York, United Kingdom (PressExposure) May 10, 2008 -- Back in the early 1980s the vast majority of small to medium businesses (SMEs) didn't use any software to manage their accounts and payroll - everything was managed on paper with accountants all but disappearing under a pile of accounts ledgers and manual calculations.
It's hard to believe how far technology has come in such a short time, and for many people it's difficult to imagine even the smallest companies manually processing their accounts these days, since the mass-adoption of Sage and other accounting start-up software.
The growth of the accounting and CRM software industry in the UK began in the early 1980s by companies like Pegasus and Sage who identified a gap in the market for a SME business technology niche.
It is no coincidence that these companies share their anniversaries with the release of the first IBM personal computer and Amstrad word processor, as it's with these that the growth of accounting and CRM software development companies accelerated at a rapid pace.
During this time SMEs started to adopt this new technology and it helped to transform their accounts and payroll practices, from manual accounting to adopting automated systems, especially Sage Software.
Since then, the accounting and business software industry has grown to encompass far more than simply doing the accounts and payroll.
Rebecca Haines of business management software specialists DMC Software Solutions says: "Sage software lies at the heart of most SMEs today and there are specific solutions for the whole range of vertical markets - allowing companies to stay fully automated, up to date with business legislation and much more."
The growth in service industries, relationship marketing, data protection, along with the need to differentiate in a highly competitive sector, has seen the expansion of CRM systems.
As senior managers want to spend time growing their business, rather than disappearing under a pile of paperwork, the growth of Business Intelligence software for intelligent real-time reporting, management accounts and forecasting is the latest, up-to-the-minute trend.
While the growth of Sage software usage in SMEs has helped to put them on a more level playing field with their bigger rivals, they do not have the same level of integration - they run different applications in different parts of the business and manual piece the data together.
And, when faced with ever increasing demands to improve efficiency levels and to optimise productivity, SMEs now call for CRM and accounting software integration so that everyone in their business can see the same data in real time.
With this in mind, companies like Sage have introduced integrated Sage software suites for SMEs. This is viewed by many as a revolution and many other software development houses are following suit already.
This is undoubtedly one of the reasons that Sage has enjoyed the biggest growth in the software development sector, far out competing any of rivals, even the longest standing.
Despite their humble beginnings, Sage software is by far the leading accounting software and CRM solution in the world.
Rebecca concludes: "The personal computer and work processor, together with solutions like Sage software has certainly help to transform SMEs in the UK today, and accountants are forever singing its praises.
"So when we go to work and use our systems (whether it be Sage software, Amstrad or IMB hardware or not), take its functionality for granted or complain when it's not working correctly, we should remember that we have a lot to thank these companies for - imagine the alternative; paper mountains, spreadsheets and calculators not to mention lack of direction and a very stressed management team!