Review: Sage One Accounts and Accounts Extra

AccountingWEB frequently reports on and reviews various accounting software applications for accountants. But community correspondent Rachael Power, a newcomer to the technology, reviews cloud accounting application Sage One from the small business clients’ perspective.

I have never used an accounting package in my life. But coming to Sage One with new eyes has given me an impression for what it’s like for others like me - small business owners - when they have to begin using these applications for the first time.

Long-time software reviewer and accountant at Burton Sweet, Nigel Harris, has also given me a run-through of Sage One, compared to Sage 50, to give me a feel for what traditional versus new accounting packages are...

Continued...

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Comments
andy.partridge's picture

Reviews in general    1 thanks

andy.partridge | | Permalink

Firstly well done for having a go . . . but
Reviews are only meaningful if they are compared with something. Sage always looks good, but scratch the surface . . .
I have recently had the misfortune to use Sage One and it suffers terribly in comparison with other cloud systems in terms of functionality and reporting.

Rachael_Power's picture

Thanks for your feedback.

Rachael_Power | | Permalink

The aim of the 'review' was to provide an insight into what it's like for someone coming to a package for the very first time or 'my first experience with...' rather than a comparison. But it gives me a grounding to compare to other products I review as I go on. And from a clients, rather than an accountant's perspective.

 

Out of interest, what did/didn't you like with Sage One? It might help me pick out things to watch for when I review other products!

stepurhan's picture

Usefulness of reviews    2 thanks

stepurhan | | Permalink

andy.partridge wrote:
Reviews are only meaningful if they are compared with something.
With all due respect, that is nonsense. As someone who has been writing reviews for years I can tell you that is not the case at all. A review should aim to do two things

  • Tell you what the thing being reviewed is intended to do
  • Tell you how well it does that thing

Whether you as a reader of reviews then wish to compare that to other products is a personal choice. Ideally the same site should have reviews of similar products, so you can make that decision based on similar information. But if a program does the job you want well at a price you think is reasonable, is a comparison even worthwhile?

No comparison that an individual article could do would be comprehensive anyway. If I compare Sage to Quickbooks, that still doesn't tell you if any of the myriad other accounts packages out there are better than both. Any article that does a broad comparison will only be able to lightly touch on each. It would be a different article entirely.

andy.partridge's picture

A number of disagreements    2 thanks

andy.partridge | | Permalink

1. A review without comparison is a promotion

2. Basic functionality is common across all programs. It is the detail that is important for prospects.

3. How could any first time user of accountancy software provide insight to users whose job depends on using the right tools.

4. 3. prevents your two aims of a review being fulfilled.

5. Nigel Harris's reasons for favouring the software were incredible.

6. I could go on, but I have work to do ;)

Rachael, an interesting exercise for you to undertake and for us to read, but no business decision should be based on it.

 

Old Greying Accountant's picture

As an accountant ....    1 thanks

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

... and user of the SAGE One and Quickbooks online basic packages and Freeagent too my findings are that Freeagent is the easiest to use but least functional and terribly consticting with some extremely annoying traits, the other two were similar in functionality, SAGE one having the nicer interface and ease of use but I like the "ask the accountant" code on QBO.

Although all entry level packages I think the reporting criteria woeful, althogh QBO is the best, even though I am and avid hater of QB from bad experiences many moons ago. 

Sage One Extra    1 thanks

sarah douglas | | Permalink

I held a meeting in Glasgow Baltic chambers with Sage One extra back in November.   There were quite a few who had used Sage One before.   There were many things wrong with Sage One.   One main one that they took advice from Accountants to not let clients post to the balance sheet .   Which meant clients could not post correctly it was an nonsense. 

Over the years at the ICB meetings we have given them a hard time over this, it basically meant we could not recommend the package to most clients. 

At the Baltic Chambers we reviewed the product over 3 hrs and gave huge feed back back in November for Sage One Extra.   It is not the same product in my mind as there has been huge improvements .  You can now choose to block your client from the balance sheet and certain codes if you want it is now not blanket.    The batch invoice entry has much improved , the reporting and the general functionality is much improved. 

