Sage gets the BI show on the road

23 Feb 2007

Sage will be actively promoting business intelligence (BI) tools to accountancy firms as part of a product roadshow taking place next month.

BI allows companies to analyse their financial data to gain greater insight into how they are performing. These software tools are starting to become popular among smaller companies but a hurdle to their adoption has been the fact that BI is not considered essential to the business, in the same way as payroll and accounts software, for example.

Although individual small businesses or sole traders often don’t have the time to analyse their figures, accountants are in the position to do so, said Will Parker, head of sales at Sage Ireland.

Next month Sage will be holding a series of accountants’ roadshows around the country, in Cork, Clare Donegal and Dublin, where, among a range of subjects, company representatives will be talking about the potential benefits for accountants if they were to use Sage BI tools to help provide analysis for their clients.

“We think that’s the route into the small business market,” he told “If you’re a busy plumber, how can you do all this analysis? Your accountant would have all the data and can tell you in plain English what jobs are most profitable or what your debtor days are. That sort of analysis would be useful to you if you don’t have time to do it yourself.”

Parker said that accounts would be able to identify and explain the underlying trends in their clients’ businesses by extracting the data from Sage accounting products such as Line 50 and analyse it in the BI tools.

Unlike in the enterprise, where the drive for BI has come from large corporate customers, Parker said that manufacturers had to do more to advocate its benefits for the small and medium business market. “It’s not for everyone,” he acknowledged. “When accountancy or payroll software came out, they were must-haves because of compliance with accounting rules, but with BI, the pressure to implement it is not the same because the business is operating OK.”

By Gordon Smith