The Financial Week Ahead/IT File – Sage shaves product range.

Sage has written to its accountancy software customers, confirming its announcement to discontinue or update eight products from its current range.

Compounding the consolidation within the market, the Newcastle-based supplier has carried an independent review of its existing products and selected a core range of ‘best of breed’ audit, taxation and practice management software.

As a result of the review, a number of products gained following the acquisition of CSM including Taxman, Accountant’s Desktop, MinuteMan and AuditMan II are to be discontinued.

However, the company has announced it will offer free or low cost upgrades for users of the packages and will offer support until April next year.

Other products which are to be shelved or updated are Hartley Time Management, Sage Final Accounts Production (formerly Audit 2000) and Sage taxation – Personal Tax (formerly Taxsoft).

Gavin May, Sage general manager of the Professional Accountants Division, said in the letter: ‘As the pace of technological change increases, smaller independent software vendors are finding it increasingly difficult to make the necessary investments in R&D to develop and support up to date versions of their applications.’

May added: ‘Sage believes that is in the interest of our customers to focus our resources on a core range of audit, taxation and practice management software that meets the needs of all sectors of the accounting profession.’

The decision to reduce the number of products it supports follows the recent acquisitions of Hartley, Apex and CSM.

However, a Sage spokesman denied the company has suffered database problems which may have led to a number of customers not receiving the discontinuation plans.

Other consolidation in the market includes the recent Systems Union decision for the Pegasus brand to scrap five products.

The move followed the acquisition of both companies by in February.

The move is part of plans to concentrate on e-commerce offerings. The products to be withdrawn are Pegasus Senior, Edition, Connection, Pegasus Capital Accounts and Payroll and Pegasus Capital Lite Accounts and Payroll – and the company was looking at selling Paypoint.

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