First look: Sage 50 Accounts 2014 ‘VAT edition’ | AccountingWEB
This is a "free view" on the site. To view locked content you will now need to register

First look: Sage 50 Accounts 2014 ‘VAT edition’

Now in its umpteeth year, the 2014 upgrade for Sage's flagship UK desktop accounting package has been released to the market branded as “the VAT edition”. John Stokdyk explores the new features in the latest release.

Sage 50 Accounts has grown into such a distinctive package that you have to feel sympathy for the product development team when it comes to dreaming up features for new releases. To help this process, the company maintains meticulous records on support calls and wishlist requests and devotes a lot of time to product research.

During this year’s round, the company found that 56% of its customers had concerns about getting their VAT returns wrong and this finding drove the development of new VAT tools for the 2014 edition.

The new Manage VAT module steps you very briskly through the process of preparing a return, identifying and reconciling transactions and making any necessary adjustments very efficiently (see screenshot above). You enter the dates for which you want to prepare the return and Sage 50 will give you all the open transactions, along with notifications where they have not been updated or other issues have arisen. Reconciliation reports are available and tools to make adjustments if needed, but if your transactions are in order, you can click a button to reconcile them to the return (as shown above), click another to close them and a third button to file the return.

New stock management features

The other area that seems to have received the most attention in Sage 50 Accounts 2014 is stock management. The program has been equipped with a opening and closing stock wizard. It includes a spreadsheet-like grid if you want to conduct your own stock take, plus a facility to import an Excel or .CSV file. As part of the year end routine, a new tool lets you remove stock transactions and records, or clear stock on an individual product. If you then want to work out the closing stock value for the P&L, you can do this by hand, or you can click the stock wizard’s Calculate button to generate the value from your previous stock activity:

Sage 50 Accounts 2014 Stock management wizard


Sage 50 Accounts will also make life easier for companies that trade overseas. A Foreign Trader set-up wizard comes as standard with the Professional edition of Sage 50 Accounts, and is available as an optional extra for cheaper versions. The routine lets you define the relevant currency for customer, supplier and bank transactions, based on current exchange rates. This means you can record the correct values and print the invoices and orders in the correct currency.

Charity tools

For charity users, Sage 50 Accounts 2014 can record and track donations under the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS) and will produce a Gift Aid and submission reports that can be filed electronically with HMRC.


Serveral new tools also streamline the data management tools, including change your financial year option, which might help if you switch accounting dates, or if transactions are accidentally processed in the wrong year. For data maintenance, more tools are now available for users to archive their data at any time - not just during the year-end routine - and to run data checks, and reindex and compress the data if needed. This was an issue that the Sage 50 Accounts discussion group debated a few years ago.

Help confusions

All of these features are welcome, and obviously speak to the needs of existing users. But for someone like me returning to Sage 50 Accounts after a few years away the help system is a bit hit and miss. The information is in there, if you look but Sage appears not to be sure whether help should be delivered within the application or online help. Some answers are delivered by Sage Accounts Help within the application, while hitting the F1 key or other links such as the button within the VAT Manager launch a browser and take you off to a Sage helpdesk website (which containd the same information). Another help menu option promises webinars, so you can end up with 2-3 help windows open at once if you’re hunting for an obscure answer.

The YouTube videos were a bit on the irritating/simplistic side, but if you persevere through the “key feature” series you can find useful tutorials about using the application’s new tools.

The big question: Is it worth upgrading?

This is the question we ask every year of Sage Accounts 50. Sage customers who go for the priority Sagecover or monthly subscription options will be entitled to move already, but we know there are still lots of businesses and accountants who don’t want to follow the forced march along Sage’s upgrade path.

If you are a stock-based business trading overseas, Sage 50 Accounts 2014 is now a mature mid-market accounting package and a respectable rival to some more expensive options. And it has the advantage of working in a way that many users are familiar with.

AccountingWEB member ghewitt  injected a dose of cynicism to the discussion of the new version in our Sage 50 Accounts discussion group, by saying the upgrade worth talking about would be if Sage migrated to the SQL Server database. “Most of the updates I have encountered meant re-writing the Excel sheets I have created because it says “wrong data source” or some such when I refresh. Also the reports always seem to have a problem. There is only so much you can do before it just becomes updates for updates sake’.”

Sage 50 Accounts 2014

Target market Small and medium size businesses and their accountants. With generations of accountants having learned how to use it, Sage 50 Accounts remains the UK's most popular application, but is coming under pressure from simpler, cheaper cloud alternatives. Features added in the past few years make it an increasingly functional program for larger firms.

