Microsoft Corp. has made available a new piece of software that will allow small business retailers to combine Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting 2006 with the Microsoft Point of Sale or Microsoft Retail Management System.

The free software add-on allows retailers to transfer point-of-sale data, such as transactions and purchase orders, directly into their financial management software. In addition to time-savings and the reduction of manual data entry, the company hopes small business retailers will be able to more effectively manage their cash flow.

"Small business owners and their accounting professionals now have an even simpler means of assessing their businesses' financial health in a single view through Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting 2006," said Guy Gilbert, group product manager for Office at Microsoft, in a statement. "This new integration furthers Microsoft's long-term commitment to meeting the needs of small businesses by fundamentally improving their productivity."Of the approximately 1.34 million U.S. retail companies, an estimated 99 percent have fewer than 10 stores, with 96 percent being single-store retailers, according to IHL Consulting Group Inc. The software add-on can be downloaded at www.microsoft.com.

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