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Software Satisfaction Awards shortlist unveiled

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16th Jul 2009
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Relative newcomers Arithmo, Liquid and Diamond Discovery feature alongside established names such as Pegasus, Access and IRIS in the accounting & finance shortlists for this year’s Software Satisfaction Awards. John Stokdyk reports.

Now in its fourth year, the Software Satisfaction Awards scheme is based on an online questionnaire. This summer more than 8,100 people took part from AccountingWEB.co.uk and sister communities such as BusinessZone.co.uk, Finance Week and TrainingZone.co.uk

The full shortlist and further details of the ceremony taking place in London on 8 October is available from the Software Satisfaction Awards website. On the night, the winners will be announced in 17 product categories covering accounting & finance, CRM/customer management and training/HR applications, business intelligence and software resellers. Three further awards including a new 'supplier of the year' prize will be chosen by a judging panel.

In the accounting & finance categories, the new wave of software as a service suppliers has once again made a strong showing, with Arithmo, KashFlow and Liquid Evolution contesting the small business accounting category with the sole desktop representative, Diamond Discovery.

NetSuite, a winner in two of last year’s CRM categories, has gained a place on the 2009 enterprise accounting shortlist, where it will be up against two-time winner PS Financials, COA Solutions and Integra Enterprise.

The mid-range accounting category pits Access Dimensions, another two-time winner, against its long-standing rival Pegasus Opera II as well as two less well known applications, HansaWorld and Mardak Construction Accounts.

In practice management, APS Advance and Relate’s DRIVE were shortlisted alongside IRIS Practice Management. IRIS has two representatives in the tax category, Drummohr Tax Assistant and PTP Tax Return, which will fight for the prize with Digita and TaxCalc 2009 Pro.

Aside from COA Solutions, Infor-owned Pegasus and the IRIS representatives, none of the industry’s big conglomerations made it on to the accounting & finance shortlists. Sage features in the HR and CRM shortlists, but Microsoft, Oracle and SAP are absent.

Besides who’s going to win, the question that will be on users’ minds is whether this state of affairs is down to organisational oversight, the nature of the online questionnaire process - or perhaps a sign of user apathy in the world of traditional, on-premise ERP software.

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By User deleted
23rd Jul 2009 12:48

How to get shortlisted
Account managers at these companies know which users will give them the votes they are looking for. All you need to do is ring round those clients in the course of every day client managment activities and prompt them to vote, plus add a few yourself for good measure. Judging by the number of people that voted you obviously don't need to make that many calls before..... Hey presto! Shortlist.

Sorry, I'm just a cynic!!

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By rosataylor
23rd Jul 2009 17:01

software satisfaction
I noticed that the shortlist are mainly big companies like IRIS, Pegasus and other big names.
I am sure this is only marketing as I know IRIS is not good at all and not friendly.
I have used Pegasus in the past, when I used to work in industry. As an accountant in practise,
the best accounting software is VT. VT is excellent to use in incomplete records and small
company bookkeeping. Taxcalc is very good and also moneysoft. We dont charge large fees to our
client and therefore we want the most efficient software and will save time.

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Tom McClelland
By TomMcClelland
30th Jul 2009 11:34

Not all on-premise users are apathetic
Not being one to miss an opportunity to blow 12Pay's trumpet.

I think that you'll find that any voter apathy in the world of traditional on-premise software stems from ignorance rather than the lack of a desire to make their voice heard.

Most suppliers, as another comment identified, don't publicise a vote like this to their general user base. They ring up 20-30 of their favourite tame customers and get them to vote. In general that is going to be the way to "manage" a good score. The rest of their users never even find out that the opportunity to rate their software was there.

We preferred to use this vote as an opportunity to find out what the mass of our users think of us. So we mass mailed them all inviting them to participate. And I suspect that will show up rather strongly in the results with a ludicrously high percentage of the overall payroll systems vote going to 12Pay who are a very small minnow in that big pond. Because we abandoned all control over who voted for us we probably won't win, but at least potential users will derive an honest appraisal of the views of our userbase from our score.

In my opinion the value of the whole exercise would be greatly improved if all suppliers could be somehow incentivised to get their userbase to participate. One way, I suppose, would be to reveal the actual numbers voting in each category, as well as the percentage. I suspect that in some categories the numbers voting must be pretty tiny.

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By abelljms
03rd Aug 2009 17:05

VT VT
Yep you are sooooo right.
I have introduced many to VT, and always they say "it's fantabulous, amazing, improved my life, why did i put up with xxxzzz all these years?" etc.......

if only i had shares in them!

i agree the BIG BOYS just use their databases to solicit votes.
Why can't an independent panel of experts (chaired by me) do the judging?

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By abelljms
03rd Aug 2009 17:13

software assessing
what about some price comparisons?

e..g Arithmo for a practice of 100 clients = £4100 pa. Sage £loads c. £2,000?, but probably less, Qbooks ditto. we need a good comparison site listing all the ins/outs!

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By User deleted
03rd Aug 2009 17:32

How to get shortlisted
The only credible way to assess user satisfaction (amongst accountants at least) would be to approach the ICAEW, ACCA, CIMA and others and independently canvass their members without any of the software houses having any input at all.

Too expensive though.

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