ITA ADDS MEMBERS, FORMS ALLIANCE WITH BKR: The Information Technology Alliance has added three new members and established a referral program with one of its long-term members, the BKR International network of independent accounting firms and business advisors.

The new members are Hewlett-Packard and two consulting firms with large Microsoft Business Solutions product practices Ñ the technology practice of St. Paul, Minn.-based CPA firm Olsen Thielen, and Premier Consulting, an eight-person firm in Salt Lake City. Both consulting firms are in ITA’s Group T.

With BKR, ITA’s top member firms will be available to provide software and other IT solutions to clients of BKR’s North American firms, and BKR’s firms will provide their services to the ITA members’ clients.

BEST-MIP EXPANDS FUNDRAISING PRODUCT LINE: Best Software has expanded its fast-growing presence in the nonprofit industry by acquiring KTS Group Inc., a developer of fundraising management software, and making it part of Best’s Nonprofit and Government Division.

The division, anchored by the MIP line of nonprofit fund accounting software, entered the fundraising market last summer by acquiring JSI Fundraising Systems. A Best spokesman said that KTS rounds out the company’s fundraising line by providing a product designed for the “general nonprofit segment.” Best will position KTS in the segment between JSI’s Millennium, designed for larger, more sophisticated end users, and JSI’s Paradigm, which is used primarily by smaller organizations.

The fundraising solutions also make the MIP line more competitive with rival fund accounting software vendor Blackbaud, which produces the Raiser’s Edge fundraising product line.

BLACKBAUD LOOKS TO CANADA: Best’s primary nonprofit software rival Blackbaud is using its fundraising software to increase its focus on the Canadian market. The Charleston, S.C.-based company announced plans to open an office in Toronto and begin offering consulting services delivered by Canadian professionals. Separately, it has launched a Canadian version of its ePhilanthropy solution, which links directly to its Raiser’s Edge fundraising software to enable nonprofits to receive online donations, conduct e-mail campaigns, and use their Web sites for event registration, membership renewals and volunteer management.

“We understand that nonprofits in different countries face different challenges, and to this end, we are dedicating additional resources exclusively to Canada,” said chief executive Robert J. Sywolski.

INGRAM MICRO FINISHES 2002 IN RED: Ingram Micro, the largest global wholesale provider of information technology products, reported significant losses for calendar 2002, following a drop in sales for the fourth quarter.

Losses for the year totaled $275.2 million, compared to net earnings of $6.7 million in 2001, while year-end sales dropped to $22.5 billion, down from $25.2 billion. Sales for the quarter totaled $5.9 billion, down 4.1 percent from the year-earlier period.

The Santa Ana, Calif.-based company said that its 2002 net income “was affected by major program and reorganization costs, as well as other special items and the cumulative effect of the adoption of a new accounting standard.”

F9 VENDOR TO ADD XBRL: Lasata Software, the developer of F9, one of the most prominent financial report writer software packages, has indicated that it has plans to enhance the product with the ability to format reports in XBRL, the Internet-based programming code for financial reports.

Stephen Wall, a director with West Perth, Australia-based Lasata, disclosed the plans during an informal conversation at the Softline AccountMate Partners conference in mid-February. However, he has been unavailable for further comment since that conference. At the conference, Wall said that XBRL has the potential to become a major force in accounting software if it gains broader market and software vendor acceptance.

The move could be a boost for XBRL, since F9 is available with pre-built links to approximately 25 different business accounting software applications.

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