BUSINESS CHAT WITH PAUL STRUTHERS
Paul Struthers, the Executive VP and Managing Director of Sage Canada had a one on one with CanadianSME to talk about his role and solutions that Sage offers SMEs when it comes to managing their finances and how to successfully deal the challenge that comes with that.
Paul Struthers is executive vice president and managing director of Sage Canada. Mr. Struthers is responsible for Sage’s overall customer experience, community, product, marketing and sales strategy in the Canadian market, working alongside Sage’s cherished network of customers, partners, and accountants.
As Executive VP and Managing Director of Sage Canada, what can you tell us about your role?
In my role as EVP and Managing Director of Sage Canada, I’m responsible for the overall customer experience, community, product, people, marketing and sales strategy in the Canadian market. I work alongside Sage’s network of customers, partners, accountants and bookkeepers to accomplish these goals, and I have to say that we have a truly exceptional and inspiring network!
I’m also honoured to work alongside some the best colleagues I’ve ever encountered in my career here at Sage Canada, across North America, and globally.
I’m also humbled and grateful to have such a large, diverse and inspiring range of customers, from solopreneurs to large companies, as part of our Sage family in Canada.
What are some of the programs products/solutions that Sage Canada offers to Small and Medium sized entrepreneurs?
Sage has a variety of products available under the Sage Business Cloud for both Small and Medium-sized entrepreneurs. Sage Business Cloud offers a one stop shop for all business management needs with purpose-built solutions and a thriving ecosystem of applications . Sage offers a rich and powerful set of cloud products to support unique business requirements , including accounting, Enterprise Resource Management (ERP), managing payments, payroll and more.
For small-sized businesses , Sage Business Cloud Accounting helps save time when accepting payments, help manage your payroll, accounting and more. For mid-sized businesses , we offer solutions in financial management (Sage Intacct), business management / ERP (Sage X3 and Sage 300cloud) and people management (Sage People).
Having a proper accounting software that keeps track of invoices, payments and cash flow is a crucial aspect for any business. In your expert opinion, what is the best service that Sage offers that helps entrepreneurs successfully manage their finances?
I would recommend Sage Accounting to help entrepreneurs manage their finances. With Sage Accounting, you can access critical business information when you need it, take care of invoicing and banking and manage your cash flow. Best of all, it’s available anywhere and at anytime on any device (smartphone or tablet for example).
What is the biggest challenge that SME owners face when it comes to their accounting needs and how can Sage Canada help them overcome these challenges?
In terms of accounting, the balancing of commitments and making time for admin work, on top of growing customers can contribute to long workdays, especially when there are limited resources or employees at your business.
Sage Canada’s priority is reducing the burden of admin to liberate time to focus on key areas for business growth. According to a 2017 Sage survey, unleashing business builders from burdensome admin could unlock over $600bn in lost productivity.
Sage Business Cloud solutions help improve efficiency by automating time-consuming manual tasks and providing full transparency to your business. This allows for less stress and time restraints for SME owners and allow for focused work on what’s important.
What sets Sage Canada apart from other similar organizations? Why should entrepreneurs choose Sage as opposed to another company offering the same services?
Sage Business Cloud is what distinguishes us apart by enabling customers to grow and evolve over time by simply adding the products needed. As your business grows and your needs change, Sage solutions can scale to meet your needs. Sage offers a rich and powerful set of cloud products from easy to use cloud accounting to industry specific business management software to support unique, or more complex business requirements across multiple industries such as services, distribution, and discrete and process manufacturing.
A lot of entrepreneurs are skeptical about getting an online platform to register their accounts and finances in out of fear of getting it hacked or security breaches. How is Sage Canada addressing these issues and implementing security measures to ensure the safety and privacy of its users?
Cybersecurity is an increasingly important issue for all cloud-service providers, as well as entrepreneurs. Sage Canada takes these issues seriously in how Sage Business Cloud is implemented. With bank-level security, customers and partners can rest assured that their company data is safe with Sage as we are continuously investing in the latest technologies and protocols to protect them.
