Microsoft Overhauls Small Business Manager

By Theresa Carey  |  Print this article Print


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The company's Microsoft Business Solutions Small Business Manager is now called Microsoft Small Business Financials 8.0. It includes additional accounting and financial management functionality.

Microsoft has enhanced and rebranded its Microsoft Business Solutions Small Business Manager, which is designed for use by small businesses in the United States and Canada with 10 to 49 employees. Now called Microsoft Small Business Financials 8.0, it includes additional accounting and financial management functionality as well as other improvements.

According to Microsoft, many small businesses are concerned about having a financial solution grow with them. Changing the moniker by putting "Financials" in its name is intended to emphasize that the program is designed to manage a firm's finances and that it's part of the entire Microsoft financial suite.

Microsoft will encourage firms that grow out of Microsoft Small Business Financials to move up to the Microsoft Great Plains suite.

To enhance security, users will no longer be able to use a "blank" password to access the system and instead must enter a specific user password. Businesses will be able to tailor employees' navigation capabilities to their specific roles. Streamlined menus show only those modules and tasks that the employee is authorized to use.

Making the initial setup process go smoother, Microsoft Small Business Financials 8.0 offers wizard-driven importing of beginning data from SBA, QuickBooks, Peachtree and other accounting applications. Now, users can import beginning balances, by aging period, for customers and vendors. If there are amounts owed by customers or amounts owed to vendors, this data also can be imported.

The reporting functionality has been significantly enhanced so that businesses can pinpoint the information they need to make their business more successful. Users can manipulate existing reports or create new ones that reflect specific business issues. Report creators can draw data from any area in the system and work with a wide variety of layouts, fields, report logic, formatting and data selection.

Sales order processing and inventory management enhancements include the ability to transfer quotes to orders. When a quote has been accepted, that quote document can be transferred to an order document in one step, allocating inventory and updating the customer and sales records.

Another enhancement is the ability to process multiple documents at the same time. This allows users to select a group of orders to transfer to invoices, process all returns at the same time, transfer a selected group of quotes to orders, and post all invoices together at the end of the day.

In addition to the Tax Reports, Small Business Financials 8.0 features a Tax Transactions Report that delivers greater detail, listing all of the transactions and the amounts of the tax that were withheld.

Payroll enhancements allow users to run the Pay Run Wizard to process changes to deductions and benefits. When a Microsoft Small Business Financials 8.0 user wants to remove or add a deduction or benefit from all paychecks being processed in a pay run, the new Mark All and Unmark All buttons are designed to speed the task.

In addition, users can enter information into the new Taxable Wages field in the Manual Payroll Checks window and the Employee Beginning Balances window when they are entering a transaction for state taxes or local taxes.

Among the enhancements at the system level, users can automate scheduled backups to safeguard their data.

The product is now available through the Microsoft Business Solutions partner channel. Solutions partners are also authorized to provide customization and installation assistance.

In the United States, it also will be available through CDW Corp., which will sell Microsoft Small Business Financials online and through its catalog. CDW also will assist certified partners in their efforts to market and sell Microsoft Small Business Financials.

Check out eWEEK.com's for the latest news, views and analysis on financial applications and services for the enterprise and small businesses.

Theresa is the Editor of CIOInsight.com's Finance Industry Center. She's been writing about financial technology issues since 1990 for a wide variety of publications, including PC Magazine, Newsweek, Fortune, and Fortune Small Business. She is also a Contributing Editor to Barron's and writes their 'Electronic Investor' column.

Theresa received a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and a M.S. from the University of Santa Clara. She also has a private pilot's license. When she's not at her computer, she coaches a local high school volleyball team, plays softball and volleyball, and takes part in many Cal Alumni Band events. She lives in Northern California.


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