We are long standing members of Sage Accountants Club and have recommended and sold their software for many years. Increasingly we find that clients are looking for an online solution and as a result we decided to actively look for client with whom we could trial Sage Online.
All was going well until we approached Sage to make our first purchase, their sales proposal is just unworkable....
Massive future price increases
The Accountants Club web site (as at 10th July 2012) clearly shows a price of £75 plus VAT per month against which we would receive a 20% discount. We sold to our client on this basis only to be told by Sage that they had increased the price by 56% but had forgotten to update the website. We look very silly now having told the client that it was £75 plus VAT yesterday but its £117 plus VAT today!
Ok, Sage agreed to honour he £75 plus VAT price but said it would increase to £117 plus any increase for 2013 in twelve months times, unsurprisingly our client has decided not to proceed. How can accountants confidently sign up clients to Sage Online if they know that they will be putting their clients at the mercy of Sage's pricing policy.... 56% in one year can never be fair or reasonable even with a major upgrade.
I feel sorry for accountants who have already signed up clients to Sage Online at £75 per month, they are now faced with breaking the bad news of the 56% price increase, a sure fire way to lose clients and destroy your business... not a good reason to join Sage Accountants Club is it?
Surely, the deal ought to be £75 plus VAT per month with a guarantee of no increase for say three years, that way we can sell the product with confidence.
The direct debit catch
The proposal on sage's website if £75 per month (well it should be £117 per month) but this is also not quite what it seems. What actually happens is...
Your practice buys the software from Sage (clients can't buy direct) which is invoiced at £1400 plus VAT, less the 20% club discount = £1,344. The client then pays Sage £116 plus VAT per month by direct debit which is credited to your account, if they pay 12 installments you end up 20% in credit. Sounds good but the catch is that if the client cancels or stops paying the direct debit then you become liable to Sage for the remaining balance!!
Join Sage Accountants Club and end up personally guaranteeing your client's debts! Surely, Sage ought to collect the fee direct from the client and rebate 20% to the Accountant partner as a credit to their account? The accountant can then decide to either rebate the discount to the client or use to it to subsidise the cost of club membership.
I really hope that I have misunderstood what Sage have told me but we spoke to two different sales advisers and each confirmed the same thing. We really want to sell Sage Online to our clients, we think that Sage is a fantastic product but the reasons above prevent us from promoting this particular product.
Has anyone had experience of selling the Sage Online software and could anyone recommend an alternative with a fairly pricing policy?
- TaxCalc - A Return to Form 342 5
- CIS Subcontractor Catch Twenty Two Position after 14 years 32 1
- FPS or EPS 112 2
- I have let a client go as it wasnt worth the hassle, 1,985 17
- Can I record depreciation, prepayments and accrued expenses in cash accounting? 228 3
- Continuity of Practice 158 2
- IRIS Professional Yearend 110 2
- Letting Agents - requirement for audit of clients accounts 304 10
- Scams are not always obvious 2,185 34
- Financial statements accounting policies 239 5
- Does Members voluntary liquidation require change of year end 146 3
- Market Value/Connected Persons 289 10
- Online Downtime 331 4
- P60 from HMRC Basic Paye Tools 324 3
- What do you all do in your spare time? 786 31
- Personal allowance 671 15
- How do we get US withholding tax back? 176 2
- Google contacts sharing within our domain 444 6
- New Fangled Penalties 1,120 1
- New client has not reported director's pay by RTI 406 10
- Moving away from CCH software 944
- QROP pension input amounts 435
- write off loan or loan to equity swap or both 377
- HMRC BENCHMARK EXPENSES 352
- Unused Losses and Post Cessation Receipts 321
- fraud 276
- EIS relief on transferring shares to spouse 250
- Sole trade business in UK, but the owner works from EU 219
- Construction CIS LLP Company 207
- EPS and CIS deductions 193