Lovells plumps for Elite

Simon Rogers reports

City firm Lovell White Durrant is to spend some u350,000 on an accounts package from US-based company Elite Data Processing.

The firm will also be taking on another US package – Carpe Diem time tracking and time entry software from Dallas-based company Prosoft. Lovells will be integrating the two systems, which will run under a Windows-based set-up.

Elite's system has been modified for the firm and UK sales manager David Thorpe says the changes will become standard for the company's other UK legal applications. "Of all the clients we have got so far, Lovell White Durrant was far more specific about very detailed requirements," he says.

Lovells' financial controller Nick Cray says the package was the only system the firm saw which met all its requirements. "We undertook a thorough review of most legal accounting packages available and while some were technically acceptable they lacked the necessary functionality," he says.

The system is split into a number of modules, and is capable of tasks including highlighting conflicts of interest. It will be integrated at Lovells with the existing client and marketing Informix database.

Elite opened in the City one year ago and has targeted a number of top firms, including McKenna & Co, Rowe & Maw and Watson Farley & Williams.

Thorpe claims the number of users will increase to 11 in the new year (compared with 300 in the US). But Thorpe says the company will be targeting some of the smaller practices from now on. "Right now, all of the users that we've had are firms that have approached Elite," he says.

Elite has been criticised in the past for its lack of maintenance staff in the UK – previously much of the work was based in the US. But Thorpe says the company has taken on new support staff and will be able to provide most types of maintenance in the UK.

British software suppliers are sceptical of how well Elite will do in the long run. But John Wilde, head of AIM says: "Competition is a good thing. It makes everyone better."