Last week Microsoft released Office Accounting 2008 with new and improved features.
One of the powerful new features that I talked about with Rajat Taneja, General Manager, Small Business Applications and Services is the integration of traditional software and online services in Office and in this case Office Accounting.
While many companies, such as Google & Salesforce.com, are preaching the hosted applications and software as a service only model, Microsoft continues to show that software is still important and critical for day to day business tasks. Integrating online services into software is a POWERFUL combination.
One of the tight integrations in Office Accounting Rajat and his team showed me was eBay. Without ever leaving Office Accounting a user can manage their eBay sales. Imagine more and more online services integrated into Office Accounting. Instead of visiting 3 different web sites, to do 3 different activities you can do it all from within Office. This also saves from entering information multiple times.
The challenge for Microsoft will be extending its traditional Office platform and showing small businesses the true value of the integration between software and hosted applications.
Through Office Live Small Business, Microsoft is enabling small businesses to manage contacts, market their business, build a web site and share documents outside of Microsoft Office – via the Internet.
I found the very tight integration between Microsoft Outlook and Office Accounting to be quite good. For example, you can create contacts and manage invoices and quotes from Outlook Business Contact Manager or Microsoft Office Outlook.
Office Accounting is currently available in two editions:
Office Accounting Professional, ERP $199.95 (U.S.), for established small businesses, and Office Accounting Express, free, for startups and home-based businesses.
Both editions are available for download in English (http://www.ideawins.com) and Spanish (http://www.ideawins.com/espanol) in the United States. The U.K. version is available for download from http://www.msofficeaccounting.co.uk. A 60-day free trial of Office Accounting Professional is also available for download.