New Sage cloud product

I saw in the Times today (page 40) that "according to Paul Stobart .. schoolchildren have started buying software from the group for the first time ... " and "The publisher launched web based software two years ago but pulled it after a day. Its new product will be sold from £5 a month ..."

Has anyone seen their new software ?

Comments

Sage One

tomsk100 | | Permalink

This is a new offering from Sage.

http://www.sageone.com/

 

 

Yep

Accountsportal | | Permalink

You can sign up for it now. Just be careful, to cancel the billing you have to phone an 0845 number within 30 days...

Use dummy email for testing ...

JC | | Permalink

Surely no-one sets up a test account under their real name - just get yourself a throwaway hotmail, yahoo email address and use that

After all don't forget you are testing the app; albeit possibly with real data. But at the end of the day you should not really migrate your test scenario over in a live situation

If you use a dummy address then it really doesn't matter whether Sage try to bill you or not at the end of the period because it is meaningless

daveforbes's picture

not the email that is the problem

daveforbes | | Permalink

I think you need to give credit card details. Giving a fake email address is one thing - making up credit card details gets you in trouble !

 

OT

Accountsportal | | Permalink

@JC: Of course I use a throw-away email, but its pretty much guaranteed that not everyone does. "Surely no-one sets up a test account under their real name" is probably unrealistic. Anyway, thats OT.

The point that I was trying to make is that the assumption that billing happens unless cancelled (by phone, of all means), is so last century.

no card required ...

JC | | Permalink

@daveforbes - no card details required when I tried yesterday on Accounts version

Maybe they changed requirements after Duanes comments in his blog

 

DuaneJAckson's picture

Charging

DuaneJAckson | | Permalink

 Looks like the charging thing was an unintentional cock-up on their part

I posted my first impressions at http://blog.kashflow.com/2011/01/18/sage-one-first-impressions/

Sage posted in the comments to clarify

PUREaccountants's picture

Sage what?

PUREaccountants | | Permalink

Just had a quick look at their website for the new all singing all dancing app.

As far as accounting web apps go it seems pretty hopeless, especially when comparing to the likes of Kashflow and Xero, but then Sage have made a fortune in software that is both ugly and not user friendly.

What did intrigue me though was their cashbook solution. As we are in the heat of final tax returns this is something that has been at my thoughts for a few weeks. I use Xero, I think its a great product. But for my really small businesses its too expensive. £2 per month for year end accounting is great but only my practice staff can access it. What I need is someway of getting the small guys on to a standard system to reduce my number crunching time. Now I could upsell everyone and get them onto the Xero Partner editions (£9 per month) or put up with the shoeboxes.

So I've been looking for a simple to use excel sheet or similar which I send out to clients to fill in data. Now the issue is their ability to do that, or understanding. Perhaps i'm asking too much.

Now the SageOne cashbook could solve that problem - even at £5 per month. Online access to their accounts, simple transfer of data, review, send back tell them they've done it wrong again it could be a good solution. No doubt though the Accountants edition will cost £1000 per year which makes it useless.

So well done Sage for trying but it appears to me that once again you've fallen, its all about functionality and cost. Thinki'll stick with the shoebox's for a bit longer

 

carnmores's picture

the accountants edition

carnmores | | Permalink

appears to be free to accountantd club members - added value?

petersaxton's picture

Need a client

petersaxton | | Permalink

I assume that the accountants edition is free to accountants so they sign up their clients. I don't think you can do any accounting on it unless you have a client using it.

PUREaccountants's picture

Accountants Club

PUREaccountants | | Permalink

£395 per year minimum.

 

John Stokdyk's picture

More info from the horse's mouth

John Stokdyk | | Permalink

Thanks for getting this thread rolling while I've been cooped up in meetings and on trains... At the launch event for SageOne in London on Tuesday, Sage CEO for northern Europe Paul Stobart and Sage Online managing director Simon Black invited along several of their beta test users to brief journalists on the system and its new capabilities. A lot of what they said was repetitious, and perhaps too involved with the industry dynamics of Cloud accounting rather than the things that matter most to end users.

To accompany our news article, I thought I would file some off the things they said here to feed into the group's assessment of SageOne. Here’s what Stobart and Black said.

Stobart: The Sage brand will make a big impact. Trust in Sage is important and we need to translate that to the wider market. If we’re successful, we’ll get a bigger market share.

