Small business accounting firm Sage is taking a nuanced approach to its services. Reports on Wednesday (July 13) said the company is rolling out a new service based on chat technology, and it’s using Facebook to get started.
According to VentureBeat, Sage is currently developing a chatbot built for Facebook Messenger and Slack to help small business owners manage their finances. The tool is slated to release sometime later this month, reports added, but Sage provided a preview of the technology at the VentureBeat’s MobileBeat conference this week.
VentureBeat said Sage’s chat-based service is part of its effort to build its presence within the freelance and sharing economy and to provide solutions for small business owners via technologies and tools they’re already familiar with, like Uber and Facebook.
Sage provided screenshots of its chatbot to demonstrate how it works. Users can send in a picture of a receipt or simply say how much an employee spent and for what; the bot can recognize spend categories and input data for expense reports and other databases, like keeping track of how much a small business owner earned that month or who owes the company money.
“We’re told that the bot will respond accordingly and log all the relevant information into Sage’s system, while keeping track of all administrative issues,” the outlet reported.
“We want to simplify business processes and workflows, reduce friction and help the adminphobes leverage technology that they already love,” said Sage Director of Product Management Kriti Sharma in an interview with reporters. “Bots enable us to do exactly that — bringing information to the user’s favorite messaging app. Bots enable personalization, and the conversational interface can even make the experience of boring business administration fun.”
The solution was reportedly developed in partnership with Gupshup, which will help Sage expand its chatbot to other messaging platforms and enable Sage to access data analytics and security.
Sage’s foray into chatbots follows similar moves by another expense management firm, Tradeshift, which rolled out its Tradeshift Go application last month. The tool uses artificial intelligence and chat technology to help businesses manage spend and finances via a virtual assistant.