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Solomon opens checkbook

Solomon Software will bring electronic check-writing capabilities to midsized companies with the latest release of its accounting software.

    Solomon Software will bring electronic check-writing capabilities to midsized companies next year with the latest release of its accounting software Solomon IV for Windows.

    The first such tool will be ECPartners' e-CHECK, which will come embedded in the next release of the Solomon IV product. "We have had a lot of requests from our customers" for electronic payment tools, said Patrick Fitzhenry, Solomon's vice president of vertical markets.

    Version 3.0 of Solomon IV--set to enter beta testing in the first quarter and hit the market later next year--will feature the electronic payment capabilities embedded in the product's accounts payable module. It will replace add-on software from another vendor that Solomon offers to customers with the current version.

    Fitzhenry said Solomon and ECPartners signed the deal to integrate the two products about a week ago and are talking about additional e-commerce offerings for possible integration into new versions of Solomon IV.

    In addition to eliminating the need to print and mail checks, the e-CHECK tool will let accountants pay several invoices with one electronic check and provide online confirmation when the payment has been received, the company said.

    The Findaly, Ohio, company is not alone in hawking software with electronic offerings to midsized companies with 100 to 2,500 employees. ECPartners has cut similar deals to integrate the e-CHECK with the financial packages of about a dozen software companies that cater to the small and medium-sized market, a ECPartners representative said.

    They firms include Great Plains Software and Peach Tree Software. Peach Tree was the first to launch its small-business accounting software with e-CHECK capabilities this summer.

    And ECPartners, a 16-month-old joint venture between CheckFree and ADP, is beta testing a standalone version of the e-CHECK that it intends to sell to midsized companies next year.

    Fitzhenry said America's millions of medium-sized businesses will provide ample market share. "There is a huge, huge middle market business in the United States today," he said.

    In addition to incorporating tools developed by other vendors, Fitzhenry said Solomon is pouring a significant portion of its research and development budget into developing its own online tools for this marketplace.

    Version 3.0 of Solomon IV modules will be priced between $495 and $19,995, the company said.