As you may know, GoProposal has been acquired by Sage.

Whilst this may have come as a surprise to many, the decision to sell GoProposal and more specifically, to sell to Sage has been a thoroughly considered process that has taken almost 10 intensive months.

The entire GoProposal Team has been on this journey with us every step of the way and have helped to guide and shape this decision.

To ensure we know with total conviction that this was the right decision for our team, our members, our product and me (yes, you’re not getting rid of me that easily I’m afraid) we wanted to give our members the chance to ask their questions.

So to answer the community’s questions and concerns upon hearing the news we hosted a Live Q&A in the GoProposal Facebook Community with Simon Chaplin, Jack Choppin & Paul Barnes. Here’s a roundup… 

Why have you sold GoProposal?

GoProposal was built to sell.  I created it with this intention from day one and this has always been communicated with the team. Everything we’ve done has been very intentional and part of our financial plan. 

Why Now? Why not 2022, 2023 etc. 

It has happened sooner than we expected. Interest started to ramp up late 2020, and so we took GoProposal to market in February 2021 as we felt it was the right time. 

It gives us the financial security to increase all our teams, across web development, client success and marketing, to ensure we can improve the quality of our software and our customer service.

Could we have scaled the business further before selling? Yes but it would’ve been at the cost of something else and it felt the right time to do this.

Will My Accountancy Place (MAP) still be GoProposal’s accountants?

Although Paul Barnes will no longer be a director of GoProposal, MAP will still be providing the outsourced day to day finance function for us. We want their continued commitment to the level of finance quality they’ve provided so far. 

How much did you sell it for? And who else was interested? 

Several people have asked about such details of the acquisition but of course, we aren’t legally able to disclose this. We just want our clients to know that although Sage didn’t offer the highest deal financially, they offered the best deal that aligned with our company values.

James, are you leaving, or are you still going to be involved?

My new title is ‘Vice President of GoProposal,’ or ‘VP of GP’ has more of a ring to it. For the next two years this role will ensure the integration is handled smoothly.

“Sage wants my entrepreneurial force to impact positively and I’ll be involved exactly as I have been.”

At present, the team bring me in as and when they want to work on features and ideas. I should now have more time to do more webinars and video content.

What will you do when you leave? 

I’m not sure what the reality will be beyond this. I still love working with small businesses and hope to continue to work within this space, perhaps still with Sage in some capacity.

Will the current GoProposal team remain and will they still be integral to the day to day of running GP? 

Yes, although the team are expanding so that we can work with clients in more valuable ways. We’re very much still the GoProposal team and will be integral to the day to day running of GoProposal. Any dealings you have with GoProposal will stay with them and not the wider Sage team. 

The values and culture we’ve created are what have allowed us to achieve what we’ve achieved so far. We have a very unique recruitment process and while we’re recruiting now, Sage have given us the funds to do that but we’re not employing through Sage, although their values are aligned within ours we’ll do everything we can to preserve them.

Looking forwards, what is the GoProposal team most excited about?

Being a small business you constantly have to consider what could go wrong, but with Sage’s expertise backing us, we can focus on what can go right.

Why did you sell it to sage?

We achieved our financial targets and as other businesses started to approach us, but we actively reached out to Sage. We’ve always been financially stable but from a growth, governance and guidance point of view we knew we were ready to seek help.

This wasn’t our highest financial offer but it was the best offer. They’re passionate about being on the side of accountants and bookkeepers. 

Sage’s philosophies and values are aligned with ours. We liked how they considered our team. 

They’re committed as a progressive company and still the dominant accounting software. They admit they were late to cloud accounting and got things wrong. They had a complete overhaul of the senior management team recently and I have confidence that they’re committed to getting things right moving forward.

They don’t want to change us, they want to change themselves.

Will Sage be able to see my customer details, prices and what I charge for software? 

