This isn't a discussion about the way firms can solve the shortage of staff they face. It's about the big company that needs help serving the CPA market--Microsoft.

Microsoft is back for another try at the accounting market. It is planning to introduce Microsoft Small Business Financials sometime next year, to compete in the low-cost software arena. And it has some plans to involve CPAs in the effort, something it hasn't actively tried for several years. The outlines of the program haven't emerged. But there is a hint about where the company is going.

Or to quote the job pitch that Microsoft accidentally dumped in my lap earlier this month. "Are you a marketer with a passion for technology, an in-depth understanding of the accounting professional community and a desire to be part of a team ready to make a difference in the marketplace? This is a unique opportunity to have a positive impact with the Accounting Professionals community. Microsoft is seeking a Sr. Marketing Manager to further develop our Accounting Professional influencer strategy and enable an Influencer Engagement Program based on deep understanding of the target customer, strategic business implications and competitive insight."

We can spend a lot of time debating why Microsoft hasn't fared well in several efforts at the low-cost accounting market. But its inability (and a similar inability in the last few years of Great Plains' existence) to find such a person has been notable.

When Microsoft has come up short with accounting products such as Profit, the Financial Analysis Pak, and so on, it has been at least partly because of its inability to put people in position who both understand the CPA community and have the drive to make programs work.

Accounting isn't just another product that can be put on the retail shelves. Sure Peachtree and QuickBooks are there. But QuickBooks, in particular, was driven by the relationship between clients and their accountants. You can argue that companies pulled CPAs into QuickBooks more than CPAs pushed clients. But the link made a big difference.

So, if you have the drive, the energy, the accounting know-how--Microsoft wants you. Enlist now.

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