Cost From £619 for the basic one-person edition to £6,565 for a two-user edition with unlimited companies. The software and support can also be paid for with monthly subscriptions starting from £50/month.

Sage 50 Accounts 2014 - VAT return module

● It's Sage 50 - having been taught how to use it, most accountants can find their way around it.
● Fast and easy to set up new companies, with comprehensive wizards and help routines
● Wide range of functionality to meet the needs of most businesses: customers/supplier records, purchase/sales orders, project accounts, Excel exports and flexible reporting tools (many upgraded in past few versions)
● Some basic CRM elements, including an in-application diary to schedule accounting tasks
Mobile app allows for remote access to accounting records
● Enhanced Manage VAT module introduced for 2014 edition, along with new stock, multicurrency, charity and housekeeping tools

● Runs on proprietary Sage database, which can throw up occasional data index and storage issues
● While interface has improved with a central dashboard and task bars in recent years, it still carries hints of its 20th century heritage
● While comprehensive and readily accessible, Help information is divided between in-application and online archives
● Prices for high-spec multi-user, multi-company editions can run into the thousands.

For more info, visit



Locutus's picture

"The VAT Edition"    4 thanks

Locutus | | Permalink

Everything that you describe for preparing the VAT Return sounds exactly the same as for the previous 10 + years of versions, albeit that the screen layout is now slightly different.

I left the Sage Accountants Club earlier this year, as many of my clients are going in the direction of the cloud.

In my view Sage needs a proper cloud version (not the cut down SageOne or the Online50 hosted version of desktop Sage). They also need the ability to import bank data via an automated feed that several of the cloud systems now do.

In my 12 years of being a Sage Accountants Club member, not much changed in the annual updates. Good to see I won't be missing too much with the 2014 version.

"The VAT Edition"    2 thanks

njpandya | | Permalink

I used to work with mid-tier accounting firm and currently working in industry. I agree to the above comments. I can reasonably say that I have used Sage in Practice, Manufacturing, industry and most of all sorts of  business type one can imagine except Solicitor accounting.

What I found little funny about Sage is just by adding some shiny, bit catchy dashboards they charge nearly a fortune of amount for being a club member. But I my humble opinion it's time to go SQL with cloud version. Now, the best thing I noticed about Sage is their support is remarkable and worth if you are a Sage fanatic.


Witch-Queen's picture

'The VAT Edition'    3 thanks

Witch-Queen | | Permalink

Although most of you know me as what might be described as a 'Sage fanatic', I totally agree with the two posts above.
Not much has changed since the layout changed in V12. The only change that made life easier was the ability to put the Bank rec and other list windows in order, which came in on V16 (I think)
The Verification part of the new VAT return is a nice touch, IF the user understands what they are looking at, but I can see this causing a lot of questions.
Most of the questions I get from people all over the country about VAT are not about how to run a return, they are about what the T codes mean and how and when to use them. Especially where EC sales/purchases are involved.
I am part of the Sage Usability & Design Panel and about a year ago I was asked to look at a possible new design for V20 (which I did not like) but nothing I was shown at that time has happened.
Every year it's just a few new bells and whistles that people may look at once but never use.
In my opinion there has been no point upgrading since V16 (2010)

Sage upgrade    1 thanks

Myshkin | | Permalink

I think if anyone has any shares in the Sage group out there they need to sell them fast if this is all they can come up with.  Blackberry here we come.


There is so much that needs fixing!  How about grown up drill down like every other product on the market for a start?  How about proper exports to Excel that Quickbooks have had for years?  How about being able to amend reports without paying a fortune to 3rd party developers or needing a degree in computer studies?  I could go on all day as could all the other intelligent users out there.

But then I guess all the things we need would mean Sage going over to SQL which they have tried to do in the past and failed.  They just weren't up to it.

Si_Woodhams's picture

@ Myskin    2 thanks

Si_Woodhams | | Permalink

There are drill down reports - been there since 2012.

And you dont need a degree or 3rd party to amend reports - it is fairly straight forward.

Excel exports - have you not looked at the latest version - you can export anything you want to excel?!

Sage upgrade    4 thanks

Myshkin | | Permalink

The drill down is hopeless - have you ever used TAS?  

Amending reports is very far from being straightforward - I started with Fortran in the sixties and have been involved in software ever since.  Have you ever used Quickbooks?


And the Excel exports are hopeless - have you ever seen Quickbook exports?


