Battle of the giants.

The battle of Internet software providers intensified this week with the release of two rival packages offering companies the chance to create their own Web presence. Accountancy software provider Apex is to launch a rental package designed to allow small and mid-tier firms the chance to trade on the Internet. Meanwhile Access Accounts has released an updated version of its one-stop Internet software Accessweb2. It is understood that the Dublin-based company, which will launch Apex24 next week, has written to more than 20,000 accountancy firms in the UK in a bid to promote the product and accompanying roadshows. Apex will rent the software to firms from £35 a month, and said it will allow accountants to have a tailored Web presence without the need to buy and install expensive products. Apex chairman Bernard Donnelly said: ‘Apex24 gives accountants a pre-packaged, professionally designed colour website and the ability to offer additional services to their clients. ‘Accountants now have the ability to give their clients the latest up-to-date information concerning their tax status, audit and accounts position and even the fee status of their clients’ account.’ It has also produced a booklet called The Accountants Guide to the Internet in conjunction with BT. Meanwhile, Access has released an updated version of Accessweb, designed to allow business-to-business and business-to-consumer shopping. The company said it has released the first ever package to allow a company back office to be joined with a remotely hosted website. An Access spokesman said the package allowed companies to launch their own Web shop. Prices for the software begin at £50 for a home page and £35 for additional pages.

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