MICROSOFT OFFERS OFFICE ACCOUNTING EXPRESS FOR FREE: In its latest attempt to become a player in the accounting software space, Microsoft had released a free, stripped-down version of its software, targeting small businesses that are late adopters and rely on pencil and paper or Excel for their bookkeeping needs.Microsoft Office Accounting Express 2007 integrates with other Microsoft Office software and will be included in the Small Business, Professional and Office Ultimate versions of Microsoft Office 2007. While using the free version of Express, users are periodically offered an upgrade to other products in Microsoft's recently retooled accounting suite, including Office Accounting Professional 2007, which is set for release early next year with a price tag of $149.

The program is able to create invoices, quotes, receipts and customizable reports, as well as handling expense tracking, payroll and tax processing, credit reporting, online sales and monitoring employee time. Office Accounting Express can also import data from Intuit QuickBooks, Microsoft Money and Microsoft Office Excel, and use Office Live to share information with an outside accountant. Office Accounting Express 2007 also links to third parties that offer additional fee-based services, including ADP for payroll, eBay for online sales, Equifax for credit checks and PayPal for online payments.

Microsoft says that the free software might not be for small businesses with more complex needs, such as inventory management, multicurrency invoicing, multi-user access and fixed asset management. The free download of Office Accounting Express 2007 is available at

Microsoft's accounting software debuted a year ago as Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting. In September, the company dropping the "Small Business" from the name, though it is still targeting businesses with 25 employees or less.

SERENIC NAMES KEITH AS PRESIDENT, COO: Nonprofit software publisher Serenic Corp. appointed Randy Keith as president and chief operating officer, where he will assume responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the Edmonton-based concern while Serenic founder and chief executive Jay Malik will focus on long-term strategy.

A 25-year veteran of the software industry, Keith previously served as president of Aperum Software, a provider of business solutions to mid-market distribution companies. He also held the president's post at Navision Software NA, the North American subsidiary of Denmark-based Navision Software, which was acquired by Microsoft in 2001.

Separately, Colorado-based Unitime Systems has formed a strategic alliance with Serenic to integrate Unitime's time and attendance software with Serenic's human resources and payroll software for Microsoft Dynamics NAV users. Serenic has roughly 1,400 customers who use the Microsoft Dynamics NAV HR and payroll software in North America.

SAGE ROLLS OUT BUSINESSVISION 50 ACCOUNTING 7.1: A new version of Sage Software's business management solution for small businesses, Sage BusinessVision 50 Accounting 7.1, has been released.

The version includes many business automation features designed to save time, in addition to helping reduce errors and simplify inventory management. Among the added features are new credit card options for point-of-sale transactions, and automation of daily accounting tasks, such as automatic purchase order and credit note creation, invoice duplication, and physical inventory posting.

A new Sage BusinessVision data migration tool for Accpac Plus users is also now available.

The Standard Edition includes 18 modules, and can support five users for under $5,500, though other pricing options are available for single users, up to three users, and more than 10 users.

More information on both the software's capabilities and how to locate a Sage BusinessVision business partner is available at

Sage also announced its President's Circle for 2006, an annual program honoring the company's top resellers. Sage said that more than 70 Sage Software Business Partners earned the designation. The top five in North America were: Alliance Solutions Group, of Tampa, Fla.; Infinity Info Systems Corp., of New York; MIS Group, of Dallas; The Strategies Group, of Suwanee, Ga.; and Blytheco, of Laguna Hills, Calif.

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