Entry level accounting software – the real cost. Can Microsoft break the barrier?

Web sites are buzzing with information on the new Microsoft Accounting Software.

One challenge for all the entry level vendors is their ability to price and deliver adequate support to their user base. Even though Microsoft’s latest entry level offering is free, users may well struggle to get the software up and running without some face to face training – which can cost several hundred pounds a day. There is a UK discussion forum on the Microsoft site which includes questions about VAT handling which highlights this problem.. More information at

Most accountants will agree that regardless of the tool, users need a reasonable level of accounting skills to use any product. Many small charities do not have these and rely on helplines to slowly work their way through the problem. Helplines cost money to staff and charities ultimately have to pay for this. For an entry level system to really take off this issue needs to be addressed. It will be interesting to see whether Microsoft develop a new approach to this that might work – for example via interactive training/support. If they can tackle this they may make it in the entry level accounting software space.

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