Sage is only rated because there are so many people out there who have never used anything else.

Sage upgrade

njpandya | | Permalink

This can happen if consumer like me to begin with are ready to embrace an understand much better & user friendly products. I really liked some of the above comments made above providing much insight to the way Sage is approaching today's accountancy market. Looking from 360 degree one thing is sure Sage fundamental belief has been acquire new company & grow but seldom focus on the main product.

Hope Sage largest shareholder gets the point we are trying to make!!


Locutus's picture

Sage is in the wrong business    1 thanks

Locutus | | Permalink

Sorry for turning this into an anti-Sage rant ... but I've been using it since 1998 and in a decade and a half their flagship product has hardly changed.

I've always felt Sage is in the wrong business as it is more of a marketing company than a software company, since so little seems to go into product development.

The improvement of the bank rec facility 5 or 6 years ago was useful, the recent-ish addition of drill down facility on reports is clunky, as is the report designer (which I'm not sure has ever been upgraded). There are a few minor Internet bells and whistles bolted on, but it has really been 15 years of minor incremental updates.

Sage Accounts 50 as it is now, is really a product of the 1990s. Something I know for certain - they will have to make some substantial updates in the next 15 years, or end up the same way as the likes of Kodak.

Sage L50 I like it    1 thanks

sarah douglas | | Permalink

Hi Yes I know there are those who do not like Sage.

What accountants need to remember is that the package is been used by business who use every module and use sage for analysis, Stock system, database, credit control, project costing.  It is not made with just accountants in mind.

Sage is actually very good at completing those analysis when entering original source document.  It is unfair to say those who like sage have never used anything else and this is simply not the case.  As I said in another post cloud is no where near ready for entering large volumes of data.   I still recommend Sage to my clients as I still think it is one of the best on the market.  

I pride myself in keeping up to date and trying new software out.  Not all my clients are on Sage because it would not suit them but there are plenty that is perfect for. The work  sage have done on the stock system over the last few versions has been a vast improvement . The fact is my clients run very good businesses and if a package was not correct they would tell you quickly.

I like cloud softwares but like I have said before Sage is for a whole business and not just the accountants .  This is why I believe Sage will still sell.  One item I do notice with my clients is that some of the cloud systems do not deal with floating liabilities and Assets very well for the balance sheet when you are presenting the balance sheet to clients .

In relation to pricing it is important to let your accountant manager know if you are not selling because of price and they do work with you on this one. Also my clients do feed back that they are impressed with Sage Cover if they have it.   It is up to everyone to decide what is right for them as all software programs have good points and bad points and I think Sage is a bit like Marmite - those who love or hate it .  

Whether you want to upgrade it up to anyone but so far I have had a good response from my clients on the demos.  Just to clarify I do not sell Sage for a commission or any gain.

Sarah Douglas Douglas Accountancy and Bookkeeping Services Glasgow                                                                                          

v2014    1 thanks

johndon68 | | Permalink


@Witch-Queen - In my opinion there has been no point upgrading since V16 (2010)

Hope you are well :)  Not sure I'd agree on that one, 2012 brought massive speed improvements over previous versions which were, in some instances, improved again in 2013...


@Myshkin - How about being able to amend reports without paying a fortune to 3rd party developers

3rd party developers get no better access to reports than end users, there is nothing they can do with Reports than anyone else...


@Myshkin - Sage going over to SQL which they have tried to do in the past and failed.  They just weren't up to it

I guess we will never know the real reason why they pulled the MySQL version but the disappointing thing is that they actually did appear to be up to - I saw it running with 30+ users entering invoices all at the same time into the same database that already had over one million records in it and the program didn't beak a sweat…  


I'd certainly agree that Sage appear to be struggling for new features although one that is in v2014 that is new and hasn't got much of a mention is that it is now possible to process foreign currency transactions if you are on VAT Cash Accounting which doesn't sound like much but has required a huge amount of development work.



Speed Issues

sarah douglas | | Permalink

Hi John Don.   I would agree that there were huge differences in speed.    I have 2013 on a 64bit machine 8GB and it is superfast.  I also have 2012 and 2013 on a 3GB and 32bit and there was a huge difference in the speed.   I have a lot of clients who us the 3rd party adds ons through Sage and this can make a huge difference to a business. Sarah Douglas Douglas Accountancy and Bookkeeping Services Glasgow

carnmores's picture

QB 2014 arrives September

carnmores | | Permalink

and you can now migrate sage files thru  ledgerscope (and a charge) to QB online , something to think about...........

