Microsoft launches Sage and Pegasus competitor

Microsoft launches Sage and Pegasus competitor

Software giant steps into small business accountancy sector with latest offering

Software giant Microsoft has moved in on the small business accountancy channel with the launch of Office Accounting application 2008, but its rivals remain unconcerned.

Launched last Thursday, the application is aimed at businesses of up to 25 employees and provides VARs with opportunities to target companies that may lack an in-house accountant or any IT support.

Gareth Arnold, Office Accounting product manager at Microsoft UK, said: “This is the first launch of this kind of accountancy product in the UK and offers opportunities for VARs to integrate professional solutions tailored for different verticals.

“Most small businesses use Windows Excel and Outlook, with which this product can be integrated to retain familiarity. Compared to others in the market, Microsoft’s accountancy offering is much more aligned to a product that would usually be sold for about £600.”

Jerry Rihll, founder and managing director of Microsoft Gold partner Digita, said there will be huge demand from small business for a product like this.

“In this market it is good to see a new quality entrant as change and freedom of choice is always good,” Rihll said.

“The application is adaptable and capable of talking to other technology so the data is free to flow. This is usually a concern of small businesses, which believe software compatibility comes attached to a high cost.”

Rival accountancy software vendors Sage and Pegasus welcomed the competition, but felt confident that Microsoft would pose no threat on their “already established” market positions.

Kevin McCallum, commercial director at Pegasus, said: “A lot of companies that have tried to move down to the lower end of the market have failed. Small businesses tend to buy from specialists and Microsoft’s name alone may not carry it through.”

Paul Stobart, chief executive of Sage UK and Ireland, said: “We welcome the competition, but believe we have a unique and compelling offering for UK businesses, including start-up and small companies, with whom we have worked with for more than 25 years.”