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Preparing enterprises for a tech-driven future with organizational design

Today’s enterprises are increasingly tech savvy, quickly recognizing 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 organize 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 organizationally in order to ensure successful implementation. Closing the gap in understanding and planning at a corporate level across organizational 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 focused on realizing and tracking benefits for all, and keep ethics at the center of organizational design and tech adoption.

Download the full report (PDF, 752kB)

Practice of Now 2019 Report

 

As the accounting profession prepares for the coming decade, it is becoming apparent that clients are demanding more, that technology can drive better ways of working, and that core beliefs previously driving the profession must now be re-evaluated.

The Practice of Now 2019, now in its third year, includes the findings of independent research surveying 3,000 accountants from all over the globe. The findings reveal the present and future working landscape for accountants, 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)

Publication of The Accounting for change e-book, i.e., a practical guide for accountants written by accountants, offers a collection of tips and advice designed to help practitioners navigate digital disruption.

In sharing the insights and direction that underpin the future 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 forever transformed the way we live and work. This is especially true of one of the world’s oldest professions: accountancy. This week I'll be speaking at the World Congress of Accountants on the shifts I've noticed in the profession, with this guide serving to accompany the discussion, in helping accountants navigate and prepare for the years ahead.”

Download the full report (PDF, 629 KB)

The white paper distills key insights from a recent discussion held between government and international business leaders —  hosted by Sage—about industry’s role in helping understand the ethical implications of artificial intelligence (AI).

Artificial Intelligence (AI) delivers real insights with real-world applications. Its global presence is felt in business, academic, and governmental innovations. AI impacts personal and professional lives – from an HR manager finding the right recruit to fill a technical job to someone ready to deliver a baby finding the nearest hospital. The global need is still present, however, to demystify AI in an ethical, trustworthy and sustainable manner. Businesses must lead this process with an honest, comprehensive conversation about AI’s benefits to industry, government, and our personal lives.

This white paper details the takeaways and recommendations from discussions underscoring how industry can: shed light on AI development for a lay audience, gain company-wide support for ethical AI practices, adopt ethical standards for AI development, and apply ethical approaches to AI developments in the real world. 

Download the full report (PDF, 4.85 MB)

Sage FutureMakers Labs launched an effort to bring the AI educational and work experience directly to the under-18 segment across five UK and Irish cities.

Sage has uncovered encouraging signs that the UK’s emerging role as a world leader in artificial intelligence (AI) may be boosted by homegrown talent: 1 in 4 (25%) young people aged 8 to 18 are considering a career in the industry.

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

While these findings give reason to be optimistic, they also serve to caution that the diversity required to build an inclusive AI industry that enhances job prospects for tomorrow’s workforce might be jeopardized if not addressed now. The young people surveyed who were unlikely to pursue a career in AI (56%) noted:

  • The most widely cited reason (29% of respondents) indicated a preference for a more creative career.
  • Nearly a quarter (24%) felt they would be denied access to the appropriate educational qualifications.
  • A worrisome 21% simply did not think they would be smart enough for a job in AI.

These findings reflect the still excessive numbers of young people being left out when considering the diverse types of expertise, experience, and education inherent in AI-related jobs, from artists, creative writers, and linguists to programmers and problem-solvers. This segmentation could potentially impede the progress the UK has made toward becoming a leader in AI.

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

Sage has already underscored the need to ensure the UK retains a diverse and healthy talent pipeline in order to support their customers, the business community and the UK economy, thereby delivering the potential productivity benefits of AI in its 2017 Ethics of Code. Sage is now calling for more action from both government and the tech industry to confront the problem of elitism in the AI industry and emerging technologies.

Over the next six months, Sage FutureMakers' free labs will be held across the UK and Ireland, thus empowering at least 150 young people aged 18 and under. After these initial courses, some 30 young people will be offered a more in-depth, one-day course in September, with about 15 of them then being awarded a job with Sage or a Sage partner working in AI.

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

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

New Sage report reveals the devastating impact of late payments on small & medium-sized businesses around the world.

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

‘"The Domino Effect: The impact of late payments highlights that nearly 40% of small & medium-sized businesses experience a direct negative impact from late payments— from reducing investment in innovation to slashing Christmas bonuses to cutting staff pay.

Read more

Sage has surveyed thousands of individuals across technology and consumer communities in the United States and United Kingdom. Our aim therein was to better understand 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, on our daily lives, is the most pressing tech topic.

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

“Some of our findings were indeed surprising.” According to Kriti Sharma, Sage VP of Bots and AI: “Although most people are optimistic about AI, many—nearly half of all consumers surveyed—readily admit to having 'no idea what AI is all about.' Although those in the technology industry consider AI to be the most important topic right now in their field, much is still required 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 insights on the reality of youth homelessness and what we can all do to support young people searching 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 have one major 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 addressed urgently.

