Sage stole the limelight at Solutions 14 in Las Vegas this week with an innovative cloud KPI reporting tool that can pull in client data from both desktop and cloud applications.
Announced on Monday, Sage View can import general ledger data from Sage 50, Sage One and QuickBooks Desktop into a web-based data warehouse. Designed for accountants, the application presents data in a set of widget-like chart and graph formats that can be configured by the adviser to reflect different clients' key performance indicators.
The program basic price is $79 a month to support five client businesses, and extra clients can be added for $25 a month each. for The application's Client List screen doesn't leap out at you with pretty graphics, but does give the accountant a quick visual check on how all their clients are doing.
"I don't think this is the biggest product announcement in the company's history," deadpanned Sage vice president and general manager Jennifer Warawa at Sage's Solutions 14 keynote talk on Tuesday. "But it is pretty big news."
The main benefits she emphasized were productivity and the opportunity Sage View provides for delivering pro-active business advice.
Sage's Gary Olynik expanded on this theme in a more detailed presentation.
"It's all about delivering more revenue," he said. "You can look at KPIs and see if they're acceptable or if more insights are needed. If the target gross margin is 33% but they're on 29% you'll get alerted about it and can decide to look into the ledgers for more detail.
âIf you're looking at the cash balance and predicted payroll run and can see the a client is going to run out of cash, you can warn them about that before it happens, then you'd be a saviour. You'd gain that trusted advisor relationship.â
Accounting technology blogger and K2 trainer Brian Tankersley offered an initial assessment after seeing the program in Las Vegas.
"This isn't the Sage doing 1990s software. This was written in the past two years and has some things that are interesting," he said. "It will aggregate statistics across multiple clients daily, weekly or year-to-date and will put data out of QuckBooks Desktop, Sage One and Sage 50 US (formerly Peachtree)."
Back on the main stage at Solutions 14, Napa Valley based accountant and Nerd speaker Geni Whitehouse got "really excited" when she first saw Sage View. "I like the design, the client views and that it's multi-product. The fact that you can open it up so I can service all my clients is revolutionary."
The UK-owned company has often been characterised as an also-ran in the cloud accounting race, but Sage View has stolen a March on its big online rivals. QuickBooks Online and Xero both depend on third party applications for enhanced KPI dashboard reporting - although Xero has signalled its intention to add this element to its core product.
But with QBO Accountant users breathlessly awaiting the arrival of its enhanced client dashboard, it still won't give them detailed KPI analyses - particularly from desktop programs and rival accounting systems. Sage View is a significant innovation and really does give practitioners a tool to help them to open up conversations with clients around the key numbers in their business.
How long Sage will be able to enjoy those bragging rights before Intuit and Xero hit back is another matter. Here's what Jennifer Warawa had to say about the new product during her Solutions 14 interview with AccountingWEB: