The Sage glass ceiling and the FUD concept

I am grateful to Dennis Howlett for introducing me to the FUD concept. It has been around for a long time (it originated in the early days of IBM) but it was not something of which I was aware.

For those not in the know, there is a great explanation here.  Briefly FUD stands for Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt. It is a marketing technique used when a competitor launches a product that is both better than yours and costs less, i.e. your product is no longer competitive. In general it is used by companies with a large market share, and the overall message is ‘Hey, it could be risky going down that road, stick with us and you are with the crowd. In the computer world, FUD was first practiced on a large scale by IBM in the 1970’s. Many people cite Amdahl as coining the phrase when he left IBM to start his own company thus making himself a FUD target.

It perfectly sums up the attitude of most accountants when trying to convince them that SaaS (Internet based accounting specifically) is a better and more efficient way of interacting with clients and servicing their accounting needs.

The universal response from accountants when trying to convince them that there is a better way, is “We use Sage”. End of discussion and nothing anyone can say can convince them otherwise. Sage has such a stranglehold on the UK accountancy market that it is actually blocking any innovation in  accounting software .

Sure, Sage works (in a fashion) but, for that matter, so does old fashioned pen and paper. The old Kalamazoo system (who remembers that!) worked; if you think about it so does an Abacus. If we don’t attempt anything new , we can never move forward.

But time has moved on and so have processes and the means available to deal with clients more efficiently.

The argument is often put forward (as indeed it was to me just the other day) that the client doesn’t care. I would take issue with this. The perception of many clients is that they appreciate their accountants being in the forefront of technology and offering something different from the mainstream. After all you are judged by what you do today not last year!

I would be interested to know if anyone can come up with a definitive and convincing list of why SaaS is superior. The Sage Glass Ceilng has to be broken!


One Response

  1. Kalamazoo was wonderful. It made bookkeeping an art! Definitely deserves a place in the accounting hall of fame.

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