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Preparing enterprises for a tech-driven future with organisational design

Today’s enterprises are increasingly tech savvy, quickly recognising how innovation enables positive outcomes and adopting the tools that make doing business easy. Buzzwords like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and blockchain, are now commonly understood by C-level executives. Yet the question remains: How do businesses organise themselves to ensure emerging technologies are empowering them, not overpowering them?

Shivani Govil, EVP Ecosystems and Emerging Technology says, “Companies looking to adopt new and emerging technologies need to consider the areas of their business that need to flex organisationally in order to ensure successful implementation. Closing the gap in understanding and planning at a corporate level across organisational culture and design could be the silver bullet needed to ensure a new technology strategy doesn’t impact culture.”

Download the report today to understand the impact of technology on business models, enable teams to adopt and implement new technologies effectively, execute a technology deployment focussed on realising and tracking benefits for all, and keep ethics at the centre of organisational design and tech adoption.

Download the full report (PDF, 752kB)

 

As the accounting profession prepares for the coming decade, there's a confident realization that clients are demanding more, technology can drive better ways of working, and that core beliefs previously driving the profession should now be re-evaluated.

The Practice of Now 2019, now in its third year, includes the findings of independent research surveying 3000 accountants from across the globe. The findings reveal what the working landscape for accountants looks like today, as well as how it will look like in the future, offering real-world perspectives on how today's accountants can continue to thrive.

Download the report today to find out why accountancy is an evolving profession, how accountants are on the cusp of change, why a diverse workforce is needed to meet client expectations, and how accountants are building a practice ready for the third decade of the 21st century.

Download the full report (PDF, 6.75 MB)

The publication of Accounting for Change – A practical guide for accountants is written by accountants, for accountants – this e-book offers a collection of tips and advice designed to help practices navigate digital disruption.

Sharing the insights and direction that underpin the future of the accounting profession, this practical guide focuses on four key pillars: Talent, Culture, Preparedness and Implementation of digital change.

Jennifer Warawa, EVP – Partners, Accountants and Alliances says, “Over the last 20 years, technology has transformed the way we live and work forever. This is especially true of one of the world’s oldest professions - accountancy. This week I will be speaking at the World Congress of Accountants on the shift that I have seen in the profession, and this guide is a companion to that discussion, helping accountants navigate and prepare for the years ahead.”

Download the full report (PDF, 629 KB)

The whitepaper distills key insights from a recent discussion between government and international business leaders - hosted by Sage - about industry's role in helping people understand the ethical implications of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Artificial Intelligence (AI) delivers real insights with real world applications. Its global presence materializes in business, academic and government innovations. AI impacts personal and professional lives - from an HR manager finding the right hire for a technical job to someone about to have a baby finding the nearest hospital. However, there is still a global need to demystify AI for people in an ethical, trustworthy and sustainable way. Businesses need to lead that process with an honest, global conversation about AI's benefits to industry, government and our personal lives.

This whitepaper details takeaways and recommendations from the discussion that underscore how industry can shed light on AI development for regular people, gain company-wide support for ethical AI practices, adopt ethical standards for AI development and apply ethical approaches to AI development in the real world. It details takeaways and recommendations from the discussion.

Download the full report (PDF, 4.85 MB)

Sage FutureMakers Labs launched to bring AI educational and work experience direct to under 18s across five UK and Irish cities

Sage has revealed encouraging signs that the UK’s emerging role as a world leader in Artificial Intelligence (AI) could be boosted by homegrown talent; as 1 in 4 (25%) young people aged 8 to 18 are considering a future career in the industry.

Undertaken by YouGov, the findings are based on responses from 1,484 children aged 8 to 18 in the UK. They indicate that the talent pipeline is being spearheaded by young people who cite their existing enjoyment of technology in general (66%) and believing a career in AI would be exciting and motivating (37%) or wanting to work at the cutting edge of technology (31%).

Whilst these are reasons to be optimistic, there are also warning signs the diversity essential to building both an inclusive AI industry and one that mitigates negative job prospects for tomorrow’s workforce, could be at risk if not addressed now. Of the young people surveyed, those who were unlikely to consider a career in AI (56%), said:

  • The most cited reason (29%) was that they would prefer a more creative career
  • Nearly a quarter (24%) said they did not think they would have the right educational qualifications.
  • A worrying 21% simply did not think they would be smart enough for a job in AI

These findings indicate that there are still too many young people being left in the dark when it comes to the diverse types of expertise, experience and education that AI-related jobs will be built on; from artists, creative writers and linguists to programmers and problem solvers. This could potentially hamper the strides the UK has made in becoming a leader in AI.

