Los Angeles (June 11, 2002) In a first of its kind move to leverage relationships in the accounting industry, accounting software powerhouse Microsoft/Great Plains Business Solutions is forging a marketing alliance with Creative Solutions Inc., one of the largest vendors of tax preparation and accounting practice management software.Tom Eide, MS/GP small business general manager, disclosed that the two vendors have a letter of intent to develop an integration link connecting his company's new Small Business Manager accounting software with some of CSI's software line,  and to  market that accounting solution to CSI's  accounting professional customers, who could also market it to their clients. "This just makes great sense because CSI has great experience in the accounting industry and great relationships with accountants,  and what we offer complements each other," Eide said in an exclusive interview at the California Sociey of CPAs' Accounting & Business Show.

While MS/GP has been  buying developers of general business software applications -- such as its pending deal for accounting vendor  Navision -- this would be its first business link-up with a tax prep vendor, and would be the  first  alliance between  accounting software  and tax prep vendors of such large dimensions  -- CSI has some 12,000 customers, and MS/GP is generally regarded the largest  developer of accounting applications for the middle market.  MS/GP also has some 2,000 North American resellers, many of whom are accounting professionals that use CSI products, according to Eide.

Eide said no money is being exchanged, however CSI would qualify for  pricing margins on the SBM products sold via the relationhip. Eide is hopeful of reaching a final agreement by mid-summer when MS/GP also plans to launch a new channel  program in which accountants and other business service professionals will be certified to advise clients  on SBM and then refer those clients to MS/GP for sales and implementation.

-- John M. Covaleski

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