By Al Giovetti


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Christy Reichhelm is Appointed as the new Microsoft Marketing Manager for Accounting

by Al Giovetti

Eight months ago the, Cory Linton replaced Matt Davis as the Microsoft vertical marketing representative for Accounting. Christine and I met with Corey Linton in Redmond, Washington last year to discuss his new position. Cory was open to new ideas and found himself inundated with suggestions from the fertile minds in the accounting profession.

Just eight months after Cory was appointed, Microsoft has not only appointed a new Accounting Liason, but they have restructured the position. Christy Reichhelm is not a component of the old small business group but is now in an overall accounting group at Microsoft. (See Christy Reichhelm's biography.) This represents a subtile but important change.

Microsoft feels that the accounting software thrust belongs in the newly created ApplicationsDevelopers Customer Unit. Holly Henson, another Microsoft employee who here to fore worked with vendors of accounting software and enterprise resource planning (ERP), has been assigned to the new unit to work solely on the ERP end of things. This will give Christy the time and focus of accounting only. Even Cory Linton, who is still with Microsoft, will now be able to devote his entire time to the legal profession. Before this reorganization, Cory was dividing his attention between the accounting and legal professions. Cory will now work solely with the attorneys and legal software vendors.

One of the goals of the new position is to "help accountants develop and broaden their technology consulting capabilities." Christy envisions herself as a facilitator in helping accountants "jump start" their technology consulting practices. Christy was herself a systems consultant.

Christy has so far used her background in Marketing with IBM and Apple computer to forge relationships with companies such as State of the Art, Great Plans, and organizations like the Information Technology Alliance consortium of CPAs.

One of the main foci of Microsoft and Christy Reichhelm is to assist accountants in attaining greater proficiency and competency in technology matters through a certification system. Unfortunately, the training has been expensive and not practical for the smaller firms up to this time. The price per hour of continuing professional education or CPE was way out of line with that paid on a regular basis by most small accounting firms, who normally pay between $100 and $200 for eight hours of CPE. We hope Microsoft lowers the cost of entry and education to manageable levels in the future.

Another agenda or Reichhelm's is to foster Microsoft as a "relationship broker" that would partner accounting firms without technical expertise with Microsoft certified technology firms to provide the industry with business solutions in the form of accounting software. Reichhelm feels that the two groups could form a group to provide "complimentary services."

Microsoft's Matt Davis instituted the TAP or Technology Advisor Program for training accountants in technology consulting disciplines, and shortly before leaving Microsoft arranged for the firtst Microsoft Partners Conference for accountants. The conference was not well attended but the conference resulted in many accounting firms developing technology consulting services to beef up the practice revenues.

Reichhelm is committed to TAP and the Partners conferences but also wants to foster the concept of partnering with Microsoft certified vendors and consultants. Reichhelm says that accountants will be challenged to keep up with the "rapidly evolving" technologies.

John M. Covaleski, Microsoft taps IT consultant as new accounting liason, Accounting Today, April 6-26, 1998, pgs 5 and 37.












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