The research marks the UK launch of a series of events showcasing AI for young people, Sage FutureMakers Labs, run through Sage Foundation in partnership with charity Tech for Life. The sessions are designed to educate more young people on the diverse range of skills required for a career in AI at an early stage in their education; including ethical design as part of the course curriculum.

Sage has already highlighted the need to ensure the UK has a diverse and healthy talent pipeline to support their customers, the business community and UK economy to deliver on the potential productivity benefits of AI in 2017’s Ethics of Code. Now, Sage is calling for more action from government and the tech industry to tackle the elitism problem in the AI industry and emerging technologies.

Over the next six months, the free to attend, Sage FutureMakers labs will run across the UK and Ireland; empowering over 150 young people, aged 18 and under. After these initial courses, around 30 young people will be offered a more in-depth one-day course in September, with around 15 then offered a relevant placement with Sage or a Sage partner working in AI.

Follow @sagefoundation and @TechforLifeUK for updates on Sage FutureMakers Lab.

To find out more and sign up to the sessions please visit Tech for Life.

New Sage report reveals the devastating impact of late payments on Small & Medium Businesses around the world.

A report published by Sage reveals the detrimental impacts of late payments on Small & Medium Businesses, costing a total of $3trillion globally. The study reveals that 1 in 10 invoices are paid late, and 8% are either never paid or paid so late that businesses are forced to write them off as bad debt.

‘Late Payments: The Domino Effect’ highlights that almost 40% of Small & Medium Businesses experience a direct negative impact from late payments - from reducing investment in innovation, to cancelling Christmas bonuses, to cutting staff pay.

Sage has surveyed thousands of individuals across technology and consumer communities in the United States and United Kingdom. Our aim was to better understand the real human attitudes toward AI.

The impact of AI is global. Perceptions of AI vary across tech, business and consumer communities around the world, but one thing is clear: AI's impact on business and, soon, our daily lives, is the tech topic of our time.

Sage has surveyed thousands of individuals across technology and consumer communities in the United States and United Kingdom. Our aim was to better understand the real human attitudes toward AI, to pinpoint where and how people develop their perceptions of AI, and to continue to work to identify the real, immediate issues that need to be addressed.

"Some of our findings were surprising." Says Kriti Sharma, Sage VP Bots and AI “Although most people are optimistic about AI, many - nearly half of all consumers surveyed readily admitted they have "no idea what AI is all about." Although those in the technology industry consider AI to be the most important topic around right now, there is a lot we still need to do to better educate the world about AI, define it, and communicate what it can really do.”

Download the full report (PDF: 553 KB)

Sage Foundation and LKMco present new insight on the reality of youth homeless and what we can all do to support young people fighting for a better start in life.

#placetocallhome
Follow the conversation on @sagefoundation

This report was commissioned by Sage Foundation and written by the education and youth development ‘think and action tank’ LKMco. (lkmco.org.uk |  @LKMco)

We had one big question to ask.

How does a young person end up without a place to call home?

Sadly, thousands do, every single day. Youth homelessness is a huge, under-recognized and growing problem that needs to be tackled urgently.

Sage embarked on this report because we are passionate about the potential of all young people, and our philanthropic commitment through Sage Foundation, is to work towards a world where no young person is held back from reaching that potential.

We saw the importance of commissioning independent research into youth homelessness in the UK, to better understand the scale of the challenge, what inspiring work is already happening and understand where we can best offer our help. We decided to focus on London and Newcastle – the latter, Sage’s birthplace.

Why is this important for our Business Builder community?

Ending youth homelessness and ensuring that young people have the support they need is not only possible, but it is also our duty as a fair and modern society. Tackling this now changes what our future looks like.

It is our belief that businesses have a central role to play in the eradication of youth homelessness. We must use our resources to support and collaborate with; local authorities, policymakers, charity partners and educators in our communities, to strengthen, advocate for and build services that tackle youth homelessness and its root causes.

Research Findings: What did we find out?

The reality of youth homelessness goes far beyond our basic understanding of sleeping on a street corner – indeed, it is a reality that is often hard to see at all.

The national story we found is startling. 16-24 year olds who are accepted as statutorily homeless, make up just 12% (16,000) of the total number of young people that approach their local authority for support; nearly double that number will be turned away (22%, 30,000).

These figures also fail to account for the ‘hidden homeless’; those who are living on the streets or just getting by on couch surfing with no guarantee of where they will sleep each night. On any one night, up to 255,000 young people are estimated to experience hidden homelessness. They are all at risk, they all need help. Yet, they remain invisible and are unlikely to be monitored or offered appropriate support.

Many of the risk factors for youth homelessness could be spotted early and if they were tackled properly we could dramatically reduce the problem. For example, around a fifth of young homeless people are thought to be care leavers, a quarter are LGBT (and have often had difficult family experiences linked to this), and 14% have a history of youth offending. Improved responses to each of these life experiences could help more young people flourish.

