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New brand emerges for Cedar Open Accounts

17th Mar 2005
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The ever-evolving accounting software house Cedar is going through yet another name change to reflect its integration with OpenAccounts.

From 1 April, the organisation will become known as Cedar Open Accounts, but senior executives have already started using the new brand in public. Managing director Mark Thompson said last week that he was using the name - even though he was not sure whether there were spaces in it or not. That decision has yet to be made by the company's design consultants.

AccountingWEB caught up with former OpenAccounts managing director David Cook at the recent Softworld event. After playing an active role in integrating the Daventry-based developer within the expanded group, he will become sales and marketing director for Cedar Open Accounts.

The move to join Cedar has paid off for OpenAccounts, Cook said, because it gave the company the scale to take on larger, corporate clients. According to independent analysts, he claimed, Cedar Open Accounts was now the UK's third largest financial software house by licence sales.

"We landed our biggest deal ever with National Express. They liked our product, but I'm not sure how confident they would have felt if we were a £10m private company," he said.

The expanded group has three product lines: eFinancials (the former Cedar range) is an Oracle-based ERP solution with a particularly strong base in the local authority and healthcare markets; OpenAccounts, a commercial financials application with innovative "extended finance" capabilities; and e5, the high end product picked up when QSP went into administration.

Cedar Open Accounts remains committed to all three products, Cook said. The corporate integration had been "reasonably painless" because the developers served different markets. There had been no redundances and the Open Accounts development team was now working to bring extended finance to public sector eFinancials users.

The optimistic noises emerging from Cedar Open Accounts is a remarkable turnaround for the rag-tag collection of software houses assembled by venture capital group Alchemy Partners. Led by accountant John Moulton, Alchemy has made a succession of deals to build up the group to its current position (see below). According to Thompson, the group's appetite for expansion has not dimmed.

"We'll make some more acquisitions this year," he promised.

Cedar Open Accounts chronology
January 2002 - Alchemy mounts £4m rescue bid for ailing Cedar Group
November 2002 - Alchemy swoops for Elevon in £10m deal. Elevon was formerly known as Walker International, but changed name after UK buyout and subsequent acquisition of QSP's assets in November 2001. Group renamed Arelon
February 2003 - Arelon and Cedar merged into Cedar Group
June 2004 - CedAr acquires OpenAccounts

For more background on the OpenAccounts range, visit the developer's Corporate Partner page on AccountingWEB.

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