The feedback from my Scottish Members was good.  Mind you Sage did allow them to ask dozen of questions and was much more productive and interesting than the road show at the Glasgow Science Centre which was a lot of show rather then getting right into the products functionality 

 

Hi Rachel

colinhewitt | | Permalink

I have to say, I agree with Andy, Rachel. 

It reads more like an advert rather than a review.  

You could take 90% of what you've written here and apply it to any cloud based accounting system.  Which is essentially - Sage one basically works, when you're guided through it by an expert.  

This might make someone think - "maybe I could use cloud based accounting software", but the big question for anyone is much more - "which one is the one for me?" or "how does Sage One compare to Xero, FreeAgent, Kashflow and Clearbooks etc?"

If you're reviewing something that no-one has much context for then a non comparison review is useful.  E.g what was it like to drive a formula one car?. 

But with something that is fairly similar.  Its like saying, what was it like to drive a Ford. Well - there was a key, some doors, electric windows, a cd player.  etc. You need to ultimately find some points of difference to make it interesting. 

Maybe its a good starting point for you to go and do a few more now though?

Colin

Malcolm McFarlin's picture

Lucky you Rachel    2 thanks

Malcolm McFarlin | | Permalink

With being provided by SAGE with your opening balances which is often the cause of errors later on if not set up correctly in the first place!

Malcolm McFarlin

 

Anyone using Software

sarah douglas | | Permalink

The review is of Sage One Extra, not all the other software's.   I like to see software's reviewed on their own and comparsions but that is two different types of review. 

Most people will try quite a few out and see which one is best for them as I have clients all pick various software's.    Anyone picking any thing for the business would always take a look at other things on offer.   So I don't see it as an advert. 

 

Quite right ...

JC | | Permalink

@andy.partridge - many valid points

'.. if a program does the job you want well at a price you think is reasonable, is a comparison even worthwhile? ..' is absolute nonsense at many different levels
 

nigel's picture

Correction

nigel | | Permalink

@Andy Partridge  "Nigel Harris's reasons for favouring the software were incredible" is, I think, a misreading of Rachael's penultimate para, which is slightly clumsy but is actually referring to Sage 50 rather then Sage One! Like many firms, we have grown up using, supporting and re-selling Sage (LIne) 50 and regard it as the industry standard.

My opinion of Sage One is far less charitable, it feels to me very much like a work in progress, but not something we are considering using with clients yet.

Paul Scholes's picture

So how about a comparison section?

Paul Scholes | | Permalink

Rachel, you and I discussed this last year and I PMd you at the start of last month after you said you'd put the suggestion forward but I've heard nothing.

As Andy says, basic functionality is pretty much the same (or should be) across most of the offerings but there is a wealth of experience out there of the day to day use of packages that just gets lost.  

If Accweb could provide a page per product, listing features and then enable users to leave comments & opinions, it would help no end in enabling us, and in particular new entrants to the cloud, to whittle down the huge list of providers to maybe 3-4 who may uit our needs.  It would also help level the playing field in which marketing hype can so easily lead people down the wrong path.

 

 

fjpickett's picture

Starting out    2 thanks

fjpickett | | Permalink

Kudos to Rachael for writing about the experience - you can only lose your virginity once!

However, she did have the considerable advantage of a Sage expert to hand, which few others will enjoy. I'd like to know how someone might cope on their own - not so well, I imagine.

avdyke's picture

Sage One limitations    4 thanks

avdyke | | Permalink

There are limitations to Sage One that are pretty deadly in a large already set up system:

1. You can only use 10 characters in a product identifier. So, if your database is already set up with EAN barcodes (13 characters) - you can't use them, you have to create new, shorter IDs. Sage response: upgrade to Sage 50 (£ouch).

2.If there is a '&' or a '$' in your descriptions, the product file upload fails. Sage response: "There are other characters that cause it to fail too, but we don't have a list of them" !!

3. As far as I could see, I had to enter bank account details either by hand or by loading a file downloaded from the bank. Products like Xero are able to log onto your bank and download all the details, every day, automatically.

I could go on. I had thought that Sage must be the best, because everyone uses them. But no, it's overly conservative and not very flexible.

Is that a review or a comparison? Maybe just a comment...

Andrew

Sage one    1 thanks

djn24 | | Permalink

One major flaw is that you can't restore a line 50 back up file onto the Sage online platforms.

