Microsoft, Thomson Invest in Cpa2biz

The controversial for-profit Web site that is in the works over at the AICPA has just announced what many have been speculating all along - that leading Internet technology and information solutions companies Microsoft and The Thomson Corporation are investors in the service. Together the two have agreed to invest $50 million in the site.

Cpa2biz is set to launch this spring, and the Internet site plans to provide accountants and small businesses with an affordable, Web-based infrastructure for doing businesses.

Microsoft and Thomson have agreed to work closely with the AICPA to provide a wide range of Internet services and content designed to meet the needs of small businesses and their accountants. The site will include an electronic system of integrated business applications and the opportunity for CPAs to connect with their clients via the Internet.

It is expected that Cpa2biz will include access to interactive accounting software such as general ledger systems, payroll, 401(k) administration customer relationship management, human resources management, procurement, and online banking.

"Our long-standing relationship with the AICPA and its senior leadership made a partnership between us and Cpa2biz natural. The value for Thomson is an increased opportunity to provide custom solutions and content to CPAs in an even more substantive way," said Richard J. Harrington, president and CEO of The Thomson Corporation.

Kathleen Hebert, vice president of Microsoft's Small Business Division, said, "The AICPA and the CPA community are very important to Microsoft because CPAs are right there on the front lines, working with small businesses to overcome the hurdles of taking their business online and helping them to leverage the Web to drive their business forward. Through this agreement with Cpa2biz, the Microsoft bCentral small business service will provide CPAs with the Internet technologies they need to guide and empower their small business clients."

"Microsoft and Thomson are world-class industry partners. This level of capital is an outstanding kickoff for Cpa2biz. Combined with Cpa2biz's existing strategic partnerships and expected future partnerships, we believe Cpa2biz is well-positioned to be an asset to CPAs," said Barry Melancon, president of the AICPA.

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