I believe Sage View is a real game changer when it comes to accountants and bookkeepers being the trusted advisors everyone is talking about. Sage View can be the right tool for gathering and analyzing your clients’ data because it provides accountants and bookkeepers like us with a simple way to turn our clients’ data into actionable advice – at a glance and in real time. More technically speaking, you can customize Sage View per each of your clients’ unique attributes by changing screens, reports, and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to show only the data that’s most important to you and your clients.
This can make you quite the hero when it comes to offering business advice that leads to your clients’ success.
“You can’t expect to meet the challenges of today with yesterday’s tools and expect to be in business tomorrow.”
That’s a quote I came across when I was trying to sum up what Sage View means to accountants and bookkeepers. To me, this quote speaks volumes. Basically, you can have all of the insight, dedication, and determination in the world – but if you don’t have the right tools in your tool belt, you’re just spinning your wheels.
This is a point I try to make to clients, and even feature on my Shaynaco homepage, as follows: “We deeply believe the right tools will save you big headaches.” Here’s an example I’m sure you’re all too familiar with. You need to unscrew that tiny little screw to access the battery compartment on the back of your kid’s favorite electronic toy. At first, you try and use the tip of your fingernail. Wrong!
After a minute of trying that out, you move on to the next logical “tool” – that trusty butter knife in the kitchen drawer. You try and try to get the tip of that knife to fit into the top of that tiny screw, all to no avail. What’s next? Time to dig through that junk drawer for a screwdriver. You find one, but the screwdriver tip is too thick to fit the screw head. You “ugh” and “sigh.” Frustrated, you finally accept defeat and march out to the garage to dig through your tools to find the right size screwdriver that will finally let you change those batteries.
Sound familiar? What would normally take less than a minute has now taken you upwards of 10 minutes. To boot, you’re aggravated (along with your child, too!), when all you needed to do was go get the right tool, right away, and the problem would have been solved.
Sage View Is the Right Tool for the Right Job
One of the really useful and unique features of Sage View is that it integrates with accounting solutions other than Sage. Sage View currently connects with client data from Sage 50, Sage One Accounting, and QuickBooks Desktop, with more accounting solutions being added.
Now, to put my previous analogy into full perspective, consider of all those cumbersome spreadsheets, with formulas that you have to keep up with, not to mention having to track down client data from paper receipts and ledgers – think of all of that as the fingernail, butter knife, and junk drawer screwdriver from my previous story. Then think of Sage View as the right-sized screwdriver – the one that saves you time and gets the job done right the first time.
I just recently started using Sage View, so I’m still discovering new things every time I access it. In addition, the software itself is still relatively new. If you were at SleeterCon last year, you may remember Jennifer announcing it in her keynote. But, it is cloud-based, so Sage is constantly adding more features to it automatically, which is a nice thing. For now, I’ll showcase a few of the good things (and even one not so good thing) I’ve discovered about Sage View so you can get a sense of what’s in it for you.
Clients Want Proactive Advice – And Sage View Lets You Provide It
Sage View allows you to be more proactive when giving advice to clients. In other words, you will be able to help clients steer their companies toward success in real time. With the charts and graphs that Sage View provides (and there are plenty), you can easily see trends and recommend actions based on real-time facts, not month-old reports.
I especially like the client dashboard that lets me see every client quickly, at a glance. It has color coding, which allows me to quickly see the KPIs that I have chosen in green (everything is good), yellow (you may want to watch this), and red (Hey! Check this client out!). You can quickly scan to see if you should make a proactive phone call to your client. Here is the example that Sage View often shows (I like their example because it allows you to see many different stages of clients in Sage View):
It’s also important to note that this isn’t about delivering doom and gloom news to your clients. If, for example, a client appears to be doing well in certain areas, you can monitor data from Sage View and, based on what you see, you can simply recommend that your client stay the course. After all, perhaps the client was concerned with a recent directional shift, inventory change, or new line. You can now alleviate any fears by using data to show that all is well.
Conversely, if the KPIs that you set up for a client aren’t looking good, you can help pinpoint what’s wrong and come up with a plan to correct course before it’s too late. There are automated alerts based on customized thresholds, where you receive an alert in real time should a KPI start to go sideways. This can save your client not only in financial terms, but also in the time it would take to correct things. Through Sage View dashboards you can pinpoint possible negative data quickly and make changes before things go bad.
Setup is a Little Time-Consuming and Clunky
My best advice as far as the setup process goes is to set aside a few hours dedicated to getting Sage View up and running. This is an initial “pain point,” but once you’ve got everything set up, things run smoothly. I’m not sure how they can make this any smoother. They have built in the ability to have a standard setup if you have a standard chart of accounts. So, if you have a standard chart of accounts, you can set up the first client, and the other companies thereafter will be much easier to set up. It’s much like when you are first setting up a set of financials in a financial reporter program – a little tedious to get it all in there just right, but once you figure it out it gets fairly automated. And, if you take the time, the output will be on point.
I won’t lie. Setting up Sage View for the first time will take a good deal of planning and thought in order for the solution to give back information that’s useful for you and your clients. Also, what is good for one client may not fit with other clients, so there will be some customization necessary for each client. For instance, what is a good rate of inventory turnover for one client may be bad for another. So you’ll want to adjust the warning thresholds on each client to make the KPI reporting particularly useful for them.
On the bright side, customer service was readily available to walk me through some of these processes. And they were very kind. Also, going forward, small tweaks will take a lot less time than fully linking my client accounts to any of the customized KPI formulas I’ve set up. So, as you start getting comfortable with how to set up one company after another, the learning curve gets shorter and shorter. Below is the mapping on one of my clients (I’ve whited out some account names for privacy):