HARDING STUDYING ACCOUNTANTS FOR MICROSOFT: Wayne Harding, former senior director of channel development for Internet portal CPA2Biz, is under contract with Microsoft Corp. to study the accounting profession worldwide.

Harding, who earlier this summer stepped down as chief executive of the U.S. operations of accounting software vendor AccTrak 21, is studying accountants’ role in information technology buying decisions made by their firms and by their small and midsized business clients, according to several knowledgeable sources. Harding, who’s also a member of the American Institute of CPAs’ governing Council, declined to comment.

Before joining CPA2Biz, Harding was a vice president responsible for accounting profession relations at the former Great Plains. He left CPA2Biz for AccTrak 21 in September 2002, and left that company after it struck a product distribution deal with tax compliance software publisher ATX Forms, of Caribou, Maine.

Harding is apparently working from his home area of Denver and has a staff of researchers.

QUICKBOOKS ADDS CRM: QuickBooks developer Intuit has joined the customer relationship management movement by launching Intuit QuickBooks Customer Manager and Client Manager. Designed for businesses with up to 20 employees, Intuit said that the new products provide “easy access to critical customer information” including contact information, QuickBooks invoices and sales orders, projects, notes and more, “all from one easy-to-navigate single-screen dashboard.”

Customer Manager has a suggested retail price of $79.95, while Client Manager, which offers additional accountant-specific features, is priced at $249. Intuit said that the products can be self-installed and set up in about 30 minutes.

EPICOR ACQUIRES WAREHOUSE MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY: The Irvine, Calif.-based enterprise and accounting software vendor has acquired a suite of warehouse management solutions from TDC Solutions. Epicor has been marketing and private labeling the suite as the eWarehouse module of its Epicor for Distribution suite, tailored for wholesale distribution industry end users.

“The acquisition of these solutions is a logical step for Epicor as we continue to increase our focus on key vertical markets,” said James Norwood, senior director of product marketing for Epicor’s Enterprise Group.

MICROSOFT STRENGTHENS NAVISION DISTRIBUTION TOOLS: Microsoft Business Solutions’ newest release of its Navision suite features enhanced wholesale and distribution capabilities. As part of the warehousing enhancements in Navision 3.70, MBS has broken down the Warehouse Management System into four modules: warehouse receipt, warehouse shipment, pick, and put-away. “Depending on the level of complexity they require, customers can pay for only the elements they choose, and scale up as needed,” Microsoft said.

GARTNER ISSUES PLEA FOR CYBER SECURITY: The Stamford, Conn.-based technology industry analysts project that, through 2005, 20 percent of enterprises will experience a “serious Internet security incident” that goes beyond a virus.

“While the majority of enterprises will not face such an attack, companies must still take the proper precautions,” Gartner says.

Gartner lists the following top information security vulnerabilities:

● Fundamentally insecure commercial software.

● An inadequate patch update model.

● “Misguided” users who believe crime only happens to someone else.

The company further says, “While companies try to address those security issues, a number of new technologies will add to their challenges.” It notes that Web services will produce discontinuities in new application security; unsecured wireless local area networks are a point of potential failure for enterprise networks; and that instant messaging can have “worrisome holes.”

- Compiled by John Covaleski

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