Technology – Up close and personal.

Sage, the UK accounting software developer, has revealed plans to increase or expand its UK accounting centre network, in an ‘attempt to become more responsive to the needs of accountants.’

Speaking to Accountancy Age at the recent Sage Expo in London, UK general manager Adrian Grace, said the company was aiming to become more ‘up close and personal’ with the accounting community.

Sage currently has seven centres across the UK, but that number looks likely to increase as the current operations expand.

As part of its plans, the company has revealed it is also likely to stage more expos and roadshows to gain face-to-face contact with accountants.

Grace added: ‘We are the first choice for business software in the UK, but we can do better. If we rest on our laurels we will not remain number one for long.’

Meanwhile, the company has announced strong growth in both turnover and profit for the six months to 31 March 2001.

Turnover increased by 13% to #229.6m, while pre-tax profits rose to #59.2m.

The company derived almost half of its revenue from its US-based operations, where it registered the highest growth in turnover to #106.5m.

However, the UK region was by far the most profitable, generating profits of #28.3m on turnover of #71.4m.

The only region to suffer a fall in revenues and profits was Europe, which saw profits fall more than 15% to #11.6m, and turnover down 8% to #51.6m

Commenting on the results, chairman Michael Jackson said Sage had not been ‘immune to the US slowdown’, but nonetheless had delivered ‘satisfactory results for the full year’.

He blamed the fall in profits in Europe on lower new licence revenues and restructuring operations, but said Sage continued to perform well in Germany and was improving in France.

Jackson praised the progress made at the company as well as its improved profitability, and said a key reason for Sage’s growth was its ability to generate revenues from its existing customer base, despite a decline in licence revenues after 2000.

In its statement, Sage also confirmed the acquisition of the customer relation management software maker Interact Commerce Corporation on 3 May.

‘The acquisition of Interact marks a significant development in our strategy of offering SMEs a comprehensive suite of business management software solutions,’ the company said.

Sage will pay shareholders interim dividends of 0.143p per share on 19 June 2001.

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