Small firms told to ditch IT role

Smaller accountancy firms should give up providing IT advice because the pace
of change in the technology market is too fast for them, according to Graham
Wylie, founder of FTSE100 software company Sage.

Wylie, now chief executive of software reseller TSG, said:‘It has become hard
for the profession to keep up. When the underlying technology changes, they
start to struggle.

‘We just provide the technology. [Accountancy firms] don’t want to invest to
train people in IT.’

Wylie helped found Sage back in 1981, and saw the company reach the FTSE100
in 1999. After 22 years at the software giant, he decided to change direction.

Six months after departing from Sage, he set up TSG from the acquisition of

TSG has expanded rapidly over the past two years, and through regular
acquisitions of other resellers now covers the north of England as well as
Scotland. Its presence is also spreading into the south of England with its
Basingstoke-based office.

But although it retains close links with Sage, TSG also offers software from
Microsoft (Navision), Iris (Exchequer), SAP (Business One) and Systems Union

Wylie said Microsoft was pushing for his company to use its CRM and Navision
products more often, but said that ‘these things take time’. He added: ‘We are
continuing to grow our Sage and Pegasus brands.’

TSG is focusing on providing customers with ‘vanilla products’, rather than
making bespoke solutions for particular industries and sectors.

‘SMEs are relying on us to make sure it all works, so it’s very hard to offer
bells and whistles,’ he said.

Despite suggestions that smaller businesses are increasingly looking to use
internet-hosted applications to manage accounting and sales information, Wylie
said that he was not seeing clients making the move from running server-based
business software.

‘Most clients are still storing accounts data on their hard drives rather
than using internet-based applications,’ Wylie said.

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