Sage embarked on producing this report because we care about the potential of all young people, and our philanthropic commitment through Sage Foundation is to work toward a world in which no young person is prevented from reaching their potential.

We have witnessed the importance of commissioning independent research into youth homelessness in the UK, in order to better grasp the magnitude of the challenge, identify the inspiring work already taking place, and understand where our efforts should be focused. We decided to focus on London and Newcastle, the latter being Sage’s birthplace.

Why is this so important for our business builder community?

Ending youth homelessness and providing young people with the support they need is not only possible—it's our duty as a fair and modern society. Tackling this problem now changes what our future will look like.

It is our firm belief that businesses play a central role in the eradication of youth homelessness. We must use our resources to support and collaborate with local authorities, policy makers, charity partners, and educators in our communities, so as to create, strengthen, and advocate for services capable of tackling youth homelessness and its root causes.

Research findings: what did we find out?

The reality of youth homelessness extends well beyond our basic perception of sleeping on a street corner; it is in fact a reality often hard to visualize at all.

The national picture we discovered is startling. 16 to 24 year-olds officially recognized as homeless make up just 12% (16,000) of the total number of young people soliciting their local authorities for support; nearly double that number are turned away (22%, or 30,000).

These figures also fail to account for the "hidden homeless", i.e., those living on the streets or barely surviving by couch-surfing with no guarantee of where they'll sleep each night. On any given 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 risk factors for youth homelessness can be spotted early and if properly addressed, the problem could be reduced dramatically. For example, around one fifth of all young homeless people are believed to have left a care facility, a quarter are LGBT (often having coped with difficult family experiences linked to their identity), and 14% have a criminal record. Improved responses to each of these life experiences could help more young people find their way.

Listening to young voices: our research approach

Young homeless people’s voices are all too often missing from the debate, but our research has revealed the important interactions taking place between education and youth homelessness.

We found that system failures force far too many young people out of an educational path despite high aspirations in many instances. And yet these are the very young people most in need of the stability and opportunities offered by education.

As a result, this report seeks, above all else, to listen to and share some of these young people’s first-hand stories, rather than make assumptions about what their lives are like and what kind of help they want or need.

Thanks to the Grenfell Housing Association and Your Homes Newcastle, we were able to work with 10 young people on developing this report. Aged between 17 and 23, these participants were trained in photography and interviewing skills, so they could control the narrative of 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 will follow; our recommendations provide a road map for how all actors can play their part.

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

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

Download the executive summary (PDF: 1 MB)

Download the full report (PDF: 4.13 MB)

Sage is pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for the inaugural Atlanta, Newcastle Startup Exchange.

We're pleased to announce the Atlanta Newcastle Startup Exchange, in partnership with the UK Department for International Trade, the Newcastle City Council, Invest Atlanta and the Atlanta Mayor’s Office of International Affairs.

  • Are you a North East startup from the smart city, cybersecurity, or aerospace sector with a product or service ready for markets and investors?
  • Are you looking for opportunities to grow your business in the US?
  • Are you excited about an opportunity to be the face of the North East to startups in the US? Yes? So we’re looking for you!

The Exchange offers two C-level executives from North East companies in the smart cities, cybersecurity, or aerospace sector the opportunity to join a 5-day Startup Exchange in Atlanta (US).

This event will connect you with national and regional decision-makers, and moreover expose you to investors and business leaders in the smart cities, cyber, or aerospace industries. 

Atlanta's population has topped 450,000, and the city lies at the center of the 9th largest US metro region with over 5.7 million people. Atlanta hosts the US Headquarters of world-renowned companies, including Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, SunTrust Bank, and CNN, making it the business hub of the Southeastern US. With 66 colleges and universities, abundant green space, and one of the lowest costs of doing business among major US metro areas, Atlanta offers a fantastic opportunity for North East businesses to develop overseas ties and accelerate business growth.

Applications must be submitted by 5 PM (UK time) on Friday, August 11.  They will be reviewed by a panel composed of North East business leaders, organizations, and influencers.

DEADLINE EXTENDED: CLOSING DATE NOW AUGUST 18

The first 50 applicants will also receive a complimentary 12-month subscription to Sage One online accounting and payroll software.

The residency will take place during either Atlanta Cyber Week (October 1-7) or Venture Atlanta Week (October 8-14), so applicants must be available to travel on these dates.

Airfare, accommodations, a dedicated co-working space, and ground transportation will all be provided for one representative from each startup. Meals will not be covered.

