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It’s time to take SaaS into account

Software as a service (SaaS) accounting solutions offer huge benefits to both small and medium enterprises and next-generation accountants.

Johannesburg, 21 Feb 2022
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PJ Bishop, Vice-President: Partners for Sage Africa & Middle East.
PJ Bishop, Vice-President: Partners for Sage Africa & Middle East.

Although the principle of software as a service (SaaS) has been around for several years, its adoption has been significantly accelerated over the past 18 months, with large numbers of people unable to access their office networks due to COVID-19. The need to work from anywhere, at any time and on any device, has been a huge catalyst for the increasing adoption of SaaS.

Accounting software is one of the more niche SaaS-based areas of focus and has proven to be of enormous benefit to small and medium-sized businesses and accountants alike.

For smaller businesses, explains PJ Bishop, VP for Services: Africa and Middle East at Sage, there has long been the challenge that accounting can be the most time-consuming and least engaging part of running a business. It is for this reason that accountants are usually brought in to undertake the number and data crunching.

“At the same time, these accountants want to grow their offering beyond the standard requirement of ‘doing the books’ and delivering an income statement at year-end. The new breed of accountants seeks to improve their service offering through the provision of artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive analytics-type reporting, so SaaS accounting solutions offer huge benefits to both them and their customers,” he says.

“Modern accountants who wish to use AI, business intelligence (BI) and analytics need a platform that enables third parties to plug their solutions into it, to enable the provision of new services. Cloud-based SaaS solutions meet this requirement perfectly.”

Another benefit of the SaaS model, continues Bishop, is that it enables users to automate certain parts of payroll, streamlining the process for the business and its accountants.

“Automation helps reduce costs and takes the manual effort out of these processes, thereby minimising the chance of error. At the same time, you can maintain your financial records continuously and obtain in-depth reports when needed. Automation also makes managing and monitoring your cashflows much simpler.

“Don’t forget that there are numerous other benefits too – from eliminating hardware expenses, along with other infrastructure costs related to having a physical server, not to mention reducing the need for specialist in-house skills. With SaaS, on the other hand, the pay-as-you-go approach means that what you see is what you get. Your total cost for the solution is visible monthly, including uptime, data recovery, service level agreements and more.”

Yet another benefit to this model, he adds, is that changes occur regularly when it comes to compliance and regulatory matters. With SaaS, however, you don’t need to make these changes manually when receiving an update notice. Instead, all updates and changes are automatically provisioned, enabling you to remain compliant without lifting a finger, according to Bishop.

“With the implementation of a SaaS-based accounting solution for small and medium businesses, you will find yourself in the ideal position: one where you can easily keep your finances under control while freeing up resources to focus on your core business.

SaaS accounting solutions are the answer to how accountants can not only provide a better service to customers, but do so despite increasing expectations from customers, such as the demands for AI, BI and analytics,” he says.

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