Accounting Bot Launched at Sage Summit

Sage has launched a chat bot for accounting in partnership with bot platform Gupshup.

The bot, named Pegg, enables users to log expenses, check invoices, track payments and more via the chat apps Facebook Messenger and Slack. The bot was launched at Sage Summit 2016, being held this week in Chicago.

Gupshup CEO Beerud Sheth described Pegg as a “lightweight” program that is ideal for today’s sharing economy. Having co-founded Gupshup after finding success with Elance, the online staffing platform for freelance workers, Sheth believes that Pegg will find a foothold among freelance and gig-work accountants very quickly.

“Bots are not a new gimmick,” Sheth told Accounting Today. “They represent a paradigm shift just as desktop computers did in the 1980s, websites in the 1990s and apps in the 2000s. Bots are far superior to apps in terms of software updates, and they are also less expensive to develop.”

Apps have to be optimized for each platfrom on which it operates, whether it is a desktop computer, tablet or mobile phone. The software updates require user participation, which Sheth notes most users hate doing. A bot such as Pegg takes care of its own updates.

Also, Sheth told Accounting Today, bots have far more potential for customization than apps, since they learn user behavior along the way.

Pegg contains natural language processing abilities that enable users to say things in more than just one way. Sheth also noted that Pegg makes accounting “invisible” — the business user simply exchanges chat messages with the bot while the bot does the accounting behind the scenes. Users can tell the bot about expenses and other accounting information, and can also upload images of receipts on the go, which Pegg records. Users can access simple reports at any time which list all transactions, expenses only or income only. The link generated by Pegg to view the reports expires after every use to preserve security.

“Over 65 percent of small businesses continue to largely rely on spreadsheets and manual recordkeeping practices that are not only inaccurate and time consuming, but also incredibly tedious and costly to maintain,” said Kriti Sharma, global director of mobile product management at Sage, in a statement. “Gupshup’s industry-leading cross channel bot platform has given us the ability to overcome the complexities of today’s accounting software and offer a fun, intuitive and accessible experience to entrepreneurs and small business owners.”

Pegg is available to a global audience and supports any currency. To use the bot, visit hellopegg.io.

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