It was hard not to make a logical leap--FRx Software, a Microsoft operation, has a new wizard for designing reports with FRx 6.7 that can produce financial statements.
FRx is the company's financial reporting software, and the wizard for the latest version was designed to provide a simpler way to design reports--a very limited number of fonts and choices for small businesses to make. But the fact that FRx Report Wizard produces profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and trial balances from the accounts in general ledger packages should have a familiar ring to it: It is only a short step from write-up software.
Microsoft, although well entrenched in the general accounting market, does not have applications used inside professional accounting firms, such as time and billing, tax preparation, and write-up. A few years ago, it announced a tax package, but sold that product to Orrtax before it hit the market.
Would Microsoft entertain the thought of producing a write-up package? It might, since it wants to make big inroads with CPAs with the upcoming Small Business Accounting, and I have to think that producing more tools for the CPA community could make it more receptive to SBA.
Asked about the possibility, FRx marketing director Andy Kamlet says that FRx has considered different applications for the CPA market that might dovetail with the SBA campaign. Tami Reller, the VP responsible for Great Plains, Solomon, Navision, Axapta, and Microsoft CRM, responded that such a move might be a good idea.
The kicker, of course, is the ability to generate volume. I'm not sure the CPA market can produce the kinds of numbers Microsoft usually seeks. But it could be a marketing tool--and a revenue generating one at that--used to influence an important influencer community.
Important competitors, after all, do market both to the general accounting market and to the firms--the competition being Intuit and Best Software in this case. If it's a good idea for them, it is probably a good idea for Microsoft.
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