STUDY SAYS 2004 TO SEE SURGE IN IT UPGRADES: Nearly eight of 10 businesses polled in a recent survey by information technology consultant and researcher Yankee Group said that they will have undertaken a major software upgrade by the end of 2004. According to the survey of some 1,100 network administrators worldwide, the planned upgrades would encompass everything from client/server upgrades and new off-the-shelf applications to custom applications.

The companies participating in the study also indicated that they would undertake their respective software migrations in conjunction with simultaneous upgrades in hardware and network infrastructure — a strategy that also dictates substantial investments in new PCs and laptops.


INTUIT INTROS PROSERIES BASIC: Intuit has introduced a low-cost version of its ProSeries tax software, ProSeries Basic Edition, which is designed for part-time preparers and new firms.

“There is a group of customers that aren’t doing very many returns and affordability is very important to them,” says Kathy Kirkendall, senior product manager for Intuit’s Professional Tax Division. The product is designed for users who find the company’s pay-per-return pricing too expensive. Kirkendall says that professionals just starting out, as well as those winding down their practices, will use Basic. Prices will range from $250 to $525, depending on the options purchased.

The company is also launching ProSeries Express, which is designed for storefront providers and preparers that compete with organizations such as H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt. Express is also suited for preparers whose clients are heavy users of bank products, and has simple W-2s attached. Product manager Ryan Farley says that Express will compete directly with products from TaxWise and Drake Software.


ORRTAX LAUNCHES INTELLIMANAGER: Orrtax Software Solutions, a marketer and developer of tax prep software, has unveiled IntelliManager, a product that enables central administration and processing.

The new offering allows businesses using IntelliTax for Windows to set up and configure remote offices from one central location. “By using IntelliManager, they configure remote office bank, billing and software information and process tax returns from a central location,” the company claims. “Remote offices simply download the information configured by IntelliManager and are able to e-file independently.”

For more information about IntelliManager, contact Orrtax Software Solutions at (800) 377-3337.


ALTARA FORMS NETWORKING GROUP: Altara, a high-volume reseller for Microsoft Business Solutions headquartered in Cedar Knolls, N.J., said that it would migrate Data Management Services — a managed service provider and network systems integrator — into the company and rebrand it as Altara Networking Solutions.

“DMS and Altara have been related companies since the applications division of DMS incorporated as DMS Technology Solutions in 1999,” explained Altara chief operating officer Kathy Cochran. “The new name comes as part of a structured growth plan and allows us to build on Altara’s name recognition.”


NORTH 40 OFFICE TOOL INTEGRATES WITH QUICKBOOKS: North 40 Systems, a member of the Intuit Developer Network and a leading provider of practice management software solutions to the small and midsized market, said that its proprietary Office Tools Pro now has data integration with Intuit’s QuickBooks 2004 products. That data integration includes QuickBooks Pro 2004, Premier 2004 and Premier 2004 Accountant Edition.

“Intuit and North 40 Systems both recognize that small business owners juggle many tasks and that they are constantly looking for ways to streamline their operations,” said Mark Bercow, vice president of the Intuit Developer Network. “Enabling the exchange of data between Office Tools Pro and the QuickBooks 2004 products will help them save time and manage their resources more efficiently.”

Office Tools Pro starts at $299. For more information, call (888) 667-8440 or visit

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