No. Not only is your data protected by GDPR law, but they’re looking to make positive connections with accountants to build their relationships with them. It wouldn’t be in their best interests to access any details without your consent. There are also strict laws around anticompetitive charges so they cannot access any details around pricing.

Will you integrate with Sage?

Yes, this integration has been planned out for Q4 and should mirror our other integrations initially, but we can’t promise an exact date. Rest assured we will not become a product that’s exclusive to Sage.

Sage are so behind the curve on so many things, how have they managed to convince you that they are dynamic enough to partner with you? 

It’s a strategic move from Sage as they wish to build out practice management here in the UK and in other English speaking companies. Their words were “GoProposal is the very best software at doing this and spearheads all practice management”.

Will Sage support the Australian, US and European market?

While the UK is the primary market for Sage, we will still be looking after our American, Australian and European markets. In terms of GoProposal, we’re fully committed to providing for all our areas although Sage will focus on our growth in the UK. 

What will happen with the Academy? Will you still be adding content?

Sage are still the dominant source of education in the accounting space. The academy will be going into their ‘university,’ and our current academy will continue to evolve. The next course we’re working on will be centred around my new book and we’ll be going full steam ahead with creating educational content. 

What is the plan for protecting the impartialness and honesty of the GoProposal Community from Sage? Will Sage clients have access? 

The community won’t change. We want to keep the organic nature we have there. We’ve been working closely with Chris Downing and David Jones at Sage who are both ex accountants. They’re the only two people I wish to invite to the community, as they’re knowledgeable and would be valuable to invite healthy discussions. But no sales staff or any other Sage members of staff or clients will have access. 

How will GoProposal change from the acquisition by Sage and has the roadmap changed as well?

As mentioned, GoProposal will still be very much functioning in the way we have done, with our principles and ethos still in place. Sage are supportive of our roadmap and we intend to be full steam ahead with this, although we are reluctant to give time frames. 

Is the practice management going to be a GoProposal stand alone, or a Sage product? 

Everything shared about our roadmap for GoProposal to become a full onboarding piece will continue. We’ve been working on our CRM to go live enabling a client portal and full onboarding piece. Live proposals and engagement letters are the next thing we wish to implement.  Sage were very interested in all our plans and in supporting them. 

There will be an integration in terms of our software as they have elements already built out that we can pinch. But the full onboarding suite will stand independently of Sage.

The roadmap we have been working through since May can be found here.

How will this affect members of Xero, QuickBooks and other integrations currently in place in GoProposal?

We’re fully committed to all the integrations we have. Innovations are coming with them and while we will benefit from Sage’s vast resources and infrastructure, it will be business as usual. No integrations are going backwards; nothing will be switched off or reduced and from a commercial perspective GoProposal will continue to uphold what has been put in place.

GoProposal members who use Xero & QuickBooks won’t be affected by the acquisition. We’re not asking members to move to Sage as a product, but to continue to trust in GoProposal. 

Will there be an integration with Autoentry?

As Autoentry have recently integrated with Sage we will be looking to integrate in the future. 

Will Xero based firms have to move to Sage? We have spent a huge amount of time and effort getting Xero to work in their practices. To make a total change of direction would be hugely costly in terms of time and effort.

We won’t be asking you to do that. We know many of our clients will still be Xero customers.

Will the prices be going up? When will prices be reviewed and will they be going up? 

No, we believe GoProposal is a well priced product. The only way it would go up is if we add more value to the product. But we have no plans to increase the cost of the core product. 

While we are revisiting the flat fee of Oversuite, we may review this but this isn’t influenced by Sage.

We hope your questions are answered above. If not, contact the team who’ll be happy to help.

We’re excited to let our actions speak louder than our words and show you how GoProposal by Sage will continue to support Accountants at the world class level you’ve grown to expect.

James Ashford

James Ashford

James is the Founder of GoProposal, Director of MAP., Keynote Speaker & Bestselling Author of "Selling to Serve". He helps accountants and bookkeepers around the world to price more profitably, sell more confidently and to give significantly more value to their clients.

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