Microsoft Corp.’s Excel spreadsheet program will have a new feature beginning in early 2004 – financial reports from over 12,000 companies right at the user’s fingertips.

In a collaboration with Edgar Online, Excel users will, for a fee, be able to access balance sheets and cash flow statements from the participating companies’ last five years. According to a statement by Peter Rinearson, Microsoft’s vice president of the Information Worker New Markets group, the new system "will allow people to more easily author and analyze financial documents using Microsoft Word 2003 and Microsoft Excel 2003."

Even with a name that does not exactly roll off the tongue – Microsoft Office Solution Accelerator for XBRL (Extensible Business Reporting Language) – the new program is expected to combine several previously distinct and difficult to compile facets of legwork into one streamlined platform. This is expected to save time and money for fund portfolio managers and analysts.

The program was announced Wednesday at the XBRL International Conference in Seattle.

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