Day 2 at the 2016 Sage Summit saw the accounting software firm bring a little star power to proceedings, with entrepreneur Richard Branson taking to the stage to speak directly to some 15,000 entrepreneurs.
Offering an engaging anecdote of how Virgin Atlantic was borne – Branson was kicked off a plane to the Virgin Islands, hired a plane and charged his fellow passengers a small fee to get them to their destination – he was once told that Virgin would never take off, with criticism that 'a name like virgin no one is going to think its going to go the whole way.’ However the lesson to the budding entrepreneurs at the Sage Summit from Branson was that 'you can take on the Goliaths if you offer a quality product and differentiate yourself.’
Sage is following Branson’s advice, looking to enable entrepreneurs with a first-of-its-kind accounting bot. Dubbed Pegg, CEO Stephen Kelly told the Summit audience how Pegg acts as a smart assistant that allows users to track expenses and manage finances through messaging apps –which currently boasts more than 2 billion users worldwide
Claiming to make the finance and accounting process as simple as writing a text, Pegg digitises information at the point of capture, it takes away the pain of filing receipts and expenses, eradicating the need for paper and data entry.
Sage’s Global Director for Mobile Product Management, Kriti Sharma, who is leading Pegg, said: “With the rise of freelancing and the sharing economy, the number of small businesses is growing exponentially. Those with messaging apps log in at least nine times a day; with Pegg we aim to bridge the gap between these messaging apps and work based technology, rendering accounting invisible to the end user and making running a business as simple as sending a text.
"For far too long, humans have had to learn to talk like computers. It’s time for the software to learn how to talk like us. With Pegg, we’re putting people first.”
Also announced was Sage’s integration with Slack, which will act as a messaging channel for Pegg. As the fastest growing enterprise messaging app, Slack will work with Pegg to bring information to users when they need it, via a platform that they already use.
Jason Shellen, Head of Platform at Slack said: “Slack’s mission is to make people’s working lives simpler, more pleasant and more productive. Expense reporting is time-consuming and a pain point for almost everyone, but with Pegg, the process becomes intuitive and fluid. The idea that you can simply message your expenses to Pegg and not have to worry about the administrative hassle of saving and entering paper receipts reflects our vision for the future of work”.