Microsoft reveals Sage rival
Microsoft has begun its push into the UK small business accountancy market with Office Accounting 2008, a move which could threaten Sage’s dominant market position.
Office Accounting 2008, which has been available in the US for two years, comes in two flavours, an express version which is a free download but offers limited functionality, and a pro version for £149.95 which can be configured for multiple machines and users.
The software is clearly aimed at the first time user, offering a basic set of accounting tools which allow customers to manage budgets, create invoices, track cash flow, and generate purchase and after sales orders.
A wizard shows customers how to import data from existing Excel spreadsheets, while a resource centre links to online information and advice, including RSS industry feeds, accountancy firm websites and newsgroups.
Microsoft already has a range of accountancy tools in its Dynamics products, but dismissed suggestions that the new software might step on its toes or one day replace its aging sibling.
“They’re all a family, Office Accounting and Dynamics are complimentary products,” says Rajat Taneja, general manager of Microsoft’s small business applications and services.
“The Dynamics range is a sophisticated suite of products aimed at larger businesses. We want our customers to grow with us from Accounting Express to Accounting Professional and into Dynamics.”
According to Taneja, Office Accounting 2008 has been downloaded two million times in the US since its 2005 launch, a level of interest he hopes to see replicated in the UK market.
“Our goal is to expand the market place, we’re targeting firms which still keep paper records, or just use Excel. We hope to take a share of the current market, but we aim to grow it substantially, as we did when we launched this [Office Accounting] in the US.”