So no easy way of getting opening debtor balances etc onto the new system.

willows's picture

Sage one / cloud accounting    1 thanks

willows | | Permalink

Tried sageone and tbh abandoned it on 2 gounds.

1. functionality was less than I have in tasbook v4. I was shocked at the lack of functionality from a company as big as Sage I thought it would be a giant killer, really disappointed. 

2. having your accounts 100% in the cloud is a risky business. The cloud is not for everything, it is good for storing non critical data and using as a backup. Accounting in the cloud is very risky and I say this from the point of view of an MD who runs a web development company. People sign up to the cloud, and are hood winked by the ease of signup. I ask them do they know where their data is ? they have no clue. They dont believe that 90% of businesses who suffer an accounting failure go out of business. 

For this reason I don't understand why sage are into the cloud, they should use it for backup or client view of accounts etc, but not as the centre of your financial accounting system.

We have yet to see the first online accounting company go bust and see the fallout. That will be the turning point.  

carnmores's picture

wind in the willows    2 thanks

carnmores | | Permalink

when did you try it last

 

having your accounts 100% in the cloud is a risky business   BOLLOCKS

stepurhan's picture

Journalistic independence    1 thanks

stepurhan | | Permalink

andy.partridge wrote:
1. A review without comparison is a promotion
I am not going to address your other points for one simple reason. They relate solely to this specific review, which I have not myself read. My objection is to the fact you are making sweeping statements about reviews in general.

A review is an evaluation of something (be it an accounts program, a book, a film, whatever) which attempts to judge it on its own merits. The reviewer is only concerned with whether the item they are looking at does things well or badly. The review itself should say what something does, and how well or badly it does it. It should do so as impartially as possible, ignoring any personal prejudices of the reviewer or making clear when personal prejudices are coming to the fore.

What it most definitely NOT is a promotion, and I object to this assertion most strongly. A review written for a respectable source needs to show journalistic independence, or it loses the trust of its readers. If a review blindly promotes something, regardless of its actual merits, then the producers of that review lose all credibility. As a reviewer myself for a highly respected site in its field, I am very protective of that credibility. My own reviews are a mixture of positive (which could sound promotional, but aren't) and negative (which negates your point entirely anyway. In what way can a negative review be a promotion?) but they are all based on my genuine appraisal of what I have reviewed.

As I said, I have not read the review above in full, but reading the introduction, I think I see a possible reason for what you see as fluff. This is written by a person approaching a program they haven't used before. As accountants, we can see short-comings in accounts programs more easily. A lay-person just has some idea of what they want to be able to do, and will be happy with a program that allows them to do that easily. If that is the case with Sage One, maybe there is some merit to it after all for the client with minimal accounts experience. There's a free trial, so it might be worth a look for those sorts of clients. Before using it for myself, I'd rather see a review by one of my peers, who will have the knowledge to look at the things I would be interested in as an accountant in practice.

stepurhan's picture

Detail please    2 thanks

stepurhan | | Permalink

JC wrote:
@andy.partridge - many valid points

'.. if a program does the job you want well at a price you think is reasonable, is a comparison even worthwhile? ..' is absolute nonsense at many different levels.

Rather than making a sweeping statement, would you care to elaborate on that? If you find a pair of trousers that fit you and are the colour you want, do you go to every other shop to see if anyone has them cheaper, or do you apply your time more productively on other things?

Xero    2 thanks

rawa363 | | Permalink

You can get basic versions of Xero for small sole traders all the way up to enterprise levels. It costs less and has far superior functionality and reporting as well as auto bank rec and bank feeds.  

@stepurhan

justsotax | | Permalink

you clearly have never been out shopping with a women....

andy.partridge's picture

'Journalistic independence'

andy.partridge | | Permalink

Isn't that an oxymoron?

Your defence is so robust anyone would be forgiven for thinking that you had met Rachael before.

Giving over editorial to a specific product at the expense of its competitors is by its very nature a promotion. How can you not see that? If this were the first in a weekly series, thereby giving suppliers an even crack of the whip, it would be forgiveable.

You haven't responded to my other points but you could. For example, if I were to take my very first flying lesson, what value could you place on my subsequent praise of the Cessna 172?

