ATLANTA, GA--(Marketwire - February 17, 2011) - Sage today released the findings from a recent survey of more than 500 of its Sage Accountants Network members from across the United States. Conducted in December 2010, the survey covers a variety of topics of interest to accounting professionals, ranging from top firm concerns and specialization to social media usage. 

Among the 533 respondents, 34% stated that getting new clients tops their list of concerns. 28% cited tax law complexity and changes as an issue; followed by the effect of new regulations and standards on small firms, keeping up with technology, and time management concerns, all at 24%. Work/life balance was cited by 20% of respondents, and keeping up with professional standards was a key concern for 17% of those surveyed. 13% of respondents cited access to affordable healthcare for employees as a worry for their firms.

Perhaps in response to the search for new clients, 83% of firms currently specialize or are planning to specialize in specific vertical business segments. By far, services/consulting was the most popular category for specialization (63% of those surveyed), followed by construction at 43% and retail at 39%. Other popular areas of specialization include working with nonprofits (35%), restaurants (30%), and manufacturing/distribution (29%) clients. 

"Fundamental to Sage's commitment to accounting professionals is a clear understanding of the common issues facing those in the profession, open dialogue with accountants, and finding ways we can better help them with their most pressing concerns," said Jennifer Warawa, senior director, partner programs, Sage. "Based on our research and in anecdotal conversations with our membership, specialization is currently at the forefront for most firms. In the coming months, we will be introducing elements to our Sage Accountants Network members that will assist them in taking that step toward specialization in their practices, and give them the tools they need to ease that transition."

When it comes to using social media for business purposes, the most popular social media tool for the accountants in Sage's survey is their own firm's Web site (37%). 28% of respondents are utilizing LinkedIn®, 19% are using Facebook®, 7% use Twitter®, and 3% use YouTube®. 43% of those surveyed stated that they use no social media at all for business.

To see the full survey results, please visit here. A similar survey also was recently conducted in Canada; findings for which will be released in the next few weeks. 

About the Sage Accountants Network
The Sage Accountants Network offers resources to increase technical competency and help grow an accountant's practice by providing informative communications and resources, product discounts, training, certification and membership benefits related to the Sage portfolio of products. Through the Sage Accountants Network, accounting professionals also have access to Sage products that include accounting and business management software, support services and automatically delivered upgrades and updates, including tax tables when applicable. In addition to software, members receive a complimentary listing in the Sage Accountants Network member locator. 

About Sage North America
Sage North America is part of The Sage Group plc, a leading global supplier of business management software and services. Sage North America employs 4,000 people and supports 3.2 million small and midsize business customers. The Sage Group plc, formed in 1981, was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1989 and now employs 13,400 people and supports 6.3 million customers worldwide. For more information, please visit the website at

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Aimee Ertley