What is the best service that Sage offers for startups?
With Sage Business Cloud, each business can adapt and tailor the service to their needs. Most of our start-ups will start with Sage Accounting, especially via the mobile Accounting app. It helps start-ups manage expenses and income from any device, anywhere.
As Executive VP and Managing Director of Sage Canada, part of your responsibility is to look after the overall customer experience. What are some of the strategies and procedures you’re implementing to ensure that the overall needs of Sage’s consumers are met?
Customers are at the core of everything we do, so delivering a consistently exceptional experience for them is our top priority. With that goal in mind, we spend a lot of time mapping the ideal customer journey with Sage, deeply training our colleagues on all of our products so they can best support our customers, providing our teams with the latest technology and tools to interact with customers, relentlessly focusing on product development that delivers a regular heartbeat of enhanced value to our customers, conducting regular interviews and surveys (online and in-person) with our customers and partners to ensure we are collecting – and acting upon – their top priority business issues and requirements, and creating fun and engaging programs for our colleagues to recognize them for going above and beyond for their customers – something they’re passionate about striving to do every day!
Several accounting softwares are often complex and not very user friendly, making the customer experience not a positive one. How is Sage Canada ensuring that the customer experience is easy and stress free when it comes to their accounting software?
As mentioned previously, delivering an exceptional customer experience is critical to us and we recognize that added stress in implementing a solution or complexity doesn’t benefit the SME owner in reducing that admin burden. That’s why Sage strives to constantly listen to our customers, intimately understand their needs, and work to provide consistent updates and upgrades to our solutions for them, with a focus on improving usability and streamlining and automating many time-intensive processes.
Small businesses often start small and eventually expand to reach a larger client base and increase revenue. What are some of the programs and services that Sage can offer to entrepreneurs who are looking to expand their business? How does Sage support business growth?
Sage Business Cloud is tailored for exactly this dilemma. Sage offers solutions for every part of the business growth journey, all on the same cloud network. This allows customers to join the platform at any stage of the business journey and then continue to scale and evolve over time by simply adding the products needed to suit new needs.
Sage Business Cloud’s core products work across Accounting, Payroll and Payments & Banking, People/HR and ERP solutions. By taking advantage of the consistency, reliability, streamlining of business processes and automation these solutions provide, business owners can comfortably turn their attention to growth and expansion.
What can you tell us about the future of Sage? What upcoming projects does Sage Canada has planned that can benefit SME owners?
We’re always pushing ourselves to get better for our customers, and one of the ways we can do that is by continuously innovating and bringing the best solutions to market for them. So, we’re very excited to be officially launching Sage Intacct to Canada later this year. Sage Intacct is the leader in cloud Financial Management—uniquely endorsed by the AICPA, ranked highest in customer satisfaction on G2 Crowd and Trust Radius, and recognized as visionary by industry analysts. Sage Intacct enables data-driven CFOs to automate complex processes, consolidate data across many legal entities in minutes, become GAAP-compliant, and make strategic decisions using industry-specific dashboards. We are very excited to provide this groundbreaking solution to SME owners in Canada!
We are also further investing in Sage Accounting for our micro and small business customers, as well as for our accountants and bookkeepers, so stay tuned for lots of excitement over the coming year!
On a final note, what has been your biggest accomplishment in your professional life? What are you most proud of?
Well, I’ve been at Sage for 3 years now and I can genuinely say they have been some of the most rewarding years of my career thanks to the customers, partners and colleagues I am surrounded by every day. And as a proud Canuck, focusing on Canada every day of my working life is pretty awesome.
But what has made me most proud is Canada achieving one of the top customer satisfaction scores within Sage globally over the past several years. We still have plenty of improvements to make and believe that our work is never done to address our customers’ needs, but it’s encouraging to see us heading in the right direction. We’re serious when we say customers are at the core of everything we do, and we resolve to keep pushing ourselves to improve every day!