 

 

nigel's picture

Xero purchase ledger?    3 thanks

nigel | | Permalink

Simon, I have been running a purchase ledger for a client in Xero for some time. Have you looked only at the most basic cashbook version, or am I missing something? Apart from stock and SOP/POP, I can do most of the things I need in Xero.

garyturner's picture

Xero is a full accounting application    3 thanks

garyturner | | Permalink

Hi Simon,

Simon Joseph wrote:

Purchase Ledger

I have been shopping and looking around for my practice, and have established that Xero does not support a standard Purchase Leger, so that it is effectively a Cash Book Package, rather than a Accounting Package. It has a Creditors Control Account, but no individual supplier accounts within that.

It may visually present itself a little differently from the way older accounting software packages show a purchase ledger, but let please me assure you that the concept of a Purchase Ledger exists in Xero.

Traditional accounting software design tended to work on the basis that sales or purchase transactions were created in a discrete functional area of the application, and so the notion of managing purchases inside a purchase ledger module was the historical norm. Periodically these transactions would then flush down into the general ledger for the purposes of management reporting and accounting.

In Xero, all the capabilities you'd expect in a traditional purchase ledger exist in the Accounts Payable section of the application, and rather than operating as a silo, they're recorded simultaneously as purchase transactions and at the GL level, all in a single unified transaction ledger.

Gary Turner
Managing Director, Xero
@garyturner

Old Greying Accountant's picture

Took the wife to a pub ....    2 thanks

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

justsotax wrote:

you clearly have never been out shopping with a women....

... the other day, spent 10 minutes looking at the beers and left and took her to another pub.

Repeated this a dozen times, (we are blessed with many in our town) then went back to the first pub and ordered a pint!

Repetitive loop ...

JC | | Permalink

@stepurhan - can't really be bothered elaborating, as comments by others already in this thread make the point - so it would be a fruitless exercise, and encourage an endless repetitive argument going nowhere

John Stokdyk's picture

In defence of our correspondents    3 thanks

John Stokdyk | | Permalink

Rachael did exactly what we asked - and so did Nigel, who made it clear that as an accountant he preferred the capabilities offered by the desktop Sage 50 application. We also felt that the facilitated review approach was quite a close approximation of what would happen if a small business person took on an application like this under their accountant's instruction (which is the model Sage is using with its cloud application).

What a lot of commenters miss here is a key fact that we encounter over and over with cloud software - small business users much prefer it to more functional desktop products, and in lot of cases they are driving the adoption of these applications and seeking out accountants who will work with them online.

It's impossible to compare all the available cloud accounting applications comprehensively at the same time, and this exercise was all about Rachael opening the door to the technology and finding her way around. So thanks for your understanding and sensitivity to her situation - I had hoped we'd made it clear in the introduction, but obviously not clearly enough. Hopefully it won't put her off exploring some of the other applications.

Nigel Harris has already done so extensively, and has looked at Sage One for us before. He's also looked at KashFlow, FreeAgent, Clear Books and many more.

His cloud software observations are collected on our reviews page.

We do intend to compile a more up-to-date, comprehensive round-up of the competing cloud accounting apps, but that is a major undertaking we plan to complete over the summer, and it will have to be done in instalments like this. Until we complete the exercise, we plead for some patience from members and will continue to collect your comments and views and incorporate them into our research.

 

andy.partridge's picture

Poor analogy

andy.partridge | | Permalink

stepurhan wrote:

 If you find a pair of trousers that fit you and are the colour you want, do you go to every other shop to see if anyone has them cheaper, or do you apply your time more productively on other things?

For trousers you can substitute milk, drawing pins, the principle is the same. But . . . . not for computers, software, cars, planes, anything of a technical nature which will require a consideration of many and complex variables to determine whether it is really suitable for the job required. 

Xero is my preferred accounts    1 thanks

bussdean | | Permalink

Xero is my preferred accounts system now.. i hate using SAGE or Quickbooks now.. so clunky and out of date with modern technology and the possibilities associated with these. I had to restore a QB backup today.. 5hours later!! what a waste of time!! the security on online accounts system is better than most governments around the world!

