Crunching Numbers: Financial software options for the ag retailer

Crunching Numbers: Financial software options for the ag retailer

Schrimpf, Paul

ELECTRONIC tracking of key customer data is an important use of computer hardware and software. In last month’s CropLife® magazine, the results of The E-Survey revealed the increasing use of customer data by retailers for functions such as supporting the sales force, strategic planning, and cross-selling services.

An e-tool at the heart of customer data collection and management is accounting and business management software. In this article, we are profiling financial software vendors for the ag retailer. Our Technology Scouts Bob Paarlberg and Julie Schlottel from Royster-Clark provided the horsepower for collecting the information.

* Agvance Software

Software Solutions Integrated, LLC (SSI)

# Years: 23; # Customers: 1,800 # States: 46; Multi-user (Y/N): Y Multi-site (Y/N): Y

Modules: General Ledger, Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, Payroll, Inventory, Invoicing, Blending, Mapping, Grain, Field Planning, Patronage Bringing a total solution for collecting and tracking customer information is what drives the development of SSI’s Agvance software program. Dave Craft, SSI marketing manager, explains that the suite utilizes Microsoft’s SQL database and Windows to integrate Accounting, Field Planning, Blending, Mapping, and Grain activities into one system.

“Preseason field plans can generate sales orders and be pulled into the Blending program for quick blend and application setups, or into the Accounting program for creating prepays,” says Craft. “Finished blends can be imported to the Accounting program for easy prepay management and invoicing.” Agvance also will track field histories, print regulatory documents, and provide “real-time” inventory and financial reports, he adds.

Dave Craft; Phone: 800-752-7912; Fax: 217-774-2105; E-mail:; Web site:



# Years: 26; # Customers: N/A; # States: 35; Multi-user (Y/N): Y Multi-site (Y/N): Y

Modules: Accounting & Financials, Grain Processing, Commodity Management, Agronomy Management, Oneweigh Scale Automation, View Accounts, Retail Sales, Petroleum Management

Lyle Hartz describes the AGRIS V9 program as “an integrated, inventory-based system supporting financial and operational needs including blending, agronomy management, retail sales, and accounting.”

AGRIS V9 provides access to inventory information and helps dealers create invoices and post to company financials. “Dealers can accommodate customers’ crop planning and recordkeeping requirements such as splits and prepays and create maps and crop plans using multiple criteria at field and crop level,” says Hartz.

AGRIS V9 also includes General Ledger, Patronage, Payroll, and Commodity modules.

Phone: 800-795-7995;Fax: 770-238-5205; E-mail:; Web site:

* CINCH Software, Agri-Suite

IRD Technologies

# Years: 8; # Customers (Ag Market): 1,000; # States (Ag Market): 10; Multi-user (Y/N): Y; Multi-site (Y/N): Y

Modules: Financials including General Ledger with AFA, Cash Flow Management, Fixed Asset Management, Payables Management, Receivables Management; Analytics; Project Accounting; HR Management; Supply Chain Management, including Sales Order Processing with Advanced Invoicing, Purchase Order Processing/Receivings, Inventory Control; Invoicing; eCommerce; Manufacturing; Full Agronomy Suite; Full Grain Accounting Suite; Full Ethanol Production Suite; Full Seed Production Suite; Retail Management Series; Customer Relations Management Series

“With a bold new focus on agribusiness, IRD Technologies is reshaping the way agribusiness software serves the industry,” says IRD’s Toby Molitor. “We listen to our customers and the industry and then innovate on their behalf.”

IRD Technologies is especially focused on providing solutions that allow retailers to operate their businesses in real time. “Our AgriBusiness Suite is a complete suite of modular, pre-integrated industry-specific business applications designed for rapid deployment and ease of administration. It is ideally suited for organizations that offer Agronomy solutions, Grain solutions, and seed Production solutions,” he says.

Phone: 320-634-0427; Fax: 320-214-0596; E-mail:,; Web site:

* Grossman-WOW


Grossman & Associates

# Years: 28; # Customers: 250; # States: 25; Multi-user (Y/N): Y; Multi-site (Y/N): Y

Modules: General Accounting, Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, Payroll, Inventory, Invoicing, Batch Mixer, Patronage

“Grossman & Associates, Inc. is a full-service agribusiness software provider and consulting company,” says Marketing Manager William Howe. In addition to its suite of awardwinning software packages, the company also provides business and software consulting services to agricultural-based companies throughout North America. “Our ability to provide customized software solutions to meet the information requirements of our business partners has distinguished Grossman software systems from all of its competitors,” says Howe.

Phone: 219-476-1621; Fax: 219-464-4628; E-mail:; Web site:

* Summit Ag Accounting, Summit Grain Accounting

Summit Software, Inc.

# Years: 21 ;# Customers: 600+; # States: 27; Multi-user (Y/N): Y; Multi-site (Y/N): Y

Modules: General Ledger, Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, Payroll, Inventory, Fixed Assets, Invoicing, Blending, Patronage

“Summit offers fully integrated business systems that enable ag and petroleum businesses to effectively manage their companies in an increasingly competitive, constantly evolving business environment,” says Sharon Kempfer, marketing manager. Summit’s completely integrated accounting systems eliminate the need to re-key data and allow real-time access to information needed to manage their businesses, she adds.

The software also can be tailored to meet the needs of any size business from a single user installation to hundreds of users at hundreds of locations. “And, our state-of-the-art technology offers efficient, Internet-enabled graphical thin client software.” Summit supports Windows, Linux, and Unix server implementations.

Phone: 800-486-4357, x28; Fax: 260-486-5187; E-mail:; Web site:

* ACS&F.A.C.T.S,

Liberty Software Systems

# Years: 23; # Customers: N/A;# States: 25; Multi-user (Y/N): Y; Multi-site (Y/N): Y

Modules: General Ledger, Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, Payroll, Invoicing, Inventory, Formulation, Blending

Liberty Software President Rich Myers has led the company in the development of what he calls “functional, reliable software, and most importantly, support to its customers.”

Myers points to several major considerations that are critical in developing financial applications that would efficiently allow information to flow through areas in the retailer’s office:

* Basic accounting principles required by accountants.

* Understandable reports necessary for making critical decisions.

* Ease of use by your staff.

* The ability to deliver concise and professional presentations of information to customers.

Myers is pleased to be able to provide a powerful software package and maintain the personal attention to customer service that comes from a small, closely held business. “We are still independently owned and operated and we continue to enhance our programs by adding flexibility while maintaining a stringent standard of accounting principles.”

Phone: 419-533-8801; Fax: 419-533-2558; E-mail:; Web site:


Copyright Meister Publishing Company Apr 2004

Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved