Microsoft’s Dances With Accountants and Courts Small Businesses with Small Business Accounting 2007

Accountants are one of the biggest influencers for small businesses, the person they interact with the most often in many cases. Isn’t “follow the money” what one famous person said.
In this regard, Microsoft is adding to its Microsoft Professional Accountants Network with two enhancements: a certification program and an Accountant Finder tool.
In addition Microsoft is adding new, integrated partnerships to Microsoft Small Business Accounting 2007 to include eBay Inc., Equifax and PayPal and new features.
Both Sage and Intuit, competing with Microsoft in the accounting space also have programs tailored to accountants and continue to expand their product lines with features. Sage and Intuit roll out new products on an annual basis.
The new integrated features include:
eBay. Office Small Business Accounting 2007 will enable small businesses to easily sell their products to millions of buyers on eBay, made possible through eBay’s Web Services API. The upcoming product provides businesses with the ability to select products from their inventory, list items for sale on eBay, view status of listings, and download transactions and fees ¬? all from within the accounting software.
Equifax. Microsoft and Equifax are collaborating to offer businesses that use Office Small Business Accounting 2007 a set of integrated, easy-to-use commercial credit-reporting services. Businesses will be able to cost-effectively monitor the credit-worthiness of their customers, their vendors and their own business on an ongoing basis directly from within the accounting software.
PayPal. Working with PayPal, Microsoft will provide two new payment services: Invoice Payment Service and Merchant Processing Service, both within Office Small Business Accounting 2007. These services will enable small businesses to accept payment transactions with PayPal, either through e-mail or through direct credit card payments. These solutions will save small businesses time and money and result in greater payment flexibility for their customers.
These added features are NOT trivial. The good thing is that a small business owner can stay within the product (Small Business Accounting) yet still start using (or continue using but now within one interface) eBay, Equifax and PayPal services.
Microsoft also added new features beyond 3rd party integration to Small Business Accounting 2007:
-∑ Enhanced Integration with Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 with Business Contact Manager. This enhanced integration will allow small businesses to share and update a single list of customers across the organization. It will also enable salespeople to access key Small Business Accounting reports and launch marketing campaigns from within Outlook 2007 with Business Contact Manager.
-∑ Multicurrency support. Small businesses that work with customers or vendors outside the U.S. will benefit from multicurrency support. Small businesses will be able to add or change information about the foreign currencies and easily update exchange rates.
-∑ Forms and security. The fully customizable forms and security roles will enable small businesses to tailor the application to their specific business needs.
There’s also new features added for the accounting edition of SBA.
For more information on Sage and the accounting market read insight from research firm AMI Partners’ Laurie McCabe, Vice President, Vice President, SMB Insights and Solutions.
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