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Sage Collaborate signals cloud practice drive

19th Sep 2013
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Sage’s UK Accountants’ Division this week introduced an online document portal that represents its first move into developing specific web-based tools for accountancy practitioners.

According to Accountants Division managing director Paul Tooth, Sage Collaborate is the first of several online offerings for accountants, with accounts production tools tailored for the web-based Sage One platform in the pipleline and a practice management solution also in the works.

“For the past year, we have been taking Sage One and building component platforms on which we can develop other products,” he said.

“We’ve started taking these components to create a practice solution layer for Sage One and will build UK elements on top of that. Around 30% of the work has been done because of the underlying Sage One architecture. We have a strong vision in the Accountants Division that this is where we want to go.”

Collaborate, the first of these cloud initiatives to reach fruition, is a secure document exchange with built-in electronic authorisation. It is being offered for free to members of the Sage Accountants' Club and will enable them to share documents with clients who also use Sage One.

Collaborate appears as an extra section within the firm’s client view in the Sage One Accountant Edition. From there, a simple browse/select process will upload a document and invite a client to view it via an email link. This URL will point to a Sage One landing page. The client will also get an authentication code from Sage One as an SMS text; entering this code to Sage One will let them access the document. There they will see any message from the accountant, and if authorisation is required, the client will have the option to accept or reject the document, and can send back a message within Sage One explaining their reasons.

The Sage One mechanism (demonstrated in the YouTube video below) is similar to IRIS OpenSpace, which was launched last year, and CCH Portal, which was unveiled in May. It was scheduled to go live at 9am on Thursday 19 September.

According to Tooth, cloud adoption is moving forward within the profession. Some 4,500 of 11,500 Sage Accountants’ Club member have signed up for the Sage One Accountant Edition. Any practitioners who want to take advantage of Collaborate will have to join them.

Tooth emphasised, however, that Sage would not be forcing firms to make any further switch. “We don’t think accountants will jump into the cloud immediately. We want to provide choice and expertise between both desktop and cloud and let client choose. We view it as a journey. There will be different platforms and tools like Collaborate. So users could have practice solutions in desktop and clients in cloud.”

The Collaborate tool will ultimately permit links between the two environments, he added.

“Historically we’ve been a bit shy and haven’t talked about things we are not doing yet. I want to change that. Online accounting is coming. We’ll start to change the perception of our cloud credentials in the coming months.”

Replies (1)

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By Paul Scholes
19th Sep 2013 12:03

As always....

they only smell the coffee when it's cold.

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