Welcome to the new Sage.com and our community for business builders – Sage Advice.
At Sage we help customers with all aspects of their business – from accounting, people and payroll to the movement of money. We know that red tape and the cost of doing business keeps you awake at night and we’re passionate about making your life easier, freeing you up to focus on the parts of your businesses that you love the most.
Sage Advice is here to help you meet your business challenges. Here you’ll find information, insight and inspiration to help you work smarter and keep your business running.
Over the last few months I’ve been talking to our customers and small business owners up and down the country – and I want to share with you the three main lessons I’ve learned:
1. The UK has a productivity gap, but technology can help and entrepreneurs are ready to embrace it.
The UK is facing a productivity crisis. Our output per hour is now 22% lower than the US and France, and almost 27% lower than Germany. For the UK to be the place to grow your business, we need to improve productivity.
This is a big task, but a major way we can achieve it is by reducing the time businesses spend on administration and helping them to embrace technology, whether that’s accounting software, automating payroll or artificial intelligence.
Technology is creating more opportunities for entrepreneurs to follow their dream. The evolution of AI and machine learning, data science and ‘off the shelf’ digital solutions are empowering many more people to access new markets.
So here’s the wake-up call: Today companies spend an average of 120 working days a year on administrative tasks, but over half of these are carried out without using any kind of digital software. In an era of rapid technology innovation – we cannot let half of the UK’s businesses get left behind.
You’ve told us that you’re ready to embrace technology and automation. That’s great because a third of small businesses that have a focus on digital innovation have reported growth of more than 10% in the last year.
On Sage Advice we’ll be talking to you about how you can drive your business forward by moving to the cloud. We know that a third of people buying accounting software are now choosing cloud software, up from just 11% four years ago.
For UK businesses the time is right and the opportunity is big!
2. Technology skills are in demand and opportunities to learn are there for everyone
A second step towards improving productivity, and building businesses for the future, is to create a more inclusive approach to developing technology skills – involving many more young people.
Britain will need an extra 2.287 million digitally skilled workers by 2020 to satisfy our growing tech economy. We can’t afford to have so few people considering a career in technology, especially women. Only 9.8% of those completing a computing A-level course this year were girls. How else can we attract more women into a career in technology?
Experts on Sage Advice will be providing guidance on how to bridge this skills gap, giving you the information you need to improve your workforce diversity and productivity in order to grow your business.
3. Inspiration is everywhere! Learn from your peers and customers
Hearing our customers’ stories is one of the favourite parts of my job and you might have seen that recently we’ve been featuring some of your stories in a national advertising campaign in the UK that tells #SageStories – true stories of businesses, from start-up to enterprise, that are driven by passion.
We met people like Andy Stephenson, an entrepreneur who turned his passion for creating gifts for his nieces and nephew into a thriving business – The Weekend Box Club.
We also heard from Gavin Marshall, CFO of Bristol Sport, a company that oversees the business, commercial, and operational interests of the city of Bristol’s affiliated football, rugby, and basketball clubs. His company has been instilling pride, focus, and a sense of unity in young people across the city.
This is a quick snapshot of what our customers are achieving, however there is so much to learn from these stories of triumph, failure and determination to succeed.
On Sage Advice we’ll be bringing you many more stories, interviews and videos about how to turn your passion into a business, develop your skills, and grow a business for the future. Stay tuned!