Monday, 1 December 2008

Kashflow ‘outs’ Sage!

(By Anthony Miller ) Prince’s Trust Technology Leadership Group-backed SaaS start-up founder, Duane Jackson (see Kashflow wins award for Cloud solution) scored a heck of a PR coup over the weekend, in effect pre-announcing Sage’s new browser-based accounting starter system, Sage Live. Jackson is the driving force behind Kashflow, a hosted small business accounting system. According to his blog (see here), Jackson saw a pre-release version of the Sage product at last week’s Business Startup Exhibition. The product is apparently due for formal release in January at a £10 per user monthly fee, including live web-chat support, vs. £16 p.m. for Kashflow.

Now, putting aside the ‘accidental’ airing of its new SaaS offering, let’s remember this is not the first time Sage has offered a hosted version of its accounting products. It first tried some years ago in the US with IBM hosting the product but the service never really took off. Whether Sage can get it right for the UK market is of course to be proven. I have just spoken to Sage who confirm the general thrust of the article and see it as another entry-level option to bring non-accounting users into the fold. Fair enough. But the question for all players is how do you make money from a small business accounting service? Although much larger scale, SAP’s SaaS offering, Business ByDesign, has not been the raging success that the company had hoped for, but to be fair this is hardly comparing apples with apples. I hope to get more on Sage Live at their results briefing on Wednesday.

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