Sage this month announced the launch of its new cloud accounting platform, Handisoft Cloud, which will offer firms of “all sizes” a centralised suite to manage their practices, compliance, data, analytics and clients themselves in a bid to take the heavy lifting out of compliance work and give accountants more time to offer “value-added services”.
“The reality is that the latest data we have [shows] more than 80 per cent of [accountants’] time is still spent on core compliance work, less than 10 per cent on real value-added services,” said Kerry Agiasotis, managing director of Sage Asia-Pacific.
The suite of services housed within Handisoft will offer firms integrated solutions related to practice management spanning job and task management, timesheet tracking, billing and payments, and document storage.
It also promises to make compliance easier by offering BAS and tax preparation and lodgement services, accounts preparation and reporting solutions, and company compliance and SMSF administration via BGL integration.
Mr Agiasotis said that the platform could emerge as a solution to firms that “don’t know where to start” on streamlining parts of their business and that it could even — as it has in some cases so far — offer some firms new income streams.
“More than two-thirds of firms out there don’t know where to start,” he said. “They either don’t have the capability or the experience to know how to create new services.
“That’s one of the core tenets of what we’ve done with Handisoft. It’s not just about advancing the core business compliance, it’s really leveraging all of this data that they’ve got access to, and all of these modern capabilities, reporting and analytics, and strict management interaction, to create new services.
“We’ve already got a client, for example, who has been able to monetize the reporting and analytics capabilities that we’ve provided, essentially as an add-on advisory service, to provide business insights for their clients.”
Handisoft Cloud will also enable users access to some 3,000 additional apps through its app exchange.
Speaking on the platform’s mass integration capabilities, Mr Agiasotis likened Handisoft to an app marketplace boasting numerous out-of-the-box plug-and-play options, with BGL’s integration just one of them.
“One of the frustrations [among our clients] have been, ‘Look, we really like using [other specialist apps]. But we want that to work and integrate with Handisoft. So, can you make that happen?’ And with this release, we did,” the managing director said.
“So, a client and practice management platform built on force.com is really open. And we think about this — this core client master that now integrates with any application — and that’s probably our biggest point of difference.”
Before the launch of Handisoft, much of Sage’s contact with the accounting industry had been with smaller firms and independent practitioners. But Mr Agiasotis anticipates that the new platform will see uptake among larger firms, too.
He said: “Whether you’re a small firm with a hundred clients or a large [firm] with thousands of clients, you’re going to end up having tens, or potentially thousands, of clients on all of these different systems. That management of data is a big part of it.
“So, for large firms, they can create their own workflows, they can create their own applications. And we’ve already got clients that have been doing that.”