New product announcements included enhanced automation around AP Automation and Sage Intacct Vendor Payments, powered by CSI.
Sage recently held their Transform 2021 event, the rebranded version of the customer event – hybrid for the first time – that Intacct used to hold before their acquisition by Sage. The event showcased advances in the Sage Intacct product, through both internal development and new strategic partnerships.
“We are calling 2021 the Year of the Customer, which is why this event has a new name,” said Dan Miller, EVP of Sage Intacct. “We believe Sage Intacct is all about business transformation. This reflects our focus on transforming the work that you do, every single day. Its all about elevating your work, using technology to make the day-to-day stuff easier and more efficient.”
Miller broke Sage Intacct’s philosophy into three buckets. One allows customers to own their own time, with additional automation that gives them time back. The second allows them to grow their way, reflecting the fact that every organization is unique. Finally, the third allows empowerment of customer teams, making them able to connect and collaborate at a high level.
“It’s all about automation,” said Julie Adams, Sage Intacct’s VP of Product Management. “We are helping our customers own their own time by streamlining workflows with automation. Automation has always been a key area of focus for us.” Existing innovations around automation include bank feeds and reconciliation, allocations, payments, approvals and Salesforce integration for NFP.
Sage also announced new automation enhancements at the event.
“Everyone will be super-excited to hear what we are doing on the AP Automation side,” Adams said.
These enhancements around digitalizing the process of inputting and paying bills will see the system be able to automatically read both PDFs from email attachments and old-fashioned mail, and then create an Accounts Payable bill in the system for review.
“We will streamline and automate from your bill ingestions to payment and reconciliations, all with proper controls,” said Winifer Cheng, Senior Director of Core Financials at Sage Intacct. “Sage Intacct will help you get your AP bills into the system.
“Many vendors email you bills as attachments,” Adams said. “You have to download those attachments , save them locally or some place shared, and then log into Intacct, manually enter all that bill information, and hit that post button. It’s a ton of manual steps right there”
“Intacct is going to automate that for you,” Cheng said. The customer only needs to forward these emails to the Sage Intacct Provider email address, and it will turn them into a draft AV bill for your review.
If the customer is sent a paper bill, it will have to be scanned and saved locally, but it will be automated too.
“You scan the draft bills and it’s all filled in in real time,” Cheng indicated.
This is all assisted by a new list screen, with what Adams called major usability enhancements.
“There is now a really powerful filtering capability,” she said. “You can now also cross-table attributes and drag and drop personalization.”
Another new addition is the new Sage Intacct Vendor Payments, powered by CSI.
“This is a new way to streamline and automate the global payment process,” Cheng said. “Intacct manages the best economic ways to pay a vendor, by cheque, ACH or virtual cards, depending on what your vendor accepts.” This eliminates having to manually print and mail payments by cheque.
“You also have real time visibility along the way as to where the payment is,” Adams added.
Adams noted that customers will start to see some of this in their hands, starting in the middle of next year.
Sage Intacct is also focused on helping customers grow their own way, by building the solution out into deeper and broader verticals and across all the geographic regions, This includes broadening beyond financials, and building out operations capabilities around pick-pack-ship in wholesale distribution, for example. Some of this will be built out internally, and some will be done through partnerships.
One of these first partnerships will be with ScanForce.
“We have a number of partners that we really want to do more with to better serve this vertical,” said Pamela Novoa Ralli, Vice President of Strategic Pursuits at Sage Intacct. “We are starting with ScanForce to provide inventory automation, barcode scanning and transactional capability, across all key warehousing capabilities. We are taking the same focus on real estate, working with our partner Paya.” This allows Sage Intacct to meet construction companies’ very specific demands for payroll.”
“That allows us to focus on delivering very specific things for construction, things like change management and construction-specific billing and construction-specific reports and analytics,” Adams said.
Another new partnering announcement is the delivery of Sage Intacct Payroll, powered by ADP.
“The single greatest solution that we got from customers for an integrated solution related to payroll,” Novoa Ralli said. “ADP is already a member of our thriving marketplace with over 200 shared customers. The deeper and newer integration will be coming really soon.”
“We have also been working with AWS in bringing AWS into the marketplace,” said Aziz Benmalek, EVP, Partners & Alliances, at Sage. “We launched it and are doing a pilot and engaging with some key customers.”
Benmalek stressed that in addition to pursuing deeper vertical and horizontal expansion, Sage Intacct is also expanding globally, by enabling multinational customers.
“We are already in the market globally and have been particularly strong in English-speaking countries – the U.S., U.K., Australia, South Africa, Canada,” he said. “We are continuing to expand there but are also looking to expand to non- English speaking countries.”
Benmalek noted for example that there is not a French version of Sage Intacct today, even though they sell into Canada.
“The legislation around accounting, specifically taxes and compliance, needs to be done as well,” he said. “We are looking at getting this done by the second half of our fiscal year.” Sage’s fiscal year started in October.
Benmalek also emphasized that Sage’s partner channels will be even more critical going forward.
“Our strategy is very clear, that a partner-led strategy is necessary to scale and grow in a big way,” he said. “We have established different partner ecosystems. Our reseller business is strong, particularly in driving that transformation into the cloud, and it can drive more cloud-connected and cloud-native business. We also had a major PWC announcement this week, and outsourcing offering based on Intacct into their intermediate accounts from a BPOS point of view.”
Benmalek said that Intacct is popular among Sage’s large accountancy channel.
“Our accountancy channel benefits by Sage Intacct being the preferred solution for the accountants, over 80,000 of them,” he indicated.
Sage’s third channel around Intacct is the ISV ecosystem, which the company continues to strengthen and grow, and the fourth is the services ecosystem.
“Some of these are VARs and some are services companies, who build practices around our medium business products like Intacct and X3,” Benmalek said.
Finally, Benmalek noted that Sage is strong in Canada on both the VAR and the accountant side.
“Adding more Intacct is a big focus for us in Canada on the VAR side in the medium segment,” he said. “The Sage Intacct Accountant Program allows CPA firms to build outsourced offerings to customers based on Intacct. This has been a successful program, and we are launching it in Canada as well.”