Small Business Accounting Software Market Expanding

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A new study from Access Markets International (AMI) - Partners has found that small businesses in the U.S. spent about $410 million on accounting software solutions over the last 12 months. The study goes on to say that this number is expected to grow to $500 million in 2008. This growth translates to a 6 percent annual increase according to Business Wire. The study defines a small business as having less than 100 employees.

Less than half of small businesses use accounting software. The majority of small businesses use electronic spreadsheets like Microsoft Excel or Lotus 1-2-3 or columnar paper sheets to record financial transactions according to CRN. The primary reasons given for purchasing small business accounting software are the need to electronically exchange information with other companies or clients, improve regulatory compliance, or just more efficient operations according to CRN.

“It makes perfect business sense for small businesses to switch to an accounting software solution that is geared toward them and does not require costly training to deploy,” said Arjun Mehra, an AMI-Partners research analyst.

Three software vendors currently offer small business accounting suites. Intuit's Quickbooks owns a majority share of this market. Intuit's competition is Best Software's Sage BusinessWorks Accounting and Microsoft's Office Small Business Accounting 2006 suite that will integrate into Microsoft's Office 2003 and 2006. With more than 75 percent of businesses upgrading their accounting software each one to two years, Microsoft may be able to take market share from the more popular Quickbooks. Quickbooks is recommended by a majority of accountants to their clients according to CRN.

Microsoft is pricing their standalone version at $149 retail after rebate while the best discounted price for Quickbooks Pro is about $180 according to CRN. Intuit is planning to release its 2006 version of Quickbooks later this year with improvements over their previous versions.

Intuit has integrated an “industry standard SQL database” to replace its older database. Intuit is anticipating no database conversion issues from Quickbooks 2005 into the new version according to CRN. Quickbooks Enterprise 2006 will also support 15 users where the previous version supported 10 users.

You can find out more about all these small business accounting packages at the following web addresses.

An alternative to single or enterprise installations of these software products is access to Software-as-Services (SAS) providers such as Smart Online Inc., based in North Carolina. They offer their comprehensive, user-friendly, and Web-native OneBiz Conductor ™ small business platform. Find out more about what Smart Online has to offer at http://www.smartonline.com/servlets/syngen/navigation/products_c/.

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