In terms of using Xero, so much time is saved with the integrated bank feeds.. i had a client who had 216 transaction in his PayPal account in 1 day.. sales and refunds.. entering though in SAGE to ensure it was correctly balanced would of been a nightmare.. with integrated feed i had it all reconciled before the kettle boiled!

Yes Xero doesn't have a fully integrated stock system, but there are add on partners that allow this. Payroll isn't integrated yet, but again add ons make this system so much bigger than 1 website.

The purchase ledger in Xero is along the same lines as any other accounts system.. are you sure you were entering and reporting it correctly?

If you need any points on Xero just email me!!

Old Greying Accountant's picture

Agree with John ...    2 thanks

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

... I am finding that many new clients coming to me have been sold (mis-sold?) cloud packages when opening their bank account, they have then sought out an accountant. Barclays seem particularly adept at this.

Clients are either capable of running software or they are not, the packages are all broadly similar and if they are capable the choice for a small business wanting book-keeping for compliance rather than MI then the choice is not that important.

The beauty of cloud is you can gain acces, save a link easily and have the chance to test drive all sorts of software without any cost, disks worrying about keeping them up to date etc. This means it is the easiest it has ever been to support clients on various software packages.

 

Paul Scholes's picture

@John    1 thanks

Paul Scholes | | Permalink

As a general point I agree that, in the way it was done, Rachel was likely to get grief no matter which product she tried.  You must have known though that by going for the S thing, this was likely to cause most grief ;0).

With regard to the comprehensive roundup of products planned for later in the year.  Without practical knowledge & comment I think you will be on a hiding to nothing.

Not only will you have to include 24...no 25....no 26 products but this stuff changes week by week in functionality, features and usability.  Also several products will tell you they can handle Stock, FRS, CIS or multi-currency but, when you use them in practice, they either don't or they do it in a variety of ways.

Only if you allow users to post comments, hints and suggestions against the features will the uninitiated (for whom presumably the summary is produced) be able to judge the real benefits of each system.

 

Xero    1 thanks

menzieswill | | Permalink

Is much better than SAGE L50 and the lies they have told over the years on using over a network on multiple PCs have been well documented on here. Ever tried sorting a corruption issue in SAGE? I am an expert SAGE user but would never recommend it to new clients.

Xero is streets ahead, links seamlessly with your bank and has loads of add ons that improve functionality as your business grows. Good support is included in the monthly fee and help is dynamic and in plain English.

Get a free trial, you'll never go back to clunky SAGE. For the price of SAGE cover you could have Xero.

That is all.

Xero    1 thanks

Graham_Pierce | | Permalink

Somewhat off topic but I would echo the points made about xero's ease of use and capability.  Their business model of sticking to a limited range of functions and using APIs to link to specialists to support Ecommerce, POS and stock, time recording etc also seems like a really good approach, allowing a good ecosystem to spring up around it and avoiding overreaching.  I started using xero to handle the accounts of a charity which had grown too large in terms of transactions and number of people providing data to handle on desktop quickbooks.  The xero user experience is good enough that non accountants like using it and are able to enter their data correctly.  And when I looked at alternatives quickbooks and sage online were significantly more complex and in the case of quickbooks didn't have the functionality I needed.  Have been really pleased with xero but pleased to see that sage is making a concerted effort in this arena and once they get things like bank feeds up and running they should have something quite compelling particularly given the breadth of their uk user base.

Sage One Accounts    1 thanks

Peter.Trimm | | Permalink

I actually work for Sage One, and thought I could answer some of those comments made on the Sage One review.

10 character limit

In the 'Standard' level of Sage One Accounts there is a character limit for product identifier, but 'Extra' users will find we not impose this limit. Configuring the character limit for the Standard subscription level of the software is on the change roadmap, so watch this space if you currently use and like long identifiers.

Ampersands and dollar signs

Thanks for this feedback, the QA team retested this yesterday and have not been able to reproduce your issue.  I will look for your customer case and ask customers services to do some further investigations.

New reports and Import

Incidentally - the last two releases we introduced, among other things, a new automated import feature to enter customer/supplier opening balances which we will be extending to nominal balances, so setting up will be much improved for new users.  We also added a number new reports last night which again is the start of a series of reporting improvements over the next few weeks. Some will be reports from within the reports menu whilst others will be delivered as part of the configurable reporting views/ toolbar.

