PwC to target global SME market with Sage tie-up

PwC and software giant Sage have announced a powerful new alliance in a determined push to win market share in the UK and global SME space.

Today’s launch will initially focus on the UK before the offering is rolled out across the planet and fuses the Sage Live offering and the ‘real-time social accounting’ of PwC UK’s cloud based accounting service, My Financepartner.

With around 125 million SMEs worldwide, responsible for employing around 65% of business employment, it’s a lucrative space for both outfits to target.

Tony Price, UK PwC Partner, leader of the My Financepartner service, said: “Providing small and medium business with useful and meaningful data on which to base their decision making lies at the heart of the Sage Live and My Financepartner offering.

“We are excited to be working closely with Sage and look forward to providing more S&MBs with the insight that they need to drive growth.”

In July, Deloitte became the latest Big Four player to make a concerted attempt at deeper market penetration in the SME space following a new “strategic partnership” also, with Sage.

Sage and Deloitte worked together on deploying Sage X3, a business management offering that enables companies to collect, store, manage and interpret data from a wide array of business activities.

PwC and Sage says its offering is “competitively-priced offering combining quality accounting and compliance with business advice, hosted entirely in the cloud on Sage Live”.

By using open Application Programme Interfaces (APIs), the Big Four firm’s My Financeparter will fuse data from numerous systems and “offer real time insight on the performance of Sage Live users’ businesses”.

Sage Live, meanwhile, is described as a “fully customisable” and cloud-based offering that can be used on any device, from smartphones to the desktop with users able to view data in real time and react as one team. With social networking at its core, Sage Live allows seamless interconnections between colleagues, customers, partners, suppliers, and other stakeholders.

Alan Laing, executive vice president, global strategic partnerships and alliances, Sage said: “This new partnership combines powerful financial technology with the type of business advice that Small & Medium Businesses simply haven’t been able to access in the past. It will transform business for ‘S&MBs’.”

Deloitte’s – and now PwC’s – move follows hot-on-the-heels of the launch of KPMG Enterprise, its strategic £40m investment to expand its service offerings to the growing network of 4.9 million privately-owned businesses across the UK.

But KPMG’s attempts to wrest business from high street practitioners, was deemed to be doomed to fail according to a recent poll of Accountancy Age readers.

That was the majority view when asked if the Big Four firm “can compete with the high street for business”, with 77% of the 88 readers polled, answering no. Just over a fifth (23%) felt their move into the SME sector would succeed.

The poll was conducted after KPMG’s vow to disrupt and dominate the SME market by telling small businesses “you can pay us the same as your current accountant, but we’ll give you more”.

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