TechnologyAccounting SoftwareSoftworld in Accounting & Finance

Softworld in Accounting & Finance

This year's Softworld in Accounting & Finance show is set to see a record attendance from the major software houses. Guy Matthews previews some of the companies commanding top billing at Birmingham's NEC.

With over 80 software companies pledged to exhibit, this year’s Softworld in Accounting & Finance – at Birmingham’s NEC from 6 to 7 October – will be the largest specialist show ever staged in the UK.

One of the themes of the show will be a new generation of accounting software. It’s designed to provide more than just the basic functions normally expected of traditional accounts products, namely a move towards the functionality today’s organisations expect from full-blown enterprise resource planning (ERP) suites. Several vendors, as well as typical ERP developers, are showcasing such products for the first time.

To heighten interest among potential delegates, Softworld is again laying on “Masterclasses”, a selection of forums designed to provide independent advice on selecting, implementing and reviewing accounting systems. In addition to straight accounting, other topical issues such as EMU, electronic commerce and system integration, will be addressed in these sessions.

Softworld has assembled a panel of independent speakers to present the Masterclasses. These include Dennis Keeling, an authority on business and accounting software, and acknowledged as a leading expert in international business systems. Attending from PricewaterhouseCoopers is John Whitfield, a popular speaker at Masterclasses for over six years, and other PWC senior partners who are involved in advising on the accounting and finance system lifecycle.

A Masterclasser representing the management consultancy profession will be Roy Colfer, a principal consultant at KPMG Management Consulting.

He is a founding member of the KPMG EMU unit and advises companies on preparing for monetary union and the single market. His presentation will provide the latest information on the impact of the Euro on businesses in the UK and in Europe. It will incorporate the latest thinking from leading organisations and outline the major impacts EMU will have on businesses, both strategically and operationally. Colfer will provide advice on how to structure a company’s impact assessment and the implementation phases of such projects.

The following selection of exhibiting companies gives some idea of the more important announcements and new releases that delegates can expect.

Further details on the show can be obtained from Softworld on 0181 541 5040.

Cedar Group

Cedar Group will be showing its existing flagship product, Cfacs, a financial management and procurement system comprising a set of integrated application modules. Cfacs, claims Cedar Group, is designed to co-ordinate a user’s business processes while offering a corporate solution to the requirements of financial management, control, monitoring and planning.

For those already familiar with Cfacs, there will also be a first chance to evaluate COI-BusinessFlow, a system for organised document and workflow management. The new product includes features that allow transparent classification of documents and processes, the minimising of information and retrieval activities, the reduction of redundant data entry and errors, the control of deadlines and submission dates, substantial reduction of paper and materials costs, the reduction of archival overheads, an increase in productivity by reduction of transport and wait times and the integration of former isolated application systems.

Cedar Group: 01932 584000


Comshare is to use the event to announce “startling” results from an independent survey on the financial applications market conducted on its behalf by Benchmark Research. The survey reveals an alarmingly low awareness of new market terminology among those who specify and purchase financial application systems.

“A key objective of the survey was to determine the awareness and understanding of new market terminology,” says Nigel Youell, UK marketing director with Comshare. “Only 6 per cent of participants clearly understand the term ‘analytic application’, which is startling considering analysts predict this market will grow to $2.6bn by 2001,” he says.

“In addition, 76 per cent said there were no key players which points to a very fragmented financial applications market where organisations still predominantly use spreadsheets and applications developed in-house.”

To help address these awareness problems, Comshare is inviting Softworld visitors to collect a white paper on the survey results from Comshare’s stand. Consultants will be on hand to discuss the results and full-scale demonstrations of Comshare’s analytic applications will be running in seminar room A5 throughout the show.

Comshare: 0171 351 4399


IBM UK will be using the event to showcase its new Axapta business management software for the SME marketplace.

The Axapta Business Management Solution is an accounting and business management product for small, medium and divisions of large businesses.

The system offers standard applications for financial, trade, logistics, production and MRP business processes. The applications are ready for international commerce and are Year 2000-compliant.

The MorphX Development Suite, modelled after industry standards like Windows 95, NT, Microsoft SQL Server, IBM DB/2 Universal and Java, allows Axapta Business Management Solution to be tailored to the specific needs of each customer.

