Fresh tech for financial management

A variety of mandates for improving accounting practices and the President's Management Agenda have government at all levels taking a hard look at upgrading their enterprise financial software.

Moreover, two or three generations have passed since the start of computerization, and the architects of the original accounting systems are retiring, creating an urgent need for software that is more flexible, affordable, standardized across organizational boundaries and easy to learn and use.

Agencies looking to jettison outmoded systems, while reducing the number of systems they manage, are moving increasingly to enterprise resource planning systems, according to vendors and analysts.

Oracle Corp., PeopleSoft Inc. and SAP America Inc. each sell their ERP software to governments, augmented with tailor-made modules for grants administration, federal purchasing and other special needs.

American Management Systems Inc., a Washington stalwart in federal financial software and services, competes aggressively with these higher-profile newcomers and is moving more into the state and local markets, though it does not offer a full-blown ERP package.

Digital Systems Group Inc. also has a long history of selling to the federal government, especially the Defense Department.

Further driving agencies to consider ERP financials is an increasing desire for control over the supply chains and fixed assets that ERP was created to manage.

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