Microsoft has released new accounting software aimed at small businesses during its Microsoft Business Summit.
First unveiled at the vendor's partner conference in Minneapolis in July, Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting is designed to give small businesses software that provides for double-entry accounting, which keeps track of both a company's income and expenses to ensure accountability for all parts of the business, vice-president of small business for Microsoft Small and Midmarket Solutions & Partner Group, Steve Guggenheimer, said.
Forty per cent of small businesses dis not use software specifically designed for accounting, Guggenheimer said. Microsoft saw an opportunity to serve those customers with a product targeted to their needs, he said.
The new product, however, also will face entrenched leaders in the small-business accounting market: MYOB and Intuit's QuickBooks.
Small Business Accounting gives customers the ability to do basic accounting functions, such as recording customer transactions, and manage sales and other financial documents.
The product also included third-party services from Microsoft partners such as JPMorgan Chase & Co, Deluxe and Automatic Data Processing to allow customers to sign up for those companies' services from within the product, he said.
Microsoft also will launch a new version of Office that includes Small Business Accounting, called Office Small Business Management Edition.
The product integrated accounting functionality with Microsoft's office productivity suite, so customers could perform accounting functions from within Office itself, Guggenheimer said.
"It allows accounting to be used as an overall way you manage the business," he said. "It integrates [Office] with [things like] how you would do sales, do quotes [and] send out offers in a seamless way, which is what people care about."
At the time Microsoft introduced Small Business Accounting, the company set up the Microsoft Professional Accounting Network, which enabled professional accountants to learn about the product so they could recommend it to their customers, Guggenheimer said.
To date, 3000 accountants have signed up to the program.