 

Peter Trimm

Product Manager Sage One Accounts

Consideration or comparison

paulwakefield1 | | Permalink

"anything of a technical nature which will require a consideration of many and complex variables to determine whether it is really suitable for the job required."

Yes but that does not require a comparison. If you want to find a product that is better or best then a comparison is required. To find a product that does what you need does not need a comparison - it either does it or it doesn't.

andy.partridge's picture

Slightly out of context

andy.partridge | | Permalink

To be fair the quote was in response to stepurhan's comment about how he would approach buying a pair of trousers.

lordlancaster's picture

Thanks for the review!    1 thanks

lordlancaster | | Permalink

Firstly, thank you Rachael for taking the time to do such an in-depth review of Sage One, especially as you say "I have never used an accounting package in my life"!

This is really important to us because our Sage One service is aimed squarely at micro and small business owners with little or no previous experience of finance or accounting software (never mind online/cloud-based accounting software).

Many of these people don't even have an accountant or bookkeeper so they need something they can start using immediately without any training. (If they do have any questions, Sage One includes free 24hr telephone and email support as part of their monthly subscription).

Because of the target audience, Sage One Cashbook (£5 + VAT per month) and Sage One Accounts (£10 + VAT per month) are deliberately simple and less feature rich than our desktop packages like Sage Instant and Sage 50 (the industry standard).

This means that until our more advanced Sage One Accounts Extra service was launched in October 2013, although end users loved it, many accountants thought Sage One was a little too simple for their needs.

However, Sage One Accounts Extra offers some features that even our desktop software doesn't so if you haven't already seen it, I'd encourage you all to have a read of our press release at http://uk.sageone.com/2013/10/21/sage-one-accounts-extra-press-release/ and then sign up for a free 30 day trial at https://app.sageone.com/signup?product=accounts_extra.

Accountants and bookkeepers who want to use Sage One with their clients can get hold of a copy of Sage One Accountant Edition from just £5 per year which lets them login and manage their accounts remotely, whenever they like (see http://uk.sageone.com/accountant-edition/ and http://uk.sageone.com/2013/09/19/sage-one-collaborate/ for details).

I'd also encourage anyone reading this to have a look at the following two videos which clearly explain the benefits and value of our Sage One service much better than I can:

The Customer View - Lorna Syson
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ON3VEGgR3m4

The Accountant View - Carolyn Burchell (Composure Accounting & Taxation)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJEpw8cOMZ4

Thanks again

Paul Lancaster
Sage One UK & Ireland
http://uk.sageone.com/blog/

 

This was probably why Sage &

Tony Earnshaw | | Permalink

This was probably why Sage & Nigel Harris set up the software for Rachael as importing from line 50 needs a full audit and the accountants are the ones that control the Journal entries so if posting opening & closing balances through this method then the accountant has to set this up and this will cost more for the client.

andy.partridge's picture

Good 'lord'!    1 thanks

andy.partridge | | Permalink

lordlancaster wrote:

Firstly, thank you Rachael for taking the time to do such an in-depth review of Sage One, especially as you say "I have never used an accounting package in my life"!

This is really important to us because our Sage One service is aimed squarely at micro and small business owners with little or no previous experience of finance or accounting software (never mind online/cloud-based accounting software).

Many of these people don't even have an accountant or bookkeeper so they need something they can start using immediately without any training.

Paul Lancaster
Sage One UK & Ireland
http://uk.sageone.com/blog/

 

Nice plug. However, bearing in mind that Rachael would have been utterly (and understandably) lost without the expert help of Nigel Harris, wouldn't you say that Sage One failed your very first test?

lordlancaster's picture

Many like Sage One

lordlancaster | | Permalink

andy.partridge wrote:

Nice plug. However, bearing in mind that Rachael would have been utterly (and understandably) lost without the expert help of Nigel Harris, wouldn't you say that Sage One failed your very first test?

No, I don't think so. It just sounds like Nigel set Rachael up with some basic info to get started quicker but I think she would have had the same reaction to the software if he hadn't. But he did, so we'll never know.

