Sage boosts local presence

UK accounting software firm Sage has Australia's SME market firmly in its sights following a restructure of the company and the acquisition of ERP company Tetra.

The Tetra name will no longer exist, and Sage has been reorganised locally into two principal divisions: Sage Distribution Australia and Sage International. The two divisions will target small and medium-sized businesses respectively.

Managing director of Sage Distribution Australia (SDA), John Marshall, said that even with the existing SME accounting packages such as MYOB and Quicken, there are still about 250,000 small businesses not using any sort of accounting software. These businesses have been identified as SDA's main target, he said.

Marshall said SDA had doubled the number of its resellers since 1998 and planned to add even more to its channel. "We wanted 200 resellers by the end of 2000 . . . We'll easily get that."

Sage will release its first GST-"friendly" accounting package in January, but it won't be fully compliant with the Australian tax system until after June 28 (the date of the government's GST announcement), said Marsall.

Until then, versions of Sage's accounting software package will provide "traditional" GST calculations as used now in UK.

"Australia's GST system will be far more complex," he warned.

The company is also looking into the application service provider (ASP) market. Sage's general manager, Brett Mundell, said the company is considering ASP opportunities, but only in the mid-range business sector.

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