Listening to Young Voices: Our research approach

Young homeless people’s voices are too often missing from the debate but our research reveals the important interactions between education and youth homelessness.

We found that failures in the system mean that far too many young people are forced out of education, despite frequently having high educational aspirations. Yet, these are the very young people most in need of the stability and opportunities offered by education.

That is why in this report, more than anything, we wanted to listen to and share some of these young people’s stories first-hand, rather than making assumptions about what their lives are like and what kind of help they want or need.

Thanks to Grenfell Housing Association and Your Homes Newcastle we have worked with 10 young people to develop this report. Aged between 17 to 23 they were trained in photography and interview skills, so that they could be in the driving seat in telling their unique, deeply personal and often traumatic stories. It is our privilege to introduce these remarkable young people in our report.

What happens now?

This report is just the beginning for Sage and we hope others; our recommendations provide a road map for how everyone can play their part.

This is a call for collaboration, as much as action. In 2018, we will look to work with business, charity, education, community and government leaders to build on the recommendations from this report. We’ll continue working with and consulting young people. We’ll start in Sage’s hometown of Newcastle. And, we’ll be looking for innovative and practical support that will stop at risk young people ever experiencing homelessness.

Please keep following @sagefoundation for more news on this project.

Download Executive Summary (PDF: 1 MB)

Download Full Report (PDF: 4.13 MB)

The Ethics of Code: Five Core Principles for Accountable AI published to provide guide rails for creating ethical and responsible AI for business

At Sage we pride ourselves in being the champion of Small & Medium sized businesses - this responsibility spans raising local government issues, designing awesome products and helping our customers consume the latest and greatest technology that is available today.

As we embark on the 4th Industrial Revolution, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the buzzword on most businesses "to-do" list. With this trend rising in prominence we felt it was important to address the underlying questions that AI brings, and call our peers in the tech industry to action, by asking that they develop AI that is ethical and accountable.

Read more about how we are working to our own ‘The Ethics of Code: Five Core Principles for Accountable AI’.

Madrid February 6, 2017: Sage, the world leader in cloud accounting systems, has just launched an Aid Plan to help SMEs and professional firms in Iberia with their digital transformation plans.

The €3 million aid fund will benefit around 5,400 companies and is intended to enable them to acquire the new management solutions Sage has recently launched: Sage 50c; Sage200c; Sage Despachos for Life and Sage X3.

Luis Pardo, Sage MD Iberia, said, “The launch of this aid plan reinforces our commitment to help small and medium-sized companies and professional firms, the ‘Business Builders’ of this country, to incorporate leading technology in the market, helping them to improve their management processes and successfully address their digital transformation.

16 January 2017: Small businesses continue to feel ignored by the government, according to new research by Sage. The research highlights that 67% of small businesses feel under-represented by politicians in the run up to the annual World Economic Forum (WEF), where they continue to be omitted from the agenda. As a result, Sage CEO Stephen Kelly has announced that he will boycott Davos for the second year running.

In order to give business builders a platform to connect with policy makers, Sage is launching its ‘Forum for Business Builders’. The Forum brings entrepreneurs from around the world insights, events and policy-forming partnerships to give them a powerful collective voice that can be heard on the world stage.

It builds on Sage’s ongoing commitment to bring governments together with business builders. In December, Sage visited Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in Australia and hosted an Taosieach Enda Kenny in Dublin to discuss small business challenges in their countries. It also hosted two events in the UK gathering Ministers and trade associations to discuss the implications of the EU Referendum on entrepreneurs.

The first piece of global research from the Forum shows that entrepreneurs remain optimistic, despite global instability. Three quarters (75%) anticipate their business turnover to grow (26%) or remain constant (49%) over the next 12 months, while more than a third (34%) plan to launch a new product or service. However, red tape continues to be their biggest challenge going into 2017 (18%), and they are looking to the government to provide better business support; almost half (49%) felt that this was the most positive change their government could make this year, followed by improvements to tax (46%) and funding in innovation (34%).

Sage CEO Stephen Kelly, said: “Only too often when the world’s policy makers discuss the global economic picture, small businesses are excluded from the discussion. This is most evident with the annual World Economic Forum in Davos where small businesses aren’t even an item on the agenda. Worse still, 60% don’t even know the event is taking place. It’s crazy when you think they create two thirds of all the jobs in most economies, and represent over 98% of all businesses.

Kelly continues “Business builders are the heroes of the economy. They toil away long after the rest of us have gone home, making personal sacrifices to grow their businesses, to support their families and communities. Policy makers and big business must wake up to the fact that these heroes need to be supported and given a voice, if we are to ensure the future health of the world’s economy.”

The Forum is open to all small businesses and will be refreshed regularly with diverse content and insights from guest contributors and advisors.