The layer and object technology in the MorphX Development Suite ensures that customisations are able to move forward with new releases of the software and complete programming projects in timeframes not possible with conventional programming techniques. Utilising the latest client/server technology, the system is platform and database-independent and can be scaled to fit a business as it grows.

IBM UK: 01705 564752

Kewill Systems

Kewill Systems is a global vendor of supply chain software, providing integrated accounting, manufacturing and electronic commerce solutions.

Kewill will be exhibiting Dynamics-based software, including 32-bit accounting and supply-chain solutions, incorporating over 30 manufacturing, distribution and accounting modules on stand 526 in Hall 3A.

In the Dynamics market Kewill is the only company to have been presented with the Great Plains Presidents Club award for the last nine years consecutively, and the Inner Circle award for the last four consecutive years.

On each day of the event, the company will hold two product briefings and demonstrate one case study. Products included in the briefings will be Dynamics Accounting with Integrated Manufacturing/Supply Chain Solutions, and the case study will feature Multi-site Integrated Manufacturing and Dynamics Accounts.

Kewill Systems, a part of the Kewill Group, will also be exhibiting a range of new products at the show.

Kewill Systems: 01932 233200


Delegates can expect existing Pegasus products like Opera and Capital Gold to feature on its stand, but perhaps more significantly there will be the chance to evaluate the new Pegasus MPower 32-bit client/server solution. Based on Microsoft technology and using SQL Server as its database, MPower is a scaleable solution and features facilities like multi-currency, multi-company, multilingual field-level security. The product is Web and email-enabled.

Fully Y2K-compliant, the product is geared to meet single-currency requirements, such as triangulation.

MPower does not necessitate rethinking the way an organisation works, says Pegasus. The naming convention and terminology that everyone is familiar with can be set using the Language Manager, and it can cater for additional languages. The chart of accounts encompasses four different levels – cost centre, department, project and purpose.

Pegasus: 01536 495000


This vendor of enterprise-wide financial information systems will not be using the show as a platform for any new products, but instead will be running seminars throughout on its existing ranges. These will focus on credit management solutions for the larger organisation, the implementation of procurement systems, and the use of the Web to make financial systems more effective.

The show will also be the first chance for QSP to talk to a large audience about its new NetConsulting division. This is a specialist independent consultancy and systems integration business, designed to provide organisations with advice on the benefits of the Internet and a recommendation about which technologies to implement. The division also implements solutions from major vendors, such as IBM, Sun, Cognos, iCat and Microsoft, as well as QSP itself. Consulting as a separate business line is something of a departure for QSP, and it will be hoping to use the show to position itself against competitors.

QSP: 0191 402 3333.


Sage has developed one of the UK’s most acknowledged and widely used ranges of accounting software and, as usual, its presence at the event will be closely monitored by the accounting and management consultancy professions.

The Sage stand will be divided into three business areas: Professional Accountants Division software solutions and services, manned by the Professional Accountants Division team; Sage Additions; and lastly, Sage Range.

There will be seven Sage presentations a day in each of the seminar rooms, lasting 45 minutes each. The presentation format has changed slightly from previous years to allow more direct targeting of seminar attendees.

The Sage presentation matter will be divided as follows: a product briefing and an example case study, a look at the overall Sage product range, and an examination of business topics addressing IT, Emu and Year 2000 issues.

Sage: 0191 255 3063


ERP solution provider SSA is to focus on solutions for Emu, arguing that, while over 80 per cent of companies have a strategy for dealing with the Year 2000 problem, over half of European companies have no strategy for how Emu will affect their financial systems. Seminar topics will include: how to gain business benefits from Emu and stay ahead of the game; how to exploit new technologies like the Internet to give tangible benefits; and how to maximise business processes that can span multiple sites, companies and countries.

SSA will be demonstrating products including BPCS Client/Server Version 6, BPCS Euro Enabled, BPComp, BPCast and BPCS Web. Also expect the SSA stand to focus on vertical markets like the automotive, CPG, pharmaceutical and chemical, electronics and manufacturing markets. It will also announce BPCS V6.1 and detail partnerships with IBM, HP, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Cap Gemini.

SSA: 01276 802354

Guy Matthews is a freelance journalist.

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