It is very interesting to me to read all the comments above. Although it seems like some of you will take a lot of convincing to like Sage One (which we will try to do), our many customers seem to have no problem using it and like it very much. (You can read some great comments from a small selection of customers that I've personally interviewed for the Sage One blog at http://uk.sageone.com/blog/category/customer-case-studies/).

Paul Lancaster
Sage One UK & Ireland
http://uk.sageone.com/blog/

stepurhan's picture

Defending reviews in general.

stepurhan | | Permalink

andy.partridge wrote:
Isn't that an oxymoron?
If that is your opinion, then no reporting has value.

Quote:
Your defence is so robust anyone would be forgiven for thinking that you had met Rachael before.
I am not defending Rachael. I am arguing against your sweeping statement that a review without comparison is a promotion. It is not, but your next point makes it clear why you would think that way

Quote:
Giving over editorial to a specific product at the expense of its competitors is by its very nature a promotion. How can you not see that? If this were the first in a weekly series, thereby giving suppliers an even crack of the whip, it would be forgiveable.
I partly agree with you here. AccountingWeb should create articles on similar products. I would welcome regular reviews of software products as a valuable new string to AccountingWeb's bow, that will save a lot of time for the repeated Any Answers questions about what software is good. The fact they have not, YET, done this does not devalue a single review. Say they now do 11 other reviews with exactly the same approach of 11 other products. Would the fact that there were then 12 reviews mean that this one was no longer a "promotion"? The content would not be changed by those additional 11 reviews, so having comparisons does not alter whether this is a good review or not.

Quote:
You haven't responded to my other points but you could. For example, if I were to take my very first flying lesson, what value could you place on my subsequent praise of the Cessna 172?
Most of your other points relate to this specific article. To make a meaningful response to them, I would have to not only read the review, but actually use Sage One myself (as some of your arguments against it appear to be borne out of actual use). I am really not that interested in the specifics of Sage One itself to spend that time on it. It is only your assertion that "reviews without comparison are promotion" that I have an interest in.

But to take your example, let me assume that you write the review so it tells me whether the Cessna 172 does what I want from a plane. If it does, I might do a quick online price check for similar planes to see if there is anything significantly cheaper. If there is a "demo" possible, I might even give it a try. But if it does what I want it to do, at a price I am happy with, then I am not going to spend ages looking at every other plane out there. True, I might miss a plane that is better for me, but where would comparisons stop? How many comparisons is enough? If the big 6 names are covered, is that sufficient, or is there a lesser known plane that will be missed by that comparison? My time is finite and I have other things I want to do with it. If I have found something that does what I want it to do, at a price I am happy to pay, why should I waste more of that precious time looking for a better alternative that may not even exist.

justsotax wrote:
you clearly have never been out shopping with a women....
My wife takes a similarly sensible approach. Neither of us rush into purchases, but nor do we spend entire days going into every shop available.

JC wrote:
@stepurhan - can't really be bothered elaborating, as comments by others already in this thread make the point - so it would be a fruitless exercise, and encourage an endless repetitive argument going nowhere.
Not a lot of point in making a comment if you are just going to say you can't be bothered to defend it when challenged. At least quote the other comments you allege support that view.

andy.partridge's picture

@ stepurhan

andy.partridge | | Permalink

I like your debating style, but your responses are not developing the argument only elaborating on your own fixed stance.

Re. the Cessna 172 (or indeed Sage One) you are saying that you would do a quick online price check if it did what you wanted it to do, regardless of the fact that both the reviewer (me) and the customer (you) had a very limited experience of the specific product, what products in that market ought to do, and what others could do. If I know next to nothing about planes, how does that help you in your purchase decision? Your response that you would do a quick online price check is absurd.

andy.partridge's picture

Big assumptions

andy.partridge | | Permalink

lordlancaster wrote:

andy.partridge wrote:

Nice plug. However, bearing in mind that Rachael would have been utterly (and understandably) lost without the expert help of Nigel Harris, wouldn't you say that Sage One failed your very first test?

No, I don't think so. It just sounds like Nigel set Rachael up with some basic info to get started quicker but I think she would have had the same reaction to the software if he hadn't. But he did, so we'll never know.