SageOne is primarily aimed at new businesses. It’s attacking the micromarket, which is traditionally where businesses tend to use manual accounts or Excel. We would hope it would be a new segment for Sage.  It has been a market that we’ve been interested in for some time. It seemed to us to absolutely what the SageOne suite is all about: simplicity, ease and speed combined with support and price, and it gives that fantastic collaborative benefit so the accountant can also see the accounts and they can collaborate with small business clients.
 
Black: That’s where the biggest opportunity was. The Web is rapidly developing. As it evolves, it will be preferred solution for other customers.

Stobart: The micromarket is the most receptive to Cloud accounting offerings, but Sage is planning to move on to Cloud-enable its mid-market applications. The point of what Sage is trying to do is give the customer the choice. If they want to buy online, they will have that alternative – if they want traditional software they will have that alternative. We don’t have a bias one way or another. That’s why SageOne is such an important development for us. Finally we have the choice that customers want.

Stobart added that SageOne “was part of a much wider behind the scenes commitment to the Cloud. There has been investment and activity, but we’ve not communicated it yet.”

There is a huge amount of activity around mid-market applications, he continued. “In the mid-market we believe the solution is more around taking existing solutions to the Cloud. Some applications such as SalesLogix are already available in the Cloud and Sage 1000 will be moving that way soon.”

“In the next 12-24 months we will see all of our material Sage applications move to the cloud. What that means is customers will have the choice to access them online or mobile. They also have choice to deploy some of the applications on premise. There are lots of organisations with existing infrastructure investments who don’t want to lose that, but want to embellish it with online capabilities.

SageOne payroll is in the pipeline for this calendar year and we will build our offerings around the SageOne core. That’s why we kept development in-house, so we could get the first part of the roadmap right.

Black: Work is underway to connect in SagePay. Development has been driven by customemr feedback. 
 

John Stokdyk's picture

The accountants’ view

John Stokdyk | | Permalink

North Shields-based Blu Sky Accounting participated in the SageOne development and testing process. Partners Dave Gibson and Jon Dudgeon attended the launch in London and shared their views with AccountingWEB.co.uk:

As participants in the SageOne beta test programme, Blu Sky enjoyed “superb” support for the product. But as users of the rest of the Sage Practice Solution, Gibson said Sage’s support on products other than SageOne was “absolutely fantastic”.

He also agreed with Sage’s Paul Stobart that the Sage brand will be a major factor in building its presence in the Cloud accounting market. “Sage did lose a bit of ground timewise, but it is a brand, unlike KashFlow and FreeAgent Central.”

Gibson: The firm’s investment in time to participate in the SageOne beta test programme was about looking after clients. We’re in a people busienss, not a number business. We deal withsmall businesses and often they don’t have time and they don’t have control. A product like [SageOne] can bring them time.

If they need a mortgage or a loan, they often arrive with a Morrisons carrier bag of invoices. [With SageOne] they’re not paying us and our fairly expensive staff to do number-crunching and data entry. And we’re not working on history, we’re working on today’s information with them.

We had an IT company client who was getting stressed about her bookkeeping. SageOne has taken that away. I can see what she’s done and if it’s right. Many of our clients are Sage 50 users and we will be talking about moving many of them to SageOne – we may be able to reduce their rates and get rid of the Morrisons bags.

Dudgeon agreed: The whole thing is that people don’t pay us to do data entry, but to do analysis. We can go online and check: for VAT totals before the end of the quarter. From our own business development point of view, it’s really helpful to differentiate what we offer – for example how to handle a VAT repayment, we really can look over their shoulder while they deal with it.

You’ve got so many touch points – you can continuously see where they’re at and educate them. There are no secrets in our game, so the best thing you can do is educate clients better.

During product development, Blu Sky worked with Sage on getting things like the Journals module to work in the Accountants’ Edition of SageOne. If you don’t like what you see – it’s partly their fault. They also took a close interest in how the chart of accounts templates were set up. As well as allowing the accountant to add and amend the existing templates, Sage has included capabilities to import charts of accounts from Excel.

Development suggestions
Dudgeon: From our point of view, we’d like to see improvements on the reporting side to see a little more functionality. It’s not essential to the customer, but for accountants when it comes to doing a record check, we need to be able to go down to that detailed level.

SageOne doesn’t have a bank feed, but I believe it’s on the horizon. Some [clients] will be interested, but you’d have to cherry pick. But bank reconciliation is pretty good – you just see a general list and can set a flag beside a transation and see the balance reduce.

No integration, either, with Sage’s accounts production and business tax modules. To re-enter a trial balance for a simple business is not a back breaking exercise. And you get a feel for the numbers when you do it.

