The latest version of Microsoft's entry-level accounting program for small businesses released this week can handle accounts in Spanish and English, and integrates with more online banking services than the previous version.
Office Accounting 2008 is a basic set of accounting tools that lets users do general tasks such as managing budgets. It also has special features for people who perform lots of transactions on eBay and handle payments through PayPal, the auction site's online money transfer service.
Microsoft said it has simplified how a user would set up a new company and customize the accounting functions according to industry. Other improvements include budget tracking, the ability to generate a new purchase order after a sales order, better bulk e-mail invoicing and a resource center for questions about the software and accounting.
Office Accounting can now also import financial data from other business applications in formats such as comma-separated values (CSV) files, used by Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet program.
The Spanish language edition was added since there are more than 2 million Hispanic businesses in the U.S., which often need to switch between Spanish and English with their accounts, Microsoft said.
Microsoft's Office Accounting 2008 software comes in two editions. Office Accounting Professional is designed for up to 25 users and costs US$199.95. An upgrade for those who already have Office Accounting 2007, the previous version, costs US$149.95. The Express version has fewer features but is free. It's aimed at home businesses run by one person, and is missing tools for sales orders and purchase orders, forecasting, inventory tracking, and handling multiple currencies..