The Future of Business Management: Insights from Sage Transform 2024

Sage Transform 2024 shed light on the evolving business management and accounting landscape. At the February event, Sage focused on the acceleration of technology-driven operations, the increasingly critical role of AI, and the importance of sustainability within the SMB sector.

Here are my key takeaways from these topics and other highlights from the event.

Moving Beyond Automation with Sage Copilot AI

The common thread across Sage presentations and discussions highlighted Sage’s continuing goals to remove friction from financial management operations. Executives and product managers discussed its strategy to continue incorporating traditional AI into its financial solutions and to introduce and integrate generative AI into them.

From Sage’s perspective, accountants have been stuck in a rut for centuries, burdened with time-consuming, repetitive chores such as the monthly close and annual audits. For many years, Sage Intacct has incorporated traditional AI capabilities into its solutions to help its customers run their operations more efficiently and gain better visibility and insights into their businesses. The vendor views generative AI as providing a revolutionary step forward to help SMBs further simplify processes and make faster, better-informed decisions.

SMBs have an appetite for AI benefits, as indicated in SMB Group’s 2023 Impact of AI on SMBs survey. A majority of SMBs indicated that they want to keep up with AI trends, are exploring generative AI, and are already using or considering using AI. As importantly, 59% say AI has already impacted their businesses.

At the event, Sage unveiled its plans for Sage Copilot, a dedicated generative AI productivity assistant, to further streamline financials and provide a more intuitive way to interact with its software. Copilot facilitates natural language interactions, streamlines tasks for non-accounting professionals, and, according to Sage will help it to move towards complete workflow orchestration.

Sage’s AI push also marks a significant shift from traditional automation towards more interactive, intelligent systems that enable humans to make smarter, faster decisions.

Sage will initially roll out Copilot capabilities in Sage Accounting, Sage for Accountants, and Sage 50, beginning in Spring 2024 Sage plans to introduce Copilot for its flagship Sage Intacct product in Fall 2024

Building Trust and Security for AI

Trust is imperative in the financial sector. The success of AI in improving decision-making depends on how accurate, reliable, and ethically sound the insights generated by AI are.

Sage is setting a high bar in this area, addressing these challenges through robust data handling and practices to train AI models, and with patented measures to prevent AI hallucinations and maintain data integrity.

In addition to using “off the shelf” LLMs from vendors such as OpenAI, Sage is building its own AI models to ensure higher accuracy in the financial domain. The vendor employs a continuous feedback loop with customers to gather input, see any changes they make, and constantly train its AI models to become more accurate.

Reimagining User Experience

Sage’s revamp of its product suite to include AI-driven conversational models also underscores the major evolution in user interface design, one that promises to dramatically cut the time it takes for users to complete tasks. AI-driven interactions will set new efficiency standards for users, and also challenge them to adapt to and trust new methodologies. Sage—and other vendors—will need to build trust and adoption through education and intuitive design. 

Global expansion for Sage Intacct

Since acquiring U.S.-based Intacct in 2017, Sage has leveraged its broader global footprint to establish seven Sage Intacct sales hubs in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, France, Ireland, and Germany. The vendor is now serving Sage Intacct customers in 80 countries and 130 different currencies as part of its strategy to provide SMBs with global platform scalability and the ability to operate more easily across geographies. 

New Tiered Pricing for Sage Intacct

Sage announced new performance tier pricing designed to help customers scale with increasing API capacity. According to Sage, most customers only need Tier 1 capabilities. However, the vendor has built new capabilities to match server resources to customer needs, including API and offline job concurrency, and measures to provide increased visibility and control to better support and retain customers as they grow. For instance, if a business takes off, and grows from 10,000 transactions a month to hundreds of thousands or more, customers can move to the next tier to support the increased volume.

Broadening Sustainability Initiatives

Sage’s partnership with AWS, for domain-specific LLMs and carbon accounting, reflects a strategic move towards leveraging cloud computing and AI for sustainability efforts. The solution leverages accounting and other data sources to “calculate businesses’ carbon footprints and suggests emission reduction strategies for small businesses and large enterprises’ value chains.

The initiative, dubbed Sage Earth, aims to provide SMBs with actionable insights into their carbon footprint. It will be available in AWS Marketplace in the UK and Ireland in the coming weeks, and in North America and Europe over the next 18 months.

This solution aligns well with SMB sustainability goals. SMB Group’s SMB Business and Technology Priorities for 2024 survey revealed that 75% of SMB decision-makers strongly or somewhat agreed that a strong sustainability strategy can help them improve business results—up from 57% in the prior year’s study. Many SMBs already engage in multiple sustainability initiatives and plan to implement more programs in 2024.


Sage’s innovations illustrate the company’s ambition to lead in the business management software space and underscore its goal to provide customers with a more efficient, intelligent, and sustainable business environment.

Transitioning to this future state will require careful navigation of technological, ethical, and adoption challenges. The success of these initiatives will ultimately depend on their real-world application, the tangible benefits they deliver to businesses, and the ability of SMBs to keep up with advancements and effectively integrate new technologies into their existing workflows.

Of course, Sage isn’t the only business management software vendor vying to use AI to help SMBs do more with less and do it more intelligently and quickly. From Acumatica to Zoho, every vendor in this space is racing to convince SMBs that they have the most compelling and complete strategy—making the competitive environment challenging for Sage and its rivals.

© SMB Group, 2024