John Stokdyk's picture

Rival view – Phill Robinson, IRIS APS

John Stokdyk | | Permalink

Having previously dismissed Sage’s Cloud strategy as “a shambles” IRIS Accountancy Practice Solutions MD Phill Robinson was eager to talk about SageOne. It’s worth remembering that Robinson previously spent time working for Salesforce.com, whose CEO Marc Benioff could write a manual on how to rile competitors by publicly lambasting their efforts. Strap yourselves in for some lively comments...

Robinson: I think it’s difficult for a software Goliath to move to the Cloud. Sage is reacting late to something that’s affecting their business model. They’ve rushed a half-baked product to market because FreeAgent Central, KashFlow and Xero are stealing their market share. There are a bunch of things it doesn’t do – for example there’s not facility to accept bank statement data; VAT reporting is very limited; and there’s no integration to Sage Accounts Production. If an accountant wants to get the trial balance, that means there’s no productivity gain.

They’ve rushed it to market before it’s finished.

If Sage is successful with this product, it legitimises all the other Cloud offerings. They’re in a difficult spot.

I don’t buy Sage’s brand concept. It would have worked in the old world, but in the new world your competition is a click away. There’s not the same brand loyalty if you haven’t got £10,000 invested in software to lock you in.
In this model you can switch.

It’s criminal not to integrate. If you want a 360-degree view of the customer, you can’t do that. It feels like they’re desperate to do something. They admitted they’re late. Under pressure to deliver sooner, they compromised what they delivered.
 

Bob Harper's picture

What planet are they on?

Bob Harper | | Permalink

Would Sage benefit from reading the Saturn Car case study from GM?

Paul Scholes's picture

Call me Mary Whitehouse but...

Paul Scholes | | Permalink

I admit I've not even logged onto the site to look at it but, despite his vested interest, everything Phil Robinson says would chime with my experience of the goliath over decades.

After years of desk-based Sage with smaller clients I can imagine why Gibson & Dudgeon wax lyrical about the wonders of Cloud accounting but wonder if they've seen FreeAgent(Iris OpenBooks), Xero & Kashflow?

Iris developed an online cashbook (icash) years ago but it never worked for us, and many others, because it seemed a waste of technology, ie with all the stuff you can cram into a web-based app, why on earth limit it to a cashbook.  In those days access speeds were an issue but in 2011 there's no excuse and so yes, I'd not be surprised if they have gone off half-cocked just to get "Cloud" around the brand.

julianshaw's picture

Oh dear, oh dear oh dear...

julianshaw | | Permalink

... and so on ad nauseum.

"and there’s no integration to Sage Accounts Production"

What kind of decision was that? Well, just because it's becoming a joined-up world doesn't mean we should expect joined-up thinking. Of course, it leaves them scope to roll out 'improvements'.

Sage can't be bothered to fix ......

JC | | Permalink

Outstanding issues that have been around for sometime

Most people would think that rounding & getting the right result would be the cornerstone of any accounting systems

Sage seem to think differently

http://www.accountingweb.co.uk/group/sage-50-accounts-discussion-group/sage-rounding-payments-account

 

david_terrar's picture

Too little, too late

david_terrar | | Permalink

I've had a play around with Sage One and listened to the launch messages.  Here's my view:

 

  • Probably the most important thing is having the market leader finally come out with a proper Cloud accounting solution - this will help validate the topic with the mainstream accountant in business or in practice in a way none of we Cloud evangelists could ever manage.
  • Sage are so frightened of disrupting their cash cows of Sage Instant, Sage 50 and associated training, support and partner network that they've positioned this product at the very bottom end of the market for micro businesses, with very little functionality for accountants to get excited by.
  • I'm amazed that they've spent a year in development and 6 months in heavy customer testing and come out with such a weak set of functionality - the average Ruby on Rails development team will look at this and wonder how big companies manage to do so little with so much resource.
  • The user interface looks very presentable.
  • They've missed a a huge opportunity to do something innovative.  This is too little, too late and I would argue marks the start of a steady decline.  They're a big company with a strong user base, so it will take a long time, but this is the high point.
  • They've ignored the online accounting topic for a decade.  Now they've finally validated the topic and are talking about shifting the other products in to the Cloud, it will be the startups and players who have come in  to the market since around 2005 that will reap the benefits, not Sage. 

