Sage North America announced the launch of Sage View, a cloud-based solution designed for accountants to view and advise on client performance and financial health, during The Sleeter Group’s Solutions14 conference.
The business management software and services provider introduced the solution after a few years of research and development focused on effectively connecting accountants with clients, according to Jennifer Warawa, vice president and general manager of Sage Accountant Solutions.
Sage View enables accountants to see, understand and act on client data via key performance indicators and reports.
“We want it to be a market-driven solution, [addressing those] problems and providing solutions to meet their needs,” Warawa said. “It’s a different approach than the past with telling the market how to shape the product direction—it’s an exciting direction.”
One of the market’s pain points is a lagging adoption to the cloud, which Warawa sources to both the client and accountant sides of the table. Sage View automatically syncs desktop or cloud data, depending on the accountant’s current product portfolio—including Sage One U.S. Edition and Sage 50 Accounting U.S. Edition.
While the solution still leverages desktop data, Warawa stresses there are certain innovations accountants need to embrace now, including moving from a pure compliance mindset.
She witnessed this in one Sage View focus group, when a participant claimed his accountant served as more of an unofficial advisory board member and business partner than someone to call at tax time.
“It made [everyone else in the room’s] accountants a little more irrelevant,” Warawa shared. “It’s value erosion versus value realization. Business needs to get done, with tax and compliance—they have to do it and are being compliant. But to have that value realization, business is better based on this.”
Sage View will offer that value with KPIs that include profitability and cash flow, giving accountants the statistics they can contextualize into bigger client trends. Warawa recommends accountants look to the medical profession in terms of understanding how to harness technology instead of fearing it will replace them.
Accountants “say technology is going to put me out of business, that data entry is a big part of the firm. But do doctors think technology is going to displace me?’ Technology won’t solve the problem of doing a better job of diagnosing, so accountants should be thinking the same way as doctors, with technology taking care of the low-level activities.”
This strategy of mixing complementary services could also describe Sage’s corporate direction, including the somewhat controversial move to sync QuickBooks data into Sage, according to Warawa.
“It’s an exciting time to be at Sage,” she continued. “We’re really listening to the voice of the customer and building solutions to make that happen. Our ability to be agile and advance according to market feedback—communicated in the fact that we sync with QuickBooks data. If we’re just looking in our four walls people use multiple solutions so we listen to what the market is telling us and offer tools that work with products competitive to Sage. It changes the way we’re doing business.”
Sage View, available now, starts at $79 per month. More information is available here.
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