The company said Office Accounting Express 2007 is designed to replace the pen-and-paper or spreadsheet software many small businesses use for accounting.

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Microsoft released updated accounting software for small, home-based businesses today.

The company said Office Accounting Express 2007 is designed to replace the pen-and-paper or spreadsheet software many small businesses use for accounting.

The basic service, available for free download at www.ideawins.com, can be used to create invoices, handle payments and run financial reports, among other functions. It’s also designed to work with other Microsoft products, and financial services providers such as PayPal.

Microsoft is also planning new accounting software for businesses with up to 25 employees. Office Accounting Professional 2007 is due out early next year and will retail for $149. The company is offering users of the Express software a free trial of the higher-end product.