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June 14, 2024

Accounting Platform Sage Launches AI CoPilot to Boost Sector Offerings

Accounting Platform Sage Launches AI CoPilot to Boost Sector Offerings

CEO Steve Hare speaks about end-to-end construction solutions at Sage Transform user event in Las Vegas. 

Photo by Jeff Yoders/ENR

Accounting technology platform provider Sage announced a new artificial intelligence-based tool called CoPilot to help customers perform tasks related to payments and compliance

The company is developing a domain-specific large language model for accounting and compliance using Amazon Bedrock and Amazon Lex technologies, and working off of the cloud environment of Amazon Web Services, said CEO Steve Hare at its Transform conference in Las Vegas February 28.

The accounting and compliance-focused tool will initially inform Sage Copilot, and serve as a foundation designed to assist in navigating local accounting and compliance applications. Company CTO Aaron Harris said CoPilot training will be from data sets of customers who have opted in to share it with Sage. CoPilot is set to be released later this year.

Sage also announced a construction suite of products bundling the capabilities of Sage Intacct Construction, Sage Construction Management and the recently acquired BidMaxtrix software.

“We’ve taken Sage Intacct Construction and then just gone back to our roots with a construction suite around financials, the operations in the field, preconstruction, all which is moving that into the cloud,” said Dustin Stephens, vice president of construction and real estate at Sage. He stressed that open application program interfaces with the products in the suite would allow contractors to move their data into and out of it.

“We’re excited to have this level of real-time insights extend beyond financials with Sage Construction Management. Using the two solutions [Construction Management and Sage Intacct Construction] together gives us an end-to-end cloud system that can help us be more efficient across the business, from initial lead through project completion,” said Joe Murray, CEO of contractor ACT Construction, which was previously an Intacct Construction user.

Julie Adams, Sage senior vice president of product and technology, said the intent of such services is to eliminate the monthly close and annual audit using generative AI and real-time analytics.

For CoPilot, Hare said the generative AI will be able to create emails and communications
to chase down payments as well as create dashboards and reports that illustrate financial data, including cash-flow analysis using simple language requests. For construction customers, highlighting cost overruns due to unforeseen conditions or other delays can be identified and dealt with through generated weekly reports. Intacct already uses its AI to automate tasks, but Harris said CoPilot’s generative approach could write the code to create payment request letters and other such tasks.

“Large language models have the ability to take an input and decide what are the necessary steps to complete that task and then to execute the task, whether it’s making an API call, writing the code to interact with the database, doing some formatting of data to make it human readable, but this graduation from using AI to do one thing really well, to doing that within a connected workflow really well is going to change the way automation works in businesses,” Harris said. 

Hare also announced at the user conference that Sage Earth, the company’s carbon-emissions compliance tool, will be available in AWS Marketplace by the end of March. It uses accounting and other data sources to calculate a client’s carbon footprint and suggest emission-reduction strategies for value chains of both small and large busineses. Sage Earth will be available in the AWS Marketplace in the UK and Ireland by April, with plans to extend to North America and across Europe over the next 18 months.

ENR Midwest Editor and Associate Technology Editor Jeff Yoders has been writing about design and construction innovations for 16 years. He is a two-time Jesse H. Neal award winner and multiple ASBPE winner for his tech coverage. Jeff previously launched Building Design + Construction’s building information modeling blog and wrote a geographic information systems column at CE News. He also wrote about materials prices, construction procurement and estimation for MetalMiner.com. He lives in Chicago, the birthplace of the skyscraper, where the pace of innovation never leaves him without a story to chase.

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