REDMOND, Wash. — May 16, 2005 — Microsoft Corp. today announced it will launch the Microsoft® Professional Accountants’ Network, designed specifically for accounting professionals to help them expand their business and support their critical role in helping small businesses meet their financial management needs. The network will provide comprehensive benefits including training, technical support and professional networking opportunities. Accounting professionals can go to http://www.microsoft.com/accountants to learn more about this comprehensive network tailored for them, and find information about how they can become a member in the coming months.
In addition, Microsoft will make available for accounting professionals a special prerelease version of the new Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting 2006, a Microsoft Office solution for small business management to evaluate and introduce to their clients.
At the 2005 New Jersey Accounting, Business & Technology Show, accountants will have an opportunity to view the product and sign up to receive a free prerelease version of the software as part of Microsoft’s ongoing efforts to support accounting professionals’ critical role in advising small businesses and helping them meet their financial management needs. The 11th annual show, which is being held in Secaucus, N.J., May 17–18, is the first of many U.S. accounting industry events Microsoft plans to attend in the United States where accounting professionals can sign up to receive the prerelease software.
Designed with extensive feedback from small-business customers and accounting professionals, Small Business Accounting 2006 provides integrated tools to help small companies meet their important financial needs. Microsoft also has actively engaged with accounting professionals and industry experts to build its Professional Accountants Network. Based on the insight the company heard, the network will provide significant benefits for accountants, including these:
Support. Accountants will have access to software and support that can help them easily use technology so they can stay focused on serving their clients and grow their business. For example, they will receive five calls and will have direct and quick access when they call Microsoft Support to get direct access to people who know the product.
Training. Microsoft also will provide a wealth of training opportunities to familiarize accountants with Microsoft solutions. These will include 24 hours of Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits and three hours of online lab training on Office Small Business Accounting 2006. Microsoft understands that the accounting community needs some time to learn about the new products, so in collaboration with K2 Enterprises and J. Carlton Collins, leaders in providing software and technology seminars and training to certified public accountants (CPAs), it will sponsor selected CPE courses promoted by local CPA societies.
Resources. Microsoft will provide a dedicated Web portal to house customized information for accountants on a variety of topics. These will include product information, newsletters, information on customer referrals and marketing tools, including templates and an online directory listing.
“It’s clear that Microsoft has done its homework,” said Michelle Kowalchuk, certified professional accountant. “I’ve had the opportunity to engage with Microsoft and am amazed at its commitment to dig in and really think about what is important to us as a CPA community. Not only has it developed a comprehensive and affordable solution for small businesses to effectively manage the most vital aspect of their business — finance — but I’m also excited to witness the level of support it will provide to CPAs. It’s evident Microsoft values our importance.”
“Our goal is to offer an industry-leading accountant network along with easy-to-use products that will help accounting professionals and their customers to be even more successful,” said Cindy Bates, general manager of the U.S. Small Business Group at Microsoft. “We’re really excited to be able to deliver a comprehensive network and solutions to show our commitment to helping accountants achieve this.”
Customers also will have the option to add payroll services to Small Business Accounting 2006. Developed in collaboration with Microsoft, ADP® Small Business Services, part of the Employer Services Division of Automatic Data Processing Inc. (NYSE “ADP”), will offer two tiers of payroll services, ADP Payrollsm and ADP Total Payrollsm; these offerings will provide small businesses and accountants with payroll and tax processing tools that are integrated with Small Business Accounting 2006. As part of its commitment to the accounting community, ADP is offering special introductory pricing on ADP Payroll for Small Business Accounting 2006. Accounting professionals who sign up to receive the prerelease version of Small Business Accounting 2006 will be able to take advantage of this exclusive, limited-time offer directly from within the software.
Scheduled for U.S. availability in September 2005, Office Small Business Accounting 2006 will be available in a standalone edition at an estimated retail price of approximately $200 (U.S.) or as part of Microsoft Office Small Business Management Edition 2006. Pricing will be announced soon for both solutions.
Microsoft Office Small Business Management Edition 2006 is designed to give owners and managers of small companies a complete view of their business — from sales and marketing to financial, personnel and customer relationship processes — in the familiar, easy-to-use Office environment. It includes Microsoft Office Outlook® 2003 with Business Contact Manager Update as well as the new Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting 2006. In addition, it will include Microsoft Office Word 2003, Microsoft Office Excel® 2003, Microsoft Office PowerPoint® 2003, Microsoft Office Publisher 2003 and Microsoft Office Access 2003. Customers and partners can go to http://www.microsoft.com/office/accounting to learn more.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
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