Accounting Influencers Roundtable


Digital Adoption, Productivity & Value Add for Accountants

Sabby Gill on the Accounting Influencers podcast with BD Academy founder Rob Brown

Sabby Gill leads Sage in its home market of the UK and in Ireland. He brings to Sage more than 30 years’ experience in the technology sector, across sales, operations and customer services. He has spent his career supporting businesses of all sizes with technology that unlocks their potential – both at home and across international markets.

Sabby joined Sage from Epicor where he was Executive Vice President of International. Past roles have also included Senior Vice President of International Sales for IGT, a gaming technology company and executive management roles at HP, CA Technologies, Oracle, PeopleSoft (acquired by Oracle), and DEC.

***SPECIAL NOTE: This interview took place Dec 2019 and directly after Sage’s FY19 results***


  • The journey from a youth training scheme to managing director of Sage UK, via the world of gaming and slot machines
  • The two things that underpin success at Sage – customers and colleagues
  • Why the accounting profession globally is at a cross roads due to the impact of digital transformation
  • Digital adoption increases productivity but there are few incentives and little support to help people adopt technology
  • 90% of data is less than two years old, and this is only going to reduce or get worse from here
  • 5G is coming and it connects everything – data from almost every source
  • Accountants who still deal with paper are at an enormous disadvantage in a digital age because software is now the norm
  • Businesses change providers and suppliers but the one constant throughout its life-cycle is probably going to be the accountant
  • SME are still burdened by paper based admin, and the average company spends 120 days a year on admin
  • 50% of businesses are looking to improve productivity and increase the use of technology, and accountants have a huge role to play in this
  • Accountants must harness client and practice data to provide strategic consultancy and add value – it goes beyond traditional bookkeeping
  • Accounting and bookkeeping services are becoming more of a commodity because it is more transactional and process-based
  • Automation takes away much of what accountants have been paid for, so what now are they being asked to do by clients?
  • The accountants at the leading or bleeding edge are creating real competitive advantage with technology and automation
  • The biggest challenge accountants have in adopting technology to serve clients is finding the time
  • The role of accountants has changed – they now have to be business advisors, technical experts and technologically savvy to serve their clients
  • How legislation such as MTD has changed the accounting profession
  • How Sage is set up favourably against the competition with £1bn of subscription revenue in their portfolio and a market cap of $10bn
  • Sage looks after 600,000 UK customers with 3000 employees in the UK and Ireland, and are in a powerful position to face any competition
  • How Sage employees are more than software experts but trusted advisors to their accounting customers
  • Technology or software alone is not the answer – there must be an ability to gain data insights
  • Historical views are not as critical as future insights, and this is where accountants can add huge value to their clients
  • The power and buzz for a leader of walking the floors and seeing the engagem,ent and passion that your people have talking to customers
  • The value of talking regularly to your customers and clients to ask them what you should stop, start or continue
  • The danger of putting clients or customers first if you don’t have really engaged staff to look after them
  • Tips for onboarding your new employees (when on average most people between 90 and 120 days) and many look externally for career promotions

Sabby Gill on the Accounting Influencers podcast with BD Academy founder Rob Brown

Sabby is father of two and husband of one, a life-long Reading FC supporter and cricket enthusiast. You can contact him here:

or on Twitter @sabbygill7