Sage highlights automation, mobile features

Accounting

Business software developer Sage kicked off its annual user conference with a glimpse at some of the new capabilities and features in its development pipeline, with a heavy focus on automation and more mobile features.

In the opening keynote Wednesday in Las Vegas, executive vice president of Sage Intacct Dan Miller noted that the company had renamed its conference Sage Transform to reflect its commitment to helping users

“What does business transformation really mean? It’s all about elevating your work, about using technology to make the day-to-day stuff you do more efficient and better,” he said. “We’ve seen digital transformation efforts accelerating as companies focus on returning to pre-pandemic growth levels. Sage continues to expand the capabilities of the Sage Intacct product family to streamline processes and improve business insight. This helps our customers focus more time on their company’s mission and making a difference in the lives of their customers, partners and employees.”

Miller and other executives from the company then highlighted a number of new and pending enhancements and features that the company has planned, grouped around three key ways they hope to support users:

1. “Own your time.” By streamlining and automating workflows, the company hopes to free users up from time-consuming tasks, giving them more hours to focus on higher priorities.

“We’ve automated the AP process from bill ingestion right through payment in Sage Intacct,” explained senior director of product management Winifer Cheng, explaining that features in the pipeline will now let users email invoices directly into Sage Intacct, will check uploaded invoices for viruses and make sure they’re in the right format, check for duplicate or invalid bills, and give users a draft to approve.

Sage executives kicking off Sage Transform (l to r): Winifer Cheng, Julie Adams and Dan Miller.

“You’ll start to see this in your hands early next year,” said vice president of product management Julie Adams. “This will allow you to own your own time, and to really focus on your value add.”

Sage is also working on advanced payments management capabilities, and its new Sage Intacct Vendor Payments powered by CSI, will streamline and improve payments by, among other things, automatically choosing the optimal way to pay vendors, whether by ACH, check or whatever method they accept.

2. “Grow your way.” The Sage execs also highlighted the importance of features tied to the specific needs of the customer’s organization, such as offering richer reporting and analytics capabilities for software and SaaS companies, or partnering with Scanforce to provide mobile barcode scanning for warehouse management.

“We’re looking at broadening and going beyond financials for our verticals, both vertically and horizontally,” said Adams. “In some cases we’ll build those capabilities, and sometimes we’ll partner – and sometimes we’ll do both. And whatever we deliver, you’ll be able to take it and optimize it further for your specific situation.”

This area also includes responding to customer needs, whether that’s by adding multilanguage capabilities for multinationals, or meeting their often-expressed desires.

“The single biggest request for integration we see from customers is (drumroll, please!) payroll,” said vice president of product Pamela Novoa Ralli, in announcing the new Sage Intacct Payroll Powered by ADP. “ADP’s already a member of our marketplace, but we’re bringing deeper and newer integration soon.”

3. “Empower your team.” The company aims to do this in a number of ways, according to Adams: “Sage Intacct empowers finance teams by arming them with deep insights, helping manage execution to get work done, and meeting users where they are and how they work.”

In particular, she noted a number of improvements to their mobile functionality. “We’re revamping Sage Intacct Mobile to take advantage of the native capabilities,” she said. “You’ll log in and land on your personalized homepage dashboard, and other dashboards are just a tap away. We want to combine all the capabilities on mobile.”

Among other mobile features, users will be able to digitize receipts on their phones and submit expense reports with a single tap, and managers will be able to handle expense report approvals on their phones.

A sneak preview

Noting that the company has a big release coming this Friday, vice president of engineering Aravinda Gollapudi highlighted two future developments of particular interest.

First is the new Data Mesh, which will let users add all sorts of non-financial data – such as payroll and planning data from within the organization, as well other data from external sources – for deeper analytics and more insights.

“Helping our customers become more data-driven orgs is one of our key goals,” she said. “All of our current reports will work with the Data Mesh, and our solution will be interoperable with other BI tools you may already be using.”

Second are enhancements to Sage Intacct’s API infrastructure. “This means a lot more automation, a lot more workflows that accountants can build to extend the solution quicker and more easily,” she explained. “This infrastructure investment is about removing barriers.”

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