstrations. Otherwise you are not comparing apples with apples and risk sitting through 'their presentations' which whilst they highlight the global features, do not necessarily focus on your needs.

Great the system can send you a text message when your stock falls below x points, but truthfully who uses that in the end? Therefore be strict on who you look at and what you ask to see from them. Where necessary give the partner a list of things you wish to see in a demo and allow them 15 mins at the end to show you the bells and whistles.

I cannot endorse enough Richards comments about choosing the right partner either. Once you have your solution, speak to a couple of partners and get their views on how they would implement the system in your business.

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01st Aug 2013 11:40

Thanks for the responses

Richard - thanks for the comments - really appreciate the insight. We are coming off a very low base (currently using an application called Landmark). I think where we are is very much in line with Bens comments in that there are some core components of all of the systems mentioned which will provide a huge leap forward in our processes, but we have been careful not to focus to any great extent on the "bells and whistles" that many of the pre-sales chaps seem to delighht in demonstrating.


As far as detail is concerned, we are looking to implement a system that does the basics well (in terms of big steps forward for example, we currently have no purchasing application so everything is paper based..), provides an excellent two-way integration process with Excel, has a web based timesheet and expenses module to support up to 100 employees, provides clear project management processes and has the capability to connect to a couple of operational data sources.


We have already invested in Qlikview, which is working well, so we have no interest/requirement for BI/dashboards etc, although most of our management reporting will be retained in Excel (hence the criticality of two-way Excekl integration).

Over and above alll of this, we are looking at a budget of £100k all in, and our initial quotes have ranged from £40k to £150 (we knocked out SAP and Dynamics due to a combination of price and a degree of arrogance)

Any further views/comments/thoughts always appreciated.



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01st Aug 2013 15:29

Why would not you consider

Why would not you consider Cloud based ERP, such Net Suite, which is the fastest growing company? The future belongs to the cloud world. These vendors use the latest platforms and servers technology. I will put Sage at the bottom of my list. It is 80's system and never understood why people still buy Sage.

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03rd Aug 2013 13:07


You mention integration with Excel both ways.  This is available in Exchequer and works really well.  I fell in love with Exchequer in 1998 and have been using it continuously since.  I use the Excel OLE linking extensively and have even successfully set up a spread sheet to produce our accounts in statutory format.  The reason why Exchequer lends itself to OLE linking is the data structure within the accounting package.  It stores most of the numbers required as processing proceeds.  Unlike the report generator it uses stored information thus avoiding long winded reporting delays.  The OLE linking is live making it an invaluable reporting tool.  Conversely feeding back into the accounts package is simple and very useful. I produce monthly management accounts with very detailed information for management and on August 1st we had a very good idea of our performance in July.  There are too many plus points to mention here.  Save to say that prior to using Exchequer I was using Sage Sovereign which was hard work. I agree with the sentiment about "bells and whistles".  My criteria is that I must be able to try the software out for myself.  The thought of obtaining my software on the basis of a salesman's "puff" fills me with horror.  One final thought, if you are going to consider the "Cloud" make sure you know where your data is!

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04th Aug 2013 11:02

if you are going to consider the "Cloud" make sure you know where your data is! Could only be in the "Cloud"

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04th Aug 2013 23:33

The Cloud
Just my point. If it's in the Cloud it could be anywhere and you have no idea where it is. Not the place for important data. Use a data centre with a known location. We've one at!

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07th Aug 2013 10:05

Mike, How is your (Data centre) is different to other clouds? If you got down the route of cloud, the data are not on your premises or server. One of the main reasons for companies not to endorse cloud is the "Security" issue with data. If my data are off my site, it is outside my control, be it in my next door, or thousands miles away.

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07th Aug 2013 10:39

Cloud issue

With most cloud offerings you have no idea where your data is and this is a serious consideration.  We offer cloud facilities in a data centre which can be identified.  We invite clients to come and see our data centre for themselves. In this way the cloud clears and everything is visible!  Keeping your data off site this way does take away an element of control but it passes the responsibilities onto the data centre management who have to ensure 24/7 reliability.  Data centre facilities have to be first class from all aspects which is not something that can be achieved locally without a great deal of expense.

Getting back to your original dilemma.  In a multi-site environment you will have to have a central base whether this is in your own premises or in a data centre of your choosing or by buying accounting software as a service located in a cloud somewhere.  From an accounting and reporting point of view you should get a demo version of Exchequer and give it a good workout. 

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07th Aug 2013 10:42

oooh no not the Cloud how scary

Come on mike120636 lets not start scaremongering about the Cloud again.

The Cloud is now an established method of deploying systems and the safeguards provided by the leading names are robust.

If your fear of the Cloud is as a result of a lack of true knowledge or experience of the Cloud then may I suggest you do some research or simply look at how you already use the Cloud in your personal life. Do you bank online, Shop Online, Email or browse the Internet

Then you are already using 'The Cloud' and storing data in the Cloud. If you are happy to use it in your personal life, then why not in your business life?


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By hmowat
12th Aug 2013 10:56

Greentree Software is a well established vendor in the UK. Our longest standing partner has been selling Greentree across the UK for 10 years and we have a further 9 partners who have built strong businesses through selling and implementing our software. Our win rate is very strong, particularly due to the fact that our whole product suite has been built in-house – so there is no need for 3rd party add-ons . We even have a fully HMRC certified Payroll module of our own.

We work closely with our partners and as such, I would be happy to discuss the merits of choosing Greentree with you at any time. Harry Mowat, Managing Director [email protected]


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