Upgrade to Sage 2014

arandall | | Permalink

I have read the article and posting on this subject with interest.  It seems that the diverse nature of the comments made reflects the diverse users that Sage 50 has.  I have used sage for 10+ years in industry and found that the functionality has not changed much in that time.  It still keeps track of the numbers, but reporting and integration is not good.  The report designer can be used, but in my view is overly complicated.  Unless you use it a lot, you have to relearn it each time.

I haven't noticed a speed increase in the 2013 version, perhaps 2014 will prove swifter, but I doubt it.  We use it across a network, which it is not overly keen on, so perhaps this is the problem.

Which leads me to SQL.  Undoubtedly this would be a significant improvement for those of us that use it in a multi-user environment, less so for single users.

And there we are back at the beginning, with Sage 50 trying to be lots of things to different groups of people.

I agree    1 thanks

paulwakefield1 | | Permalink

there has been little incremental improvement; at least to the extent it would benefit my clients (some are still running V11 very happily).

But I was curious about the export to excel negativity - ceratinly as far as transactional information is concerned I have found it pretty good.

Sage 50 Good for the Money    1 thanks

Cloudbased | | Permalink

A Sage fanatic would realise what a massive improvement 2012 was and to a certain extent also 2013 - streets ahead of 2010.  2014 may have limited appeal but addresses certain businesses needs.  For small to medium sized businesses Sage 50 is still a good product and value for money with a vast array of useful 3rd party addons.  Most of the Cloud options are for freelancers or small business and lack functionality of an accounts department package.  We host Sage 50 in the cloud ourselves and it works great - and we don't have to learn a new program.


AlanBourke | | Permalink

johndon68 wrote:

I guess we will never know the real reason why they pulled the MySQL version but the disappointing thing is that they actually did appear to be up to - I saw it running with 30+ users entering invoices all at the same time into the same database that already had over one million records in it and the program didn't beak a sweat…  



Possibly because of what Oracle are doing to it.

Sage updates    1 thanks

Ketchup | | Permalink

There will always be a diversity of opinions from users when Sage announce new upgrades. As one writer mentioned it is not just a product for accountants but for company users also and companies like they like especially when it is virtually bomb-proof. 

One of Sage's greatest core strengths is the quality, experience and help provided by the Sage support and in 20 years of using the product I  have never known them not deliver an answer.

Sage is now a mature product and IMHO does not need huge leaps in functionality. If you need something special as an add-on it is almost certainly covered by one of the large number of Sage Authorised developers. My two personal favourites are Spindle and Credit Hound    from Draycir.

In the 21st C we now use ONLIne50 for all of our small, Association Management, Membership and nfp clients inour outsourcing services business and it works like a dream; plus you select whichever Sage Version - from  8 onwards you wish to use and ONLine50 help is excellent and the systems are totally secure

My only request to Sage developers is to include on all trial balances, P&L accounts and Balance Sheet reports the last Sage system transaction number at the date and time of running the report.   





"The VAT Edition"

neilfo | | Permalink

We use Line 50, but I lodge VAT returns by logging onto the HMRC website and filling in the online returns manually.

There is just one reason I do this, and clearly I would love to file my returns direct from Line 50 as this would represent a significant saving in time.

That reason is that I'm not sure I fully trust Sage!

More specifically, I have asked the company, both direct and via forums like this, if they can guarantee to me that no additional information other than the totals required in Box 1, Box 2 etc will be submitted to HMRC when a VAT return is generated and submitted from within Line 50.

Simple question.  Simple request.

Yet no-one from Sage has been willing or able to give me that reassurance.

As soon as they do, I will start using the Line 50 module to submit returns to HMRC, but without that reassurance, I will not.

John S - would you mind raising this question with your contacts at Sage...?



Perhaps the reason for that

Ketchup | | Permalink

Perhaps the reason for that is that Sage cannot / will not guarantee and take responsibility that all the underlying and supporting transactions in your Sage data set - NL Sage VAT o/p i/p account balances -  for the period have been fully checked and reconciled to the return and that the sales and purchase day book totals for the VAT period that need to be journalled into the Sage VAT Liab account and that any transactions unreconciled from previous periods should/should not be included in the report to be submitted. 

The danger with too much information being created and submitted by default is that it may not always be correct.



HLB | | Permalink

When Sage bought Tas I thought here we go they will either shut it down or replace Line 50 with the Tas Accounts products. I was hoping for the latter. In my view they missed a trick as Tas was doing much of what Sage cannot do about 8 years ago.


