Business Customers Accuse Sage of Forcing Them Into Expensive Subscriptions

Sage, b2b payments, HR, subscriptions, accounts payable, accounts receivable, EMEA

Customers say accounting and payroll company Sage has pushed them to accept costly subscription packages.

That’s according to a report Friday (Dec. 30) by the Financial Times (FT), in which a number of U.K. businesses say Sage has pushed them to sign up for more expensive subscriptions or risk losing access to their accounting software packages.

“It’s a pitload of crap,” Kate Barton, owner of model train company Reeves 2000, told the FT.

Barton said she upgraded her so-called perpetual package in January 2019 for a license she expected would last 15 years. But now, she faces payments of 155 pounds ($187) per month on a subscription model.

“This is a bigger picture of the way things are going, where we’re forced onto a subscription for everything,” she said. “It’s quite frightening.”

Sage has not responded to PYMNTS’ request for comment.

According to the FT, small businesses that use Sage software complained that the switch to monthly subscriptions seemed like a way for the company to increase the price of its packages, something Sage denies.

Perpetual licenses carry a 15-year term, according to Sage’s terms and conditions. When Sage said it would cut off software access by September 30, many customers upgraded to monthly subscriptions to retain access to their data.

Sage said there is “nothing specifically in the T&Cs” that let it disable the software of customers with many years left on their license period.

However, the company said it did so to “protect consumer data,” adding “a small number of customers will be impacted unless they move to a subscription product as we don’t sell perpetual plans anymore.”

This news comes as companies are struggling to fill accounting jobs, as PYMNTS wrote earlier this week.

As OpenEnvoy CEO Matt Tillman told us earlier this year, “There’s not a lot of people moving into the profession, and there are many people who are retiring from that profession.”

Audit and accounting jobs are taking longer to fill despite a record number of job openings. The percentage of new accountants starting positions is down 15.9% for the year, according to a recent Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report.

While digitization and automated accounting solutions may not be able to close the employment gap, they do provide an enticing solution for shrinking repetitive pain points, PYMNTS wrote.

Automated accounting solutions can be counted on to serve as “translators” that process layers of accounts payable pain points previously handled manually, doing away with the need for employees to parse through endless numbers and spreadsheets.

In fact, studies project that in the next three years, close to 50% of all business-to-business (B2B) invoices will be issued, processed and paid with no human intervention.

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