Charleston, S.C. (Nov. 5, 2002) -- The Information Technology Alliance, a consortium that includes some of the leading technology consulting practices affiliated with CPA firms, is enjoying a record-high attendance of 175 at its first general membership meeting since separating from the American Institute of CPAs earlier this year.New faces at the show here include business application vendors, Accpac International, NetLedger, and Intuit, all of whom joined since ITA split from the AICPA. At the time, the institute said it was curtailing the relationship in order to focus on core industry matters, such as auditing, while ITA officials said the split will help them expand.

ITA president Ron Eagle received a loud round of applause after welcoming the opening day crowd to the "new ITA." Privately, he acknowledged that the organization has a "new energy" since the split.

Opening day activity included a panel discussion during which top executives from several major accounting/enterprise software developers predicted that very small software reseller organizations still have a future, but that their role with small and midsize business clients will change as technology products get more elaborate.

"Just like no one product fits all SMB companies, the same applies to resellers. The key will be for them to focus (on the products that best fit their capabilities)," said David Butler, president of the middle market division of Best Software, a vendor of business applications for all sizes of SMB enterprises.

"It's not a death knell for smaller resellers, but their role is changing," added Don Nelson, channel general manager for Microsoft Business Solutions. He said that larger end user companies now prefer working with larger reseller organizations, which means small resellers will likely deal primarily with applications for small businesses.

Accpac chief executive David Hood said small resellers have a future in large deals, noting that a three-person Accpac reseller, with assistance from the vendor, recently won a $1 million engagement.

-- John M. Covaleski

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