Accountancy software group Sage has reported a 14% rise in annual profits after seeing a return to sales growth over the second half of the year.
The Newcastle-based firm, which employs around 13,000 people and serves more than six million businesses worldwide, posted underlying profits of £355.7 million for the year to September 30 as revenues remained flat at £1.4 billion.
Chief executive Guy Berruyer, who took over from long-time boss Paul Walker in October, said the company was seeing signs of improving markets for its small and medium-sized business (SME) customers, although this varied by region.
“I am particularly pleased that we have seen a return to organic revenue growth in the second half of the financial year,” he added.
Sage’s first period of growth in software and software-related services since 2007 meant its overall revenues were 3% higher on an organic basis in the second half of the year, compared with a decline of 2% in the first half.
Sage said: “In the same way that SMEs entered the recession later than larger businesses, they have lagged larger businesses in seeing confidence return to their markets. We are seeing signs of more optimism from SMEs, although this has to be balanced with a lack of visibility over the economic recovery.
“SMEs are prepared to invest in business management products and services where they see real business benefits.”