New Microsoft Accounting App Hits Beta, Changes Name

By Dan Muse
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When it comes to small business software, what's in a name? Microsoft apparently decided there's no sense being too literal.

Today, the Redmond, Wash.-based company announced the availability of a beta version of its latest small business accounting software. And while still aimed at small businesses, Microsoft has, somewhat ironically, removed the "Small Business" from the product name, going instead with Office Accounting 2007 for the new version.

According to a Microsoft spokeswoman, "Microsoft decided to change the name from Small Business Accounting to Office Accounting 2007 to simplify the name of the product, and align it with the rest of the Office System products." She added that the product is "still targeted toward small businesses with 25 employees or less."

Accounting Meets eBay
According to Microsoft, the new version is designed to help smaller companies do more business on the Web thanks to the addition of e-commerce integration and online invoicing features.

For example, according to Microsoft, Office Accounting 2007 will offer new integrated services to allow you to sell more easily on eBay. Taking advantage of eBay's APIs, you can select products from your inventory, list items for sale on eBay and view status of those listings from within your accounting application.

Office Accounting 2007
Microsoft's latest mixes accounting with eBay and PayPal.

Microsoft also reports that it is working with PayPal to offer two new payment services — Invoice Payment Service and Merchant Processing Service — that will be accessible from within Office Accounting 2007. The services are designed to let you accept payment transactions with PayPal, either through e-mail or through direct credit card payments.

Thanks to a partnership with Equifax, the new version of Microsoft's accounting offering is also designed to let you monitor the credit status of customers, vendors and your own business on an ongoing basis directly from within the accounting software.

According to information released by Microsoft, the new version of the software formerly known as Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting 2006 will provide what it describes as "enhanced integration" to let you share and update a single list of customers across your business. This will, for example, let your salespeople access key Office Accounting reports and launch marketing campaigns from within Microsoft Outlook with Business Contact Manager.

Office Accounting 2007
The dashboard view is designed to provide business insight at a glance.

Office Accounting 2007 also adds multi-currency support and new customizable forms and security roles to help you tailor the application to your business.

New for Accountants
Few people are as important to a small business as its accountant. To help improve the business-accoutant relationship, Microsoft reports that it has added new features geared specifically for accountants. For example, the Accountant Navigator is designed to let accountants manage multiple clients. The Payroll Center for Accountants is built to allow accountants to run payment processing for multiple clients from one dashboard.

With the Accountant Transfer Wizard, you can share and update files with your accountant with no interruption to your business, according to Microsoft. And, lastly, the Journal Entry worksheet is designed to let accountants quickly enter multiple transactions and closing entries.

If you want to check out the new version for yourself, you can sign up for the beta version here.

Dan Muse is executive editor of internet.com's Small Business Channel, EarthWeb's Networking Channel and ServerWatch.

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This article was originally published on September 05, 2006
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