Microsoft goes on the offensive

UK accountants could soon be targeted by IT giant Microsoft if it extends its newly-formed Professional Accountants’ Network from the US to Britain, rival company Sage has claimed.

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Microsoft’s attempts to muscle in on the lucrative accountancy market went up a gear, as it introduced the network in the US this week.

The move, widely expected to be replicated in the UK, is a bitter blow to competitors Intuit and Sage, both of which work closely with accountants, and rely on them to recommend software to their clients.

A Sage spokesman said Microsoft’s US strategy means it will ‘probably do something similar over here’. But the FTSE100 software group accused Microsoft of following its lead, having been the first to introduce such a network – the Sage Accountants Club.

‘We have a massively installed base of business and accounting clients, and Microsoft is not renowned for working closely with customers,’ the Sage spokesman said.

Microsoft’s network is aimed at providing accountants with business support and software to help meet their clients’ requirements. Similar events will be held in the US to encourage accountants to sign up.

In addition, Microsoft will make available a pre-release version of its new Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting 2006 product, which incorporates the new accounting module.

No spokesman from Microsoft was available for comment as Accountancy Age went to press.

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