Accounting software house Sage has teamed with retail chain PC World to educate small and medium companies in issues such as the Year 2000 bug.
The programme will involve a series of roadshows covering topical issues of concern such as Y2K, European monetary union and the late payment penalty, which takes effect this summer.
The 100 roadshows are scheduled to take place during February and March, and then October and November, at retail outlets around the country. The move coincides with Sage's formation of a dedicated retail division, to maximise the potential for sales from larger computer stores, which are enjoying a boom.
Sage has also negotiated a deal with key retailers to provide a product training programme for in-store staff. This will enable these staff to sell ?the right product to the right customer?, according to Mike Kelly, general retail manager at Sage.
?Our new product, Instant Accounting 98, requires some training to use, and in-store staff will be able to provide this, to the SME market and first time buyers.? he said. ?If you sell a product without training, the product comes back, and you have an unhappy customer. What?s so crucial to getting the retail model right is that customers are supported so well that they stay with you - providing their business stays afloat.?
Instant Accounting 98 provides an upgrade to the 1997 version of the product, and was launched this week.
Georgina Collingwood-Cameron from Sage explained some of its new features. ?Instant Accounting 98 is aimed at first time buyers and comes with options for Sage Cover, which costs #50 per year and includes services and support. Another add-on product for this software is Stationery (#12.99), which is a pack of commonly used accounting stationery which is another tool to help the firm achieve the right look.?
Asked about rivals, she claimed: "Our main competitor is the pencil."
The new product also integrates with Sage's Instant Payroll, which will be available later this quarter, and like Instant Accounting 98 will cost #99.00. A financial bundle of the two packages will also be available for #179.00.
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