Myshkin | | Permalink

The strange thing is I agree that TAS 8 years ago was a far better product than Sage is today so it is very difficult to understand what they are playing at.

The cynic in me comes to the fore every year when Sage Group announce their financial results and proudly claim that 70% of their income comes from support.  If it was a decent product that would be 0%.  But why would they improve it if that is where their profit comes from?





ireallyshouldkn... | | Permalink

Sage still not gone out of business?

Got to hand it to them for keep on sticking around despite the core product being completely outclassed since QB2005, and tinkled on from a great height by Xero in the past couple of years.





Xero by a great height

sarah douglas | | Permalink


I went to an ICB conference in London and Xero were there to demo their product.  They bombed it from a great height. They were torn to shreds and everyone was looking at each other going what.   There were 400 hundred at the conference and they clearly had not a clue.   It will take a while before I would have confidence in them.  It clearly could not deal with project costing for analysis.  

I am sure XERO has improved since then because it could not have got any worse in relation to their DEMO anyway.  I paid good money for the conference and travel to London and expected better from XERO.

I do acknowledge how ever they have worked hard since but from what I believe they have no cover for the clients and want the accountant to do it all.  

In relation to Sage Cover a lot of the questions they receive are how to deal with a scenario .  I personally think it is good that Sage is more than an accountants package as it suits a lot of business because of that. 

Also you can export from anywhere to excel in Sage , their have been vast improvements in this area especially from 2013.  The reports are also very good but the project costing reports could still be improved on and it is pretty easy to adapt them if anyone is stuck Sage cover will help them anyway adapt a report.

Sarah Douglas.  Douglas Accountancy and Bookkeeping Services . Glasgow



jaybee661's picture

@sarah douglas

jaybee661 | | Permalink

sarah douglas wrote:


I went to an ICB conference in London and Xero were there to demo their product.  They bombed it from a great height. They were torn to shreds and everyone was looking at each other going what.   There were 400 hundred at the conference and they clearly had not a clue.   It will take a while before I would have confidence in them.  It clearly could not deal with project costing for analysis.  

I am sure XERO has improved since then because it could not have got any worse in relation to their DEMO anyway.  I paid good money for the conference and travel to London and expected better from XERO.

I do acknowledge how ever they have worked hard since but from what I believe they have no cover for the clients and want the accountant to do it all.  

In relation to Sage Cover a lot of the questions they receive are how to deal with a scenario .  I personally think it is good that Sage is more than an accountants package as it suits a lot of business because of that. 

Also you can export from anywhere to excel in Sage , their have been vast improvements in this area especially from 2013.  The reports are also very good but the project costing reports could still be improved on and it is pretty easy to adapt them if anyone is stuck Sage cover will help them anyway adapt a report.

Sarah Douglas.  Douglas Accountancy and Bookkeeping Services . Glasgow



... not sure when this conference was but it must have been a long time ago as Xero is so far ahead of Sage it is unreal - and, best of all, Xero is not a money-making machine like Sage is, who charge you for every possible thing that they can - to be honest I have lost count of the prospects/clients that have said how expensive Sage works out to be.

... and as for the quality of their software, their payroll is probably one of the worst pieces of software I have ever seen in my life - you only have to take a look at Moneysoft - a fraction of the price and a million times better!

Online Accounts    1 thanks

Cloudbased | | Permalink

Most of these new online products really aren't up to the mark and only appeal to very small businesses and are written for people with no accounting knowledge, they have a place but Sage 50 is a level above and can run on desktop or in the cloud.  Ours is hosted by "Cloud50" and runs faster in the cloud than on the desktop.

Sage Accounts 2014 Update

robertaharris@t... | | Permalink

How Sage can get away with selling this stuff all these year is testament to the size of the  marketing budget  and the support helpline.  Not sure how long this can go on as they appear to be doing their best to kill the independent resellers.   The big issues remain.  These are the single year reporting and the lack of any real drilling especially on journals due to unlinked transaction lines in the data set.  They should can Accounts 50 and replace it with Tas Books which they also own but do not shout about.  Tas has since acquired the ability to import transactions as easily as one can into Sage.  It also has great  drilling and data correction facilities and you can compare up to 4 years performance.  You can also have as many companies open at once as you need, not just one.  The export to of reports to excel is a doddle - no messing with merged cells and data formats that you get with Sage.  You have to be in need of medical advise to want to use Sage over TAS or QuickBooks.