It is very interesting to me to read all the comments above. Although it seems like some of you will take a lot of convincing to like Sage One (which we will try to do), our many customers seem to have no problem using it and like it very much. (You can read some great comments from a small selection of customers that I've personally interviewed for the Sage One blog at http://uk.sageone.com/blog/category/customer-case-studies/).

Paul Lancaster
Sage One UK & Ireland
http://uk.sageone.com/blog/

I think you have made a big assumption over Nigel's participation. Without him it might be doubted if Rachael could even have been able to start. That's my assumption but it has no less value than yours and I am not out to sell anything. If you read Nigel's post he seems quite underwhelmed by your product. No doubt I can read great comments from some customers, but equally there are many unfavourable comments to be read about your products from people who know a little more about what other suppliers can offer.

stepurhan's picture

Flawed analogy then

stepurhan | | Permalink

andy.partridge wrote:
If I know next to nothing about planes, how does that help you in your purchase decision?
If I know next to nothing about planes, there is no reason for me to be buying a plane at all. Indeed, if I know next to nothing about planes, the chances are that I would not even understand the contents of a review or a comparison. The analogy simply does not work.

Now, before I go any further, I understand the point you are trying to make here. This review was someone using it that knew "next to nothing" about accounting programs when they came to it. But the difference to your plane example is that, despite possibly knowing next to nothing about accounting programs, business people still need some way of keeping their accounting records. If they decide to use a computerised package, because they want to avoid the receipts in a carrier bag method, then a single review might be enough for them. They know what they want to achieve, so if a particular program does that, and does it reasonably well, then the only thing they are likely to care about is whether they can get something equivalent cheaper.

I am not denying that being able to compare other products would be a good thing. Having several reviews that show all the equivalent products does leave the reader more well-informed overall. There may be aspects of an accounting package that the business person in question hasn't even thought of. That is not the same as saying, as you did.

andy.partridge wrote:
Reviews are only meaningful if they are compared with something.

If a review gives someone the information that tells them that a particular program meets their needs reasonably well, that is valuable to them. It saves them having to waste business time doing research or simply buying blind. As long as they are happy with the price, they know they are buying a product that will do what they want it to do. They may not end up with the optimum package for them, but they have also not spent days trying to check every program on the market.

Incidentally, if you are saying a review is meaningless because...

Quote:
..both the reviewer (me) and the customer (you) had a very limited experience of the specific product...
then you are misunderstanding reviews. A proper review should test all aspects of the product. If limited experience of the product negates a review, then comparisons, with limited experience of a variety of products, would be equally pointless. To do a meaningful comparison, as well as to do a meaningful individual review, you need to be looking at products in detail.

andy.partridge's picture

Unintended agreement    1 thanks

andy.partridge | | Permalink

stepurhan wrote:

[Incidentally, if you are saying a review is meaningless because...

Quote:
..both the reviewer (me) and the customer (you) had a very limited experience of the specific product...
then you are misunderstanding reviews. A proper review should test all aspects of the product. If limited experience of the product negates a review, then comparisons, with limited experience of a variety of products, would be equally pointless. To do a meaningful comparison, as well as to do a meaningful individual review, you need to be looking at products in detail.

You have muddled quite separate points, ie. I agree that a review from a complete novice has little credibility. I agree that a novice would not be able to make product comparisons with any credibility. I agree that a review from an expert without reference to features of competitive products has limited value and is, to a large degree, a promotion. Suppliers would gladly pay for such exposure. As was pointed out, by Paul I think, what a pity the supplier with the biggest marketing budget but who comes in for such stick by members, was chosen for Rachael's big adventure. That only serves to compound my disappointment! 

We are repeating ourselves and boring others, I'm sure. No more from me on this. Have a good weekend. 

abelljms's picture

Clouded solutions??    1 thanks

abelljms | | Permalink

 

 

 

They all seem to think it is CRUCIAL they have a quirky snazzy interface using stupid terms like "Receipt", when the standard term is "purchase invoice".

It's as though some slimey marketing team wrote the stuff instead of punters.

 

Why can't one firm produce some software with TWO interfaces - one for knobs, and one for accountants, so we can all look at the same data, and us accountants straighten out all the coblas stuffed in by clients who have no real idea, but think they do.?

 

And i note the ominous comment posted about poor reporting out of Sage 1 - what else would i want from an accounts package? games, crosswords?