REDMOND, Wash., Jan. 18, 1999 — Using leading Microsoft technologies such as Office and Component Object Model (COM), Peachtree Software is making a significant impact in an important industry – small business accounting. Peachtree Software is creating a multitude of opportunities in this billion-dollar market with the help of applications like Microsoft Office. And when Microsoft Office 2000 debuts later this year, it will create even more opportunities for the small business industry.
When small businesses began demanding accounting software almost 20 years ago, Peachtree answered the call by developing an accounting package that was bundled with the first IBM PCs in 1981. Eighteen years later, Peachtree is now one of two major players in the small business accounting market and has more than 1 million small business customers. Peachtree’s presence in this market is significant, as small businesses make up more than 90 percent of American companies. Behind word processing, accounting programs are the most widely used software applications in this industry.
Peachtree’s newest solution, Peachtree Office Accounting, features a groundbreaking open architecture platform that is changing the way small businesses perform accounting tasks. This easy-to-use software includes all the accounting features a small business requires such as accounts receivable, accounts payable, general ledger, payroll, inventory and job tracking. In addition, Peachtree Office Accounting allows small companies to customize and extend their accounting systems to meet specific and growing needs.
With Peachtree’s open architecture based on Microsoft’s Component Object Model, third-party developers have the opportunity to create solutions for a small business accounting industry that generated more than $1 billion in 1997. In October 1998, Peachtree introduced a developer program to offer third-party developers a chance to create and market value-added “program extensions” that work with Peachtree Office Accounting.
These EZ Add-ins, which are being developed primarily by third-party developers, offer businesses the ability to “round-trip” their accounting information. With Peachtree Office Accounting and Microsoft COM technology as the base, developers are able to quickly and efficiently create EZ Add-ins to transfer accounting data into business productivity applications, like Microsoft Excel, modify information and update it back in Office Accounting with the click of a mouse. Currently, more than two dozen EZ Add-ins are available or under development for Peachtree Office Accounting.
“What makes the Peachtree Developer Program unique is that developers have the opportunity to customize and extend a retail accounting product that costs just $99,” said Doug Meyer, executive vice president of operations for Peachtree Software. “Our business depends on selling our accounting solutions in volume. Through the Developer Program, we are giving ISV partners the ability to sell their value-added solutions into our large and growing customer base.”
With its COM foundation, Peachtree Office Accounting moves accounting information seamlessly into and out of Microsoft Office applications like Outlook. Peachtree Open Architecture is based on leading technologies including COM, Microsoft Visual C++ and Microsoft Foundation Classes, an Open DataBase Connectivity (ODBC) relational database and Crystal Reports. Additionally, Peachtree Open Architecture employs Microsoft’s Internet Explorer Web browser application.
“We believe that Peachtree Software’s Developer Program is a great opportunity for third-party developers,” said Robert Zampiglia, vice president of sales and marketing at Logic Team . “We have created the Business Assistant EZ Add-in for Peachtree Office Accounting, which is designed to allow small business owners to analyze their companies’ finances and use Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint to generate reports. We believe the combination of Peachtree Office Accounting, Business Assistant and Microsoft Office helps make accounting and business analysis easier.”
Peachtree implemented a strong support system for its development partners. The Software Developer’s Kit provides documentation, source code examples in various languages, and tools that directly connect with Peachtree Open Architecture COM objects. An upcoming update to Peachtree Open Architecture will embed Microsoft’s Visual Basic for Applications, giving developers and other users another critical tool to make Peachtree interoperable with other component-based software.
For independent or custom software vendors who plan to resell business applications, Peachtree has a full Independent Software Vendor (ISV) program. The ISV Program is designed for developers who want to take advantage of Peachtree’s marketing efforts to reach small business customers.
“Microsoft’s technologies are innovative and state of the art,” said Connie Certusi, director of product management for Peachtree Software. “Basing our products on their proven solutions allows us to create tremendous opportunities for ourselves and other developers.”
Two third-party developers that have taken advantage of Peachtree’s software developer program are Stamps.com, (formerly StampMaster) and Imagination Software. Stamps.com is developing an Internet Postage EZ Add-in, that will allow Peachtree Office Accounting customers to simultaneously prepare checks, invoices and statements for mailing. After activating Stamps.com from within Peachtree Office Accounting, Internet Postage takes the form of a basic check-box that automatically adds postage for business checks and forms.
Imagination Software developed the Virtual Copier EZ Add-in that allows customers to use Peachtree Office Accounting as a document management system. “Through Peachtree Open Architecture, we have created an EZ Add-in that will enable intranet-based imaging, document management and auditability of all the many hard-copy documents that companies are looking to bring online,” said Larry Klein, founder and president of Imagination Software.
With Microsoft tools such as COM and Office, and with inventive partners looking to establish new value-added solutions, Peachtree is able to provide small businesses an accounting package that combines the simplicity of Microsoft Office with the power of Peachtree’s accounting experience.