You can apply in writing (1,200-word limit) or send a short video (max. 3 min.) that provides the following:

  • An introduction to your business and team, as well as an explanation of likely program participants
  • What stage the business is at and what traction has been generated thus far
  • Your motivation for taking part in the Startup Exchange
  • What you hope to gain from the visit and how the US market will factor into your future success
  • How the North East and its startup ecosystem has factored into your success thus far
  • Whether you are currently interacting internationally

Include with your application a cover letter listing your company name, registration number, registered address, website, and contact details. If your video file is too large to attach, please send it as a compressed file or use a file transfer service like WeTransfer.

Send your application to: [email protected].

The ethics of code: five core principles for accountable AI’ has been published to provide safeguards in creating ethical and responsible AI for business.

At Sage, we pride ourselves on being the champion of small & medium-sized businesses—this responsibility spans raising local government issues, designing outstanding products, and helping our customers make use of the latest and greatest technology available today.

As we embark on the 4th Industrial Revolution, artificial intelligence (AI) is the buzzword being heard in most businesses. "to do" With this trend gaining prominence, we felt it important to address the underlying questions generated by AI and call our peers in the tech industry to action, by requesting that the AI developed is both ethical and accountable.

Read more on how we're working on our own ‘The ethics of code: five core principles for accountable AI’.

Sage has worked with the Entrepreneurs Network think tank to develop ideas and policy proposals among a wide group of experts and entrepreneurs, with the aim of having businesses flourish across every region of the country.

Today, 66 entrepreneurs and business experts have signed a letter calling on the next government to create a coherent plan to boost Britain’s businesses.

Open letter to the next prime minister

In our opinion, immediate plans to boost British businesses should have been mentioned in the policy papers.

The next government, regardless of its political stripe, must prioritize its support for the millions of startups, scale-ups, and entrepreneurs throughout the UK. These job creators will continue to fuel the economy, improve productivity, take advantage of trade opportunities, expand the government’s future tax base, and finance the vital education and healthcare services the United Kingdom needs.

For this reason, we are supporting a set of actionable policies, as laid out in a detailed report released today, which can be implemented immediately to create a culture of entrepreneurship and boost business prospects across the UK. These policies would:

  • Deliver more targeted business support
  • Encourage young people to acquire the necessary skills for entrepreneurship or identify entrepreneurial work opportunities
  • Place digital transformation at the heart of the government’s agenda to help close our productivity gap
  • Reform the visa system so as to improve access to talent
  • Simplify the tax system for very small businesses
  • Apply an innovation principle to regulations and create a ‘sandbox’ environment to enable regulating disruptive technologies without stifling innovation
  • Provide an innovative digital marketplace to drive SMB procurement 
  • Equip small businesses and scale-ups to better embrace export opportunities

These policies do not depend on the uncertainties of Brexit negotiations or major public spending commitments. Rather, they give a clear signal that the UK is the best place to start and grow a business. We urge the next Prime Minister to put them into action.

Signatories
Giles Andrews, Co-Founder and CEO, Zopa; Peter, Bance, CEO, Origami Energy; Mairi Bannon, Co-Founder and Director, Strategic Dimensions; Maxine Benson, Founder, Everywoman; Mark Brownridge, Director General, EISA; Ed Bussey, Founder and CEO, Quill; Glen Calvert, Founder and CEO, Affectv; Zabetta Camilleri, Founder and CEO, Shopological; Duncan Cheatle, Founder, Prelude Group and Rise To; James Codling, Co-Founder, VentureFounders; Rachel Coldicutt, CEO, Doteveryone; Alison Cork, Founder and CEO, Alison at Home; Rachael Corson, Founder, Afrocenchix; Gareth Davies, Co-Founder and CEO, Adbrain; Dana Denis-Smith, Founder and CEO, Obelisk Support and First 100 Years; Romilly Dennys, Executive Director, Coadec; Rajeeb Dey MBE, CEO, Learnerbly; Sam Dumitriu, Research Economist, Adam Smith Institute; Steve Folwell, Co-Founder and CEO, LoveSpace; Lance Forman, Managing Director, H. Forman and Son; Jonathan Gan, Founder, Whichit; Gemma Godfrey, Founder and CEO, Moola; Sam Gordon, Co-Founder, Gordon and Eden; Kate Grussing, Founder and Managing Director, Sapphire Partners; Chris Haley, Executive Director, Policy and Research, Nesta; Nick Halstead, CEO and Founder, DataSift; David Holloway, Founder and CEO, Marlin Hawk; Mike Jackson, Founder and CEO, Webstart Bristol; Simon Johnson, Chairman, Association of British Jewelers; Husayn Kassai, Co-Founder, Onfido; Stephen Kelly, CEO, Sage; Laurence Kemball-Cook, CEO and Founder, Pavegen Systems; Marta Krupińska, Co-Founder, Azimo; Kate Lester, Founder and CEO, Diamond Logistics; Stuart Lucas, Founder and Co-CEO, Asset Match; Jeff Lynn, Chief Executive Officer, Seedrs; Alex MacDonald, Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Velocity; Graeme Malcolm OBE, Founder and CEO, M Squared Lasers; Chris McCullough, Co-Founder, RotaGeek; Fiona McIntosh, Co-Founder and Creative Director, Blow Ltd.; Simon McVicker, Director of Policy and External Affairs, IPSE; Cyrus Mewawalla, Founder and Managing Director, CM Research; Charlie Mowat, Founder and Managing Director, The Clean Space; David Murray-Hundley, Chairman, eFundamentals; Guy Myles, Founder, Flying Colours; Michael Nabarro, Co-Founder and CEO, Spektrix; Pierre-Simon Ntiruhungwa, Head, Founders of the Future; Irina Pafomova, Co-Founder, Engelworks; Alastair Paterson, CEO and Co-Founder, Digital Shadows; Stephen Phillips, CEO, ZappiStore; Edward Poland, Co-Founder and COO, Hire Space; Sean Ramsden, CEO, Ramsden International; Modwenna Rees-Mogg, Founder and CEO, AngelNews; Karina Robinson, CEO, Robinson Hambro; Philip Salter, Founder, The Entrepreneurs' Network; Alexander Schey, Co-Founder, Vantage Power; Toby Schulz, Co-founder, Vantage Power; Russ Shaw, Founder, Tech London Advocates; Sam Smith, Founder, finnCap; Patrick Stobbs, Co-Founder and COO, Jukedeck; Will Swannell, Co-Founder and CEO, Hire Space; Jeffrey Thomas, Chairman and Co-Founder, UKCloud; Michele Trusolino, Co-Founder and COO, Debut; Elizabeth Varley, Founder, TechHub; Ross Williams, Founder and Chairman, Venntro Media Group, Simon Woodroffe OBE, Founder, YO! Sushi, YOTEL and YO! Home