Less than 2 years

sarah douglas | | Permalink

The conference was in the Institute of engineering beside the Savoy less than 2 years ago.  I think we will have to agree to disagree.   I also took a private demo before they spoke in the conference and my view was the same.

 I do however take a look on a regular basis as it is important for my clients.  

Also if you are talking about Sage Payroll Instant or Sage Instant then I agree they are awful.  If you are discussing the package with full features then we will need to disagree.

I understand you do not like Sage which is fine but there are plenty who do and will continue to do so .  If Sage is so awful clients and accountants like people do with anything else, they will change their provider as it is not hard to do and like every other trade the market will change.  Many have already but like wise all my new clients this year chose Sage even though I showed them other packages.    I will also say that most of my new clients of a decent size did not want to use cloud even after quite a few discussions.

I think it is good to have so many options.    I also know that Xero will continue to improve and will be a success.

I also want to say that when you ring Sage you do get a British call centre from reading the ICB forum in relation to quickbooks it is an Indian centre and some of the ICB members were sent around in circles.  Just for the record I am not against India I would feel the same if it was any country re the call centre.  To my mind this was the mistake BT made.  I am a big believer in Global but sometimes it just does not work in all sectors 

Cost of Sage

paulwakefield1 | | Permalink

I agree the initial purchase can be quite expensive. But there is no need to upgrade every year and all of my clients using Sage have ditched Sagecover. The Sage support is indeed very good but they just haven't had the need to use it. The only potential downside is a severe data corruption which might be expensive to sort out (but they have good backup routines and error checking - but never say never!). So the lifetime cost is pretty low.

There are of course other good systems out there and Sage is probably not suitable for very small businesses (VT is a great solution there)  but for those in my client base which tend to be quite complex but not very large businesses, it works very well and is robust and, since we do not use it for reporting anyway, a lot of the shortcomings are bypassed. Yes - there are things it doesn't do and should do but I rarely find they cause me significant problems.

I don't get involved with payroll but those of my clients who use it swear by it (this would be the full version). But I grant it does seem expensive.

Si_Woodhams's picture

Wow some people....

Si_Woodhams | | Permalink

From something telling everyone the pros and cons the new program- into a full blown For and Against Sage as a company.... really people?

That's the way of the internet

paulwakefield1 | | Permalink


Sage so called up grade

Myshkin | | Permalink

"From something telling everyone the pros and cons the new program- into a full blown For and Against Sage as a company.... really people?

Are you any relation to the chap who posted on Wednesday?


terry morris | | Permalink

Several years ago i used a full sage package at over £,3000 per year. After an argument on the timing of my lease renewal and a new release of sage accounts production that wrecked my program.  I eventually moved to payroll manager,taxcalc and vt now costing £670 per year. Being a small business accountant (275 clients) i find that that these programs do all and more that i need. Including the cloud via drop box and sky drive.why pay more.

Sage rage    2 thanks

gbeman | | Permalink

It is interesting that anytime Sage is mentioned on accountingWeb it starts a raging argument (sorry - debate :).

I am one of those Sage supporters who became disillusioned in recent years at their 'apparent' lack of concern about upgrading the core product. Yes - they bring new and updated features that some people find useful but they are only plasters to fix little things and some glitz to help their marketing dept. They have not brought the product into the 21st century and although companies like Xero and Kashflow are in their infancy they are producing leading edge products.

Many clients are still reticent about 'cloud' but it will become the norm. I had hoped that Sage One cloud product would be an alternative to Sage Line 50 but it just pales to everything else out there.

Cloud products are cheaper, safer, constantly being upgraded, easier for client and accountant, and more aesthetically pleasing.

I love(d) Sage, but it is time to move on now.

Ps. once you have used bank feed - there is no going back !!

Moonbeam's picture

Yes, Time to Plan for different software

Moonbeam | | Permalink

I am just about to sort out a bank feed for FreeAgent and I think I will find it mind-blowingly simple to show very small companies how easy bookkeeping is on that sort of package.

Sage is of course not really for small companies any more, and my larger clients would struggle to find other software that covers ALL VAT reporting requirements with similar functionality. No doubt that will come in a year or so.

I have a love/hate relationship with Sage. Line 50 is the same engine that's always been there plus lots of bells and whistles that many users just don't need.

The suggestion that their stock option has improved in any meaningful way is unlikely to be the case. I couldn't be bothered to look at the changes. I know Sage wouldn't commit real money to paying for good quality programming time to change things drastically, which is what is required. I suspect not many Sage users need the stock option anyway.

