Sage Re-Ignites Battle with SaaS Vendor

Accounting software industry giant Sage has reignited an ongoing battle with web-based startup KashFlow by actively targeting KashFlow customers in a new marketing campaign.

In an offer on their website, Sage are offering a discount to KashFlow customers if they “trade in” their license to use the web-based software. Other products are also listed such as Quickbooks, IRIS Exchequer and MYOB but KashFlow is the only product listed that is delivered using the disruptive “software-as a-service (“SaaS”) model.

Graeme Edwards, head of commercial marketing for Sage’s small business division, said: “We’re proud of our software and our services for small business and like any company, we’re always keen to attract new customers.”

Simon Johnson is the owner of Johnson Technical, a company that uses KashFlow and received the email from Sage offering him the discount. “To go from using KashFlow to using Sage 50 Accounts would be a big step backwards for my company. Sage software seems difficult to use for the non-accountant and doesn’t offer any of the benefits that a web-based like application like KashFlow does.”.

The battle between the two companies started earlier this year when Sage were forced to withdraw Sage Live, their web-based accounting system after KashFlow founder and CEO Duane Jackson blogged about security issues in the Sage Live product. Sage threatened to take legal action against KashFlow and reported the web-based start-up to Trading Standards over price comparisons made on the KashFlow website.

The dispute took a fiery turn when KashFlow ran a promotion offering free software in return for sending them a boxed copy of Sage which they said they’d use to build a huge bonfire. A teaser video on YouTube showing a Sage box going up in flames has been seen by 29,000 viewers and resulted in the Environment Agency threatening KashFlow with a £20k fine if they went ahead with the planned bonfire.

“I’m flattered by the attention we’re getting from Sage” said Jackson, “It’s nice to know they see us as a threat but I’d be very surprised if any of our customers took up their offer”


This Thursday sees the winners announced at the annual Software Satisfaction Awards. The awards are voted on by actual users of the software rather than a panel of judges. Last year KashFlow beat Sage by winning the main Small Business Accounting Software category.


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