As MTD’s deadline approaches, it’s no surprise that 99% of accountants are now using some form of digital accounting, and the switch to digital accounting has become seen as ‘imperative by almost all accountants’. according to the latest research from Sage. To respond to this digital paradigm shift, Sage has released its latest accounting solution: Sage for Accountants. But what does this really mean for accountants and their clients?
Gerty Bester, director of product management at Sage, explains that the goal of Sage for Accountants is “to respond to the end-to-end workflow, from accountants bringing a client into the firm.” [and] fair pricing, to allow them to more easily manage the workload thanks to enriched functionalities on the side of intelligent reports ”.
According to Sage, the solution aims to help UK accountants work collaboratively with their clients by bringing end-to-end management of the board proposal into UK practice. In particular, the intelligent reporting side of the solution includes client management, single sign-on to Sage Accounting, payroll, online compliance tools, partnership tools and resources, and support for advisory practices. clients on how to achieve their goals.
Chris Downing, director of product marketing at Sage, explains that GoProposal aims to ensure that “the price is right” and that the price is “efficiently”. He also notes that having more cohesive proposals can help companies get more profitable business. “For accountants, a good integration means getting a client into the system very quickly, keeping detailed client files and keeping track of the job at hand. This means accountants can bill more efficiently and accurately for the time it takes to serve the client well, from day one, ”he says.
Bester says, “If we just take an existing workflow and copy and paste it into a digital solution, it doesn’t really improve anyone’s life. It’s about digitizing the processes themselves so that they’re not just electronic versions. We will improve the way accountants do things, make them more efficient and save them time ”.
Why was Sage for Accountants created?
Sage’s recent survey analyzes what accountants need to improve their jobs. He notes that the solutions which could “eliminate the friction” concerning the way accountants do business with their clients as well as with partners like Sage is vital. Better strong points: “Sage for Accountants was born with this idea in mind. It has become an end-to-end proposition and advice platform to better equip accountants to do their jobs, to provide value-added services and to become that trusted advisor ”. What’s more, Downing says Sage for Accountants “unifies all of our best cloud native products in one place, allowing the accountant to have a single view of all of his or her clientele.”
Downing also emphasizes how the disruption to the accounting industry caused by Covid and the pandemic has been a strong motivation to create Sage for Accountants. “When we think about the additional challenges an accountant faces, including the pandemic, Making Tax Digital, the new VAT rules in April 2022 or MTD ITSA (Income Tax Self-Assessment) in April 2024, it will be a gigantic change in how every accounting firm will operate.
“Therefore, Sage looked to the future, thinking about how accountants should work and collaborating with their clients and third parties. So we have built a platform that is ready for the future ”.
Downing also points out that the solution “is about giving the client choice ”because accountants can choose which solutions they want to use within the platform and how they will use them. Meanwhile, Downing also adds that the solution’s collaboration tools will help accountants “digitally onboard clients at speed and pace.”
Further, Downing reveals that clients will have the choice of either being ‘hands off’, allowing the accountant or bookkeeper to do most of the processing themselves, or the business owner can take more ownership of their own. business. “You get this real-time collaboration, which means the business owner can work with the accountant whenever they want, in a way that’s efficient for them,” he notes. “At the same time, it also gives the business owner a better idea of how his business is performing. So the client will see value right away in terms of the accountant’s ability to work on his business as the client needs his services ”.
With accessibility at the forefront of the solution, Bester says, “Sage is about breaking down barriers. The more easily users can access the software, the easier they can access the support or training they need. Whether you are an end user or an accountant becomes irrelevant; it is beneficial for all ”.
What effects will Sage for Accountants have on the day-to-day operations of accountants?
Sage for Accountants provides essential “visibility” to the work performed by accountants. Downing explains, “This gives accountants the tool to make active client proposals on the fly; for example, if clients request more services, accountants can be responsive by reassessing their services appropriately. This means that they can maintain their profit levels, especially as customers demand more in their booming markets, without necessarily wanting to pay more for these services ”.
Downing observes that due to the effects of Covid on work culture, there has been a disruption in the functioning of the accounting industry – whether through employees working from home or through increased collaboration in the field. “What we have developed is the possibility for the accountant to have a one-stop-shop within his firm to see all his clients, have access to data in real time, and give them competence and access to data”.
But why is it important for accountants to have a single environment to manage their practice? Downing explains, “Think about how a practice will develop over the next two years: preparing and onboarding clients for MTD ITSA or supporting clients in terms of business growth. Having access to these tools in one place saves a lot of time. That’s what accountants want: to save time, build capacity, and deliver a great experience. “
Meanwhile, comments from Sage’s report revealed that having to retype data from one digital solution to another is “one of the biggest problems” for accountants. However, Downing says, “We got rid of this overnight with Sage for Accounting. But we’ve also given the accountant the choice of how they want to operate, as they get more and more complicated in terms of dealing with their clients. Therefore, we have given accountants the tools and choice regarding how they wish to develop in the future. “
Training and education
Along with the announcement of the Sage for Accountants solution, Sage also announced that the company will provide training and education to its clients. Sharing a glimpse of what it entails, Bester reveals that Sage offers a “global rewards program” for its accountants.
She revealed that the accountants’ comments showed they wanted to be recognized for knowing more about the product. “An integral part of how we reward them is going to incorporate our educational elements. We’re going to make it easier for people to get started with Sage for Accountants, at a much faster rate than they ever could before, ”she said.
Ultimately, as Sage moves forward in MTD, Downing says the next big thing for the business is to “keep growing” as accountants and clients “collaborate more closely and work much more closely.”