ACCOUNTS Evaluation Restrictions

Hello again ACCOUNTS advisors.

I’ve been thinking about the restrictions of the evaluation version of ACCOUNTS, before you pay for it. Currently, that is only the 60-day time limit (with possible extensions). For the DONATION program, it is that, plus you can only create sample charitable receipts, not real ones.

I’m wondering whether there is anything reasonable like that that should be added to the limitations while you are evaluating ACCOUNTS, to help encourage purchasers.

One idea was a limit on the number of transactions you can enter. At first thought, that seems reasonable. But I worry about the organization that wants to do parallel running with their existing accounting program for a couple of months, to make sure everything works perfectly, before committing to a change.

Another thought was to put a “SAMPLE” watermark under all reports in ACCOUNTS when it is in evaluation mode, as is done with the sample receipts in DONATION. But that also seems like a bit much.

Any other bright ideas, or should I just leave it with no further restrictions? Thanks.

14 thoughts on “ACCOUNTS Evaluation Restrictions

  1. Evaluating an accounting system takes significant effort. As such, I think, a 60 day test period with no other restrictions would be quite effective. I would do the work of setting up the Accounts environment only if I had intentions of using it more than 60 days. I believe most people would not be willing to abandon Accounts after 60 days just to avoid paying for the use. We (they) would have invested too much time and effort – unless it did not do they job the wanted. I have not tested that, but I assume Accounts would be unusable after the 60 days. If my assumption is wrong, then might lock further data entry after the 60 days without a license.

    • Thanks, Gerd. Yes, like DONATION, if you pass the end of your evaluation period, all you can get to is the Evaluation & Licensing window. At that point to get back in, you either need to get an evaluation extension (another 30 days, usually granted once, but with serious questions if asked for twice), or a license key, after paying.

    • I have to agree that the amount of effort to set up the accounts in ACCOUNTS and then to put in some quality time inputting valid data is a big committment on the part of any organization evaluating a software package. Often you won’t know if you have made the right decision until you have gone through one complete accounting cycle.

      May I suggest that one way to differentiate between a fully licensed version and the evaluation version is with not so subtle reminders when it comes to printing reports; perhaps limitations on the number of reports that can be printed in the evaluation version; perhaps a limitation on the number of accounts permitted, or perhaps imposing limitations on accessing upgrades and updates.

      Users of software need to realize that the only way to keep software current, bug free and to provide support when needed is to make sure the program developers have the financial resources necessary to offer these followup services.

      • Thanks, Gord. (What does it mean that the two who responded so far are Gerd and Gord? )

        I feel that any form of quantity limits could be a disincentive for a serious evaluation. What did you think of “SAMPLE” watermarks under every report, like on sample receipts in DONATION – too blatant? Or perhaps I could add something like “Printed with a 60-day evaluation version of ACCOUNTS” as a footer on every page of every report?

        I think your 3rd paragraph also refers partly to whether people pay annual renewals – not much I can do about that, unless the program stops working (as if an evaluation period had expired) when your paid period has ended. But I really don’t like that type of pricing scheme, where you can’t use it without an enforced annual payment.

  2. I agree somewhat with what has already been said in that I feel no restrictions should be applied in a 60 day trial period. Within that time frame, most organizations should have had enough time to adequately compare accounting software they are using now with the ACCOUNTS program.

  3. I’ll tack a Bob on after the Gerd and Gord 🙂
    I don’t have much to say.
    I like the comments. I like the way Donations works with the annual renewal – it sneaks up on me sometimes, I get a request for payment, paying is simple and quick. Never any stress involved.
    I think a watermark or footer would be effective.

  4. I suggest leaving as is with just 60 day trial period which seems to be within current industry standards. If you want to extend it past the 60 day then you can begin putting limits. You want to draw potential buyers all the way in. Putting limits on reports won’t help. You want them to feel like they already own the product.

  5. Hi Dan,

    In my opinion, the software should be fully functional for whatever time period you think is reasonable (30 days is quite common). When you place restrictions on it, this makes it impossible to try out all the features.

    Cheers!

    Mark

  6. Hi Dan I don’t think it is at all unreasonable to have a 60 day limit PLUS mark all reports as “sample”. Regards Joan

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    • I prefer a footer on each page of each report, saying something like “Printed with a 60-day evaluation version of Software4Nonprofits ACCOUNTS”.

      Does that seem sensible to you? Any better wording suggestions?

      • Sounds fine to me — I personally rarely read the fine print at the bottom of a report because I assume it’s a filename and path. Your way is better though because it gets the name out there.

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