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IBM seals accounting software pact

Big Blue announces that it is working with audit firm KPMG to develop new software that's designed to help companies improve their financial reporting processes.

IBM on Tuesday announced that it is working with audit firm KPMG to develop new software that's designed to help companies improve their financial reporting processes.

The Lotus Workplace for Business Controls and Reporting is designed to help businesses beef up their internal accounting processes in order to stay in line with Sarbanes-Oxley Act provisions. The package is likely to be available by the end of 2003.

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, passed by Congress last year in the wake of financial scams that involved companies such as Enron and WorldCom, seeks to make companies' accounting procedures more transparent to investors and regulators. It could also mean a huge opportunity for information technology companies, as businesses will be required to make changes that involve increased IT expenditures.

IBM's initial offering will include a Control Assessment Template, a tool that runs on its middleware and incorporates functions from other IBM products such as WebSphere Portal and DB2 Content Manager. The template is compatible with KPMG's knowledge databases, or "control catalogs." Customers will be able to choose either the KPMG catalogs or other databases to go with IBM's software tool.

The companies said they will bundle their services with the new package. IBM will sell its financial management services, while KPMG will market internal control advisory services to help clients improve their reporting processes.