Industry split over software merger

The latest Accountancy Age/Sage survey of accountants in practice found that although many accountants are positive about consolidation, a similar number fear its possible effects on the quality of software and service levels.

Systems Union chief executive Paul Coleman said that investor pressure had forced companies to keep looking for avenues of growth, such as through acquisitions. ‘If software companies want to become bigger and more global then this is good for everyone involved,’ he said. Coleman also suggested that research and developments costs should fall as duplicate products, such as general ledger software, are consolidated.

ACCPAC president and CEO David Hood told clients that it would be ‘business as usual’ after its takeover by Sage. He also pointed out that ACCPAC’s software would become an important part of the overall Sage product strategy.

One in three (37%) respondents said that IT consolidation was bad for accountancy – they said that competition was better for consumers, and a lack of it would increase prices for software and reduced service levels.

They also pointed out that more competition encouraged innovation.

However, many accountants thought otherwise – 33% of respondents said consolidation was a good thing, as it created more focused expertise and meant more compatible and integrated accounting software products.

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