Longer version in a blog post: http://biztwozero.com/Home/1711

David Terrar
www.d2c.org.uk and www.twinfield.co.uk
 

Accounting in the Cloud

CharlieBurdett | | Permalink

It seems there is much debate about the pros and cons of Cloud accounting products, whether its Sage or anything else.

The comment regarding integration is the issue with all Cloud software but particularly with accounting software  which is the core of all businesses.

Most SME's have a plethora of existing software which will never be Cloud compatible, reporting tools, accounts production, crm, industry specific solutions, EPOS, bespoke etc that all need to talk to each other - take one out and put it in The Cloud and immediately it defeats the object.

This means that to utilise the Cloud its an all or nothing choice - move your complete IT infrastructure to a private Cloud that can accommodate all existing software, you can then use your software of choice and get all the benefits of The Cloud.

 

 

 

 

DuaneJAckson's picture

Not all the benefits

DuaneJAckson | | Permalink

Most, if not all, of the software types you mention are available as SaaS/Cloud solutions.

Why do you say it's not possible to integrate desktop software with cloud software? It is.

Finally, moving all of you existing apps to a "private cloud" will give you some benefits, but not all of the benefits you get from switching to SaaS solutions

david_terrar's picture

Integration is important and possible whether it's Cloud or on p

david_terrar | | Permalink

@CharlieBurdett

I have to agree with Duane and disagree with you.  First off, most SMEs don't have very integrated systems, and when they have been integrated the developemnt has usually been expensive and locked them in to a particular version of the software.  I would argue strongly that the typical Cloud app is easier to integrate with something else than the typical on premise app.  That's because we (Cloud vendors) all know our apps have to exchange data with something else, and so we design and build an API or data exchange routines in to our products at the outset.  Consequently Cloud apps from different suppliers can definitely be integrated, and usually more easily than equivalent on premise apps.  As Duane argues, all of the apps you mention are available from someone as SaaS/Cloud, and when it's something very specific to a company's process, then you could get it developed on one of the Platform as a Service products like Force.com, or Servoy or etc.  You then go on to say it's an all or nothing choice - sorry, no it isn't.  Nothing to stop you integrating a Cloud app with an on premise app, although most companies that take the first step quickly realize which way to go.

David Terrar

www.d2c.org.uk and biztwozero.com 

daveforbes's picture

Agreeing with the cloudists

daveforbes | | Permalink

I have to find myself agreeing with the cloudists on this one. There is a rather natty integration between our on premisies stat. accounts and tax (also the absolute software version) and various cloud bookkeeping systems including Duane's Kashflow. 

In actual fact importing from cloud apps, IF they have an API is easier than from other on premises software, if only becasue they are always at the same known location (a fixed web address) rather installed at some user defined location on the PC.

nogammonsinanundoubledgame's picture

I had a quick peek at Sage One ...

nogammonsinanun... | | Permalink

... at the iXBRL roadshow.

To be frank I thought it was quite a nice product, and well priced.  Gotta remember that all the moaners about lack of functionality are accountants.  I can well imagine that a lot of our clients would not be able to cope with much more functionality than that which is provided, and for them the interface is clear and easy.

Anyway, rather than just repeat observations already made I thought I would add a few new ones:

(1) Personally I think that they missed a trick by not providing a basic bank reconciliation function in the Cashbook version.  I can think of a few clients who would want the Cashbook + bank rec but not the rest of the features that the next model up contains.  Well, that is just a personal opinion.  They have done the market research, so I am presumably out on a limb there.

(2) Ownership of the data is a bit of a problem for me.  It does not seem possible to download a full audit trail to save locally.  You can download a trial balance, but not the transaction lists (I stand to be corrected if I have this wrong, but that is the impression I got).  If you decide to close the account, then they reassured us that a full transaction list would be provided.  Seems an odd attitude to take, is a self-imposed limitation that they could just as easily self-unimpose, and is at odds with BASDA charter, which presumably Sage have not signed up to (contrast Liquid).

(3) Having gone out of their way to stress their emphasis on security during the presentation, it then came to light in the Q&A at the end that if HMRC were to audit a particular accounting period, there is no facility to give them access to the transactions for that accounting period without also allowing them access to the complete history of transactions for all years on the system.  I mean, how secure is that??  Mind you, I would be interested to know if competing products have cottoned on to this problem.  Sage Line 50 has a similar problem, but the end user has a modicum of control over that.  Likewise, if I could download a CSV file of all transactions I would expect to be able to filter out transactions outside the period under enquiry and just sent the filtered data to them.

With kind regards

Clint Westwood

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