As has been said by others, the real issue with VAT is working out how to deal with numerous rules and regulations from HMRC, which Line50 couldn't cope with anyway.

All software suppliers need the money from "upgrades" each year to keep going, and that's the only reason we get them so regularly. Many of the changes they make each year involve inserting a bug in something that previously worked well, changing a screen so its difficult to read, and other things we don't want.

The mere fact that Sage no longer "upgrade" their entry level software regularly tells me their cards are marked. Clearly they are losing market share in the startup company area, which can only mean the longterm decline of the company.


sarah douglas | | Permalink

All my clients use the stock system and yes it has changed.   When you do dispatch note ,which a lot of business do they use the stock feature.  I appreciate you are not interested in looking .  The stock system is one of the reasons I recommend it to clients as over the  last few years they have been improvements for the data entry person who is creating the invoices. 

As I said before Sage is built for the whole business and not just accountants so you are dead right that accountants do not need a lot of it.   I would like to say though that whilst accountants are important to a business there are many other functions in a business and not just ours.  This is why I believe a lot of businesses like Sage. 


Still frustrated - credit terms still not customisable in 2014

npittaway | | Permalink

I can't understand how Sage still haven't made the credit terms customisable.  We may many clients who's terms are 30 days from end of month or 45 days from invoice date or last day of month of invoice month.

Unbelievably, there's no way to get the correct reports out of Sage to find out exactly when an invoice is due.  This also applies to statements!  If you want to send out statements, you can't just send them all in one go, you have to manually exclude everyone that's got a non-defualt payment term and those individually by changing the program defaults before sending each set.



FoxAccountancyServices's picture

I thought the "VAT edition"

FoxAccountancyS... | | Permalink

I thought the "VAT edition" was going to be tackling the introduction of the Mini One Stop Shop, but heard no mention of it so far?

Old Greying Accountant's picture

Sure ..    1 thanks

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

... SAGE is not perfect, but for a serious business with proper sales and purchase functions I like it. It is best used by professionals though, and not amateurs. A small scale business is well served by Xero, FreeAgent etc. I cannot bring myself to ever use QB after bad experiences years ago - it didn't have a solid enough audit trail for me.

Sage is really easy to use through excel, far easier to get info out of than Xero unless you want their limited number of pre-formated reports, and Xero would struggle to handle the volume of transactions SAGE does with any great speed.

I am totally with Sarah, SAGE has its place, as do all packages, it is for the accountant or bookkeeper to know what is out there and match it to their clients needs.

Whilst bank feeds are good, the are not the dogs reproductive organs, I find with FreeAgent it takes seconds to import the bank, but then I wear my finger out clicking away to post the items (create explanations to use the vernacular). To do this I have to wade through the paid invoice file and to be frank it would be as quick to post straight on SAGE via bank payments. One in particular is internet based and has vast quantities of small credits from online purchases, all have to be "explained". It would be easier to download the bank statements as a csv file and code up for SAGE but for the fact the client wants to have the cloud access offered by FreeAgent. 

There are many clients where I use a spread sheet to capture and sort the bank and then import nice clean data straight in. I did one such the other night, I put three months bank movements on to excel, imported in to SAGE and produced the VAT return, this is a substantial business, VAT due was £14k - all done whilst watching the Zorro film that was on - they tend to bank 20-30 cheques on one paying in slip, I just type one line, drag and drop to fill the series and just type in the amounts and invoice number and put the invoice date as the extra reference so I can pick up debtors at the year end - easy peasy -  I really don't think it would have been any quicker on a cloud package having to "explain" all the entries from the bank feed.

BobEdwardsLandmark's picture

Xero or Sage?    1 thanks

BobEdwardsLandmark | | Permalink

Used Sage for over 20 years, its a solid workhorse that is completely incomprehensible to non-accountants. Maybe that's why accountants like to use it?

I transferred all my clients and my own businesses to Xero last year and I am struggling to find anything to complain about.

Bob Edwards

Sage is not completely incomprehensible

sarah douglas | | Permalink

None of my clients who use sage have any problems and they are non accountants.  As with any software some clients should be let no where near the books. It is irrelevant what software.  Xero has not the reporting departmental , project analysis my clients need so I could not change them over.  That is not to say it will not in the future.    Not everyone likes automatic bank feed so I always show clients all the alternatives so they pick the best software that suits them.

Sage Failings    2 thanks

Myshkin | | Permalink

As one who posted early in this debate I would just repeat what I said at that stage is that here we have an upgrade that doesn't have any new features at a time when there are many failings with Sage that could be sorted and might perhaps start to win us over.  Surely Sage knows there are so many of us out here who dislike their product intensely?  Do they not care?