To accompany the letter submitted, the Entrepreneurs' Network published a detailed policy report, entitled A boost for British businesses. The document includes contributions from the Institute of Directors, Federation of Small Businesses, Nesta, Adam Smith Institute, Sage, IPSE, SQW, and Coadec. The project has been sponsored by Sage. Download the full report.

The policy requests are at the forefront of research in the UK; they are not contingent on Brexit negotiation uncertainties, may be adopted by all political parties, and wouldn’t put a significant strain on the exchequer.

Philip Salter, founder of the Entrepreneurs' Network, comments: “The letter and report reveal the interest entrepreneurs have in promoting better policies to support their aspirations. It also underscores the wealth of great ideas from experts to make Britain more competitive. This process isn’t intended to be the final word on policies to support entrepreneurs, but instead the start of a nationwide conversation about what businesses really need to succeed.”

Stephen Kelly, chief executive of Sage and former chief operating officer of the UK Government, comments: “Since the economic downturn and Brexit, small and medium-sized businesses have proven most resilient, creating over two thirds of all new jobs in the UK. It has never been more important for the British government, regardless of its political stripe, to listen to the nation's entrepreneurs. Simplification is a theme that runs throughout the report. Whether in procurement, regulation, taxation, skills acquisition, or business support, the ability to simplify and free our businesses from outdated policy prescriptions and stringent legislation is key to unlocking their potential”.

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

The €3 million aid fund will benefit some 5,400 companies and is intended for them to acquire the new management solutions Sage has recently launched: Sage 50c; Sage 200c; Sage Despachos for Life; and Sage X3.

Luis Pardo, Sage Iberia's managing director, stated: “The launch of this aid plan reinforces our commitment to enabling small and medium-sized companies and professional firms, as the ‘business builders’ of this country, to incorporate leading market technology, thus helping them improve their management processes and properly address their digital transformation.

January 16, 2017: Small businesses continue to feel ignored by the government, according to new research by Sage. This research has highlighted that 67% of small businesses feel underrepresented 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 in a row.

In order to give business builders a platform to connect with policy makers, Sage is launching its: Forum for Business Builders". This forum offers entrepreneurs from around the world the insights, events, and policy-forming partnerships to empower them with a collective voice heard on the world stage.

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

The first piece of global research from this forum has shown that, despite global instability, entrepreneurs remain optimistic. Three quarters (75%) anticipate their business revenues to grow (26%) or remain stable (49%) over the next 12 months, while more than a third (34%) plan to launch a new product or service. Red tape, however, continues to be their biggest challenge going into 2017 (for 18%), and they're looking to the government to provide better business support; nearly half (49%) felt such support would be the most positive change their government could make this year, followed by tax improvements (46%) and innovation funding (34%).

Sage CEO Stephen Kelly pointed out: “All too often when the world’s policy-makers gather to discuss the global economic picture, small businesses are excluded. This is most evident at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, where small businesses aren’t even an agenda item. 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 and 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're to ensure the future health of the world’s economy.”

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