Sage Accounting Lines To Add Credit Services

Last Monday, Sage Group said it acquired Verus Financial Management for about $325 million in cash and that it plans to build Verus&' credit-debit-card and check-processing capabilities into Peachtree Accounting and later into the rest of its accounting portfolio. For Sage Software&'s accounting and ERP partners, this could mean add-on sales and an annuity stream, Verni said. Sage Software, once known as Best Software, is a unit of the U.K.-based Sage Group.

“There is both an opportunity [for partners] to make money up front, selling credit-card readers and so on. But beyond that, they will get a cut of each transaction,” he said.

Verus&' technology handles point-of-sale authorizations and transaction settlements for Visa and MasterCard as well as check conversion. The Nashville, Tenn.-based company will form the core of Sage&'s North American Merchant Services Division, according to a statement from Sage Software.

Sage&'s other accounting offerings include Accpac, BusinessVision, MAS 90, MAS 500 and MAS 900, along with SalesLogix and ACT sales-force-automation products.

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Though Sage partners reached initially were unaware of the development, Paul Schmidt, president of Dallas-based Computer Evaluations, is intrigued by the idea of integrated transaction capabilities.

“We get intermittent requests for credit-card processing [but] there hasn&'t really been an integrated solution to offer yet,” he said.

Computer Evaluations sells and supports Sage&'s SalesLogix and ACT lines, as well as Microsoft CRM.

Mark Soltis, CEO of Soltis Consulting, Topeka, Kan., also welcomed the news. “Right now, customers have to go to someone else for credit-card processing, but we end up supporting it anyway,” he said.

“Our software has to interface with [someone else&'s] transaction software, and typically we have to call them to set it up. And they never know enough about their own offerings to be of help, whereas Sage has the best tech support of any software company I&'ve dealt with,” Soltis added.

Credit-card and check-processing integration has become a battleground among accounting and ERP vendors. When Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft launched its Small Business accounting product last year, a key selling point was tie-ins to Chase Merchant Services for such tasks. And earlier on, in 2004, personal accounting software leader Intuit, of Mountain View, Calif., bought Innovative Merchant Solutions, which competed with Verus.