Grown up drill down (for heavens sake at least let us drill down from the trial balance)/flexible reporting that we are not embarrassed giving to our clients/usable exporting to Excel or Word instead of the dog's breakfast we get now.

And how about departmental reports with drill down and some prior year comparatives?

And a balance sheet with prior year comparatives?  TAS does beautiful reports with 4 year balance sheets side by side.  You own TAS why can't you just port these things over?

And amendable journals when I once again post one the wrong way round (own up guys I'm not the only one)

Etc etc etc etc


ireallyshouldkn... | | Permalink

@ sarah D, re departmental analysis in Xero, you can cut the data into several slices using "tracking" which is effectively dept numbers and you can have as many as you like, so you can have several levels of 'slices' if you want. I have a client who tracks the department and then down to the sales person for example. You could have more layers if you wanted to.  You can also use "inventory items" which is a powerful tool for sales lines (regardless of whether its physical stock, or just a service).  

Quite agree however its "horses for courses" with software.  

Old Greying Accountant's picture

A couple of things ...    1 thanks

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink


  1. SAGE has drill down on many reports, P&L and B/S amongst them - can't see the biggee on TB, you can get the activity report easily enough from the NL screen, can't see I would use a TB drill down function myself.

  2. I get fed up with the neanderthal bigots derailing every SAGE thread by bashing it, often as with bigots through ignorance - this makes it very difficult to discern the pertinent useful posts that actually relate to the OP from the mindless crap that is spouted with boring repetitiveness.

a couple more things!

gbeman | | Permalink

1. the existing drill down on sage is useless. it rarely does what it is suppose to.

2. I for one, hope that someone at Sage reads these posts and see the 'tide' of growing frustration with customers who once loved sage and are now looking elsewhere because we feel let down by a company we used to trust. Their charges are not commensurate with product quality.

People generally only shout about things they care about (whether good or bad). Everyone's opinion is 'pertinent' if not always useful, this is after all open forum.

Derogatory terms like "neanderthal bigots" are neither pertinent nor useful or even correct. So who is ignorant?

Moonbeam's picture

What's right for Client

Moonbeam | | Permalink

I have a client who has owned Sage for many years, but never felt happy using it. I have been doing all his bookkeeping up to now on Sage. He now wants a cloud option, and as his version of Sage would cost around £110 plus VAT per month forever in the cloud, I have suggested we look at Xero.

I think he would like using Xero, might be able to do a substantial amount of his bookkeeping himself, and at £24 plus VAT a month Sage is no contest at all.

I do note that it's difficult getting a response out of Xero, having waited 24 hours so far for a reply to an email, so that's one downside.

Old Greying Accountant's picture

The older and greyer I get ...    2 thanks

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

... the more ignorant I realise I am, some of it I remedy, some I don't. Ignorance is not a sin, but I don't spout off about things I am ignorant of. I wasn't referring to gbeman specifically, but if the cap fits by all means don it.

My main gripe is the lack of relevance of 90% of the comments anytime the S word gets mentioned in a post, all they do is obscure the answer the OP is seeking, the OP generally doesn't want people bleating on about how crap SAGE is, just a resolution to their problem.

I have never had a problem with SAGE drill down, but don't really use it that much, far better ways to interogate the system if you know how.

May be from a book-keeping stance you would more, but from a compliance accounts prep point of view not that useful as far as my needs go.

How many who take the time and effort to moan on forums like this actually bother e-mailing, writing to or telephoning SAGE with their gripes and suggestions? 

I for one am bored witless sifting through the diatribes to find the interesting, pertinent and useful comments.

carnmores's picture

to follow the analogy OGA

carnmores | | Permalink

Thank you for the music the songs your singing.....

Old Greying Accountant's picture

That reminds me, long ago ...

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

... outside a chip shop in Walthamstow ...

Quick reply from Ignorant Neanderthal bigot    1 thanks

Myshkin | | Permalink

Hi Old Greying Accountant - as someone who uses Sage all day and every day could you tell me where this drill down from the B/S is accessed from?


Your post is very late at night - maybe just back in from the pub methinks.

Drill Down

johndon68 | | Permalink

Myshkin wrote:
as someone who uses Sage all day and every day could you tell me where this drill down from the B/S is accessed from?

In v2014, preview the P&L or the BS and you have full drill down all the way to the individual transactions that make up the figures...