Softline Pastel has launched its first online accounting system, Pastel My Business Online, aimed at the SME market.
"Very often, products become complicated by the sheer volume of features added to it over time. Developing Pastel My Business Online from scratch gave us an opportunity to design it specifically for those business owners starting out with very little bookkeeping knowledge or just wanting a basic system," says Softline Pastel MD Steven Cohen.
"Pastel My Business Online is a multi-user system with dashboards, graphs and drill-downs to source transactions, and we believe that My Business will be a joy to use. In addition, we have integrated My Business to the iPhone and we'll port it to the Blackberry and Windows Mobile platforms soon," he says.
Accounting over the internet gives the user mobility, and extending it to mobile devices makes it even more portable. Users can view customers' sales histories and contact details and write notes while on the road, or in front of a client. Being online also allows an accountant to log on to the system without travelling to the customer's premises to check accounts.
Softline Pastel has accumulated almost 200 000 users during its 20 years in business and during that time it has taken users through various shifts in technology – the Dos to Windows transition, 16-bit to 32-bit operating system changes – and now the internet.
"When we developed Pastel My Business Online, we used all our 20 years of experience to deliver a product that was user-friendly, intuitive and fun to use. We also disciplined ourselves to keep the product clean and uncluttered," says Cohen.
He says Softline Pastel took a pragmatic view and used the most appropriate developer technologies and delivery mechanisms for the development of the system. "Technology continues to move at a fast pace and with the growth of Software as a Service (SaaS) and Web 2.0 technologies we had to use a platform that will have legs in the future.
"However, whilst there is no doubt that the market for SaaS applications and service based software is growing, and we expect this trend to continue, we also believe that demand is not universal, that adoption will be gradual and that it will vary widely across markets, as customers in different sectors have different needs. We think many businesses will adopt a 'hybrid' approach to their business software and services, using a combination of desktop and SaaS applications," he says.
So, Softline Pastel will continue to tweak its current systems. "Our clients expect us to deliver the best software available whilst keeping an eye on new technologies that will make them more efficient. We believe the launch of Pastel My Business Online is another show of our ongoing commitment to delivering cutting edge solutions. We really offer the best of both worlds which makes customers feel comfortable and secure with Softline Pastel as their vendor of choice," Cohen adds.