Now that Sage 100 is dead in the water - what are the credible alternatives?

Now that we know we are not going to get a mySQL Sage 100, many people are now looking around for viable alternatives. Perhaps here we could share experiences of packages so that we do not "jump out of the frying pan and into the fire" by choosing the wrong one.

Comments

Sage 100 replacement?

jason.raikes | | Permalink

How about Microsoft Dynamics (used to be Great Plains Dynamics) or do people feel that is a sledge hammer to crack a nut? 

Regards,

Jason Raikes

www.pendragonsystems.com

 

Mid market

tomsk100 | | Permalink

Thanks for this topic.

We're also looking for accounting packages suitable for 3 - 10 networked users with over 100,000 transactions.

We seem to be stuck at the moment between Line 50 installations priced around £1K - £2K and Line 200 installations around £12K - £20K.
I was hoping that Line 100 would come to the market place but now it's been scrapped we're also looking for a good mid range - mid price alternative.

Any suggestions appreciated.

 

Sage Additions? Google?

chrisharding | | Permalink

Not wanting mto make an attempt to directly advertise our solution, maybe you could take a look at the Sage Additions Catalogue, or speak to Sage to see what they would suggest.

There is the danger that you will start to look at other accounting systems if they cannot suggest anything between Sage 50 and 200. I am sure they would rather keep you as a Sage 50 user and promote a solution that can interface with it.

Many of these solutions remove the need to change your entire accounting package and will also provide you with additional functionality that even 100 was never going to provide.

 

davidakime's picture

Mamut

davidakime | | Permalink

Hi tomsk100

Personally I recommend Mamut.

It is a scaleable solution with CRM and stock control (depending on which version you take up).

One word of caution - it is an accountants style of package, i.e. it is old school and not the current cloud style user interface. Accountants love it, as you can do everything by journal end users can struggle if they don't like following processes (have to be totally honest).

If you need more details email me on davidk@boston.duntop.co.uk and I would be happy to help.

Alternatively what about a cloud based package - I think you would be a little large for Xero (worth a look www.xero.com) but I am sure something like Brightpearl (http://www.brightpearl.co.uk/) would cope well.

David

Sage 100 SQL

ghewitt | | Permalink

I think most people, judging from the forums, wanted an SQL Sage to obviate the crashes, slowness and data corruption that is the archaic DOS flat-file system Sage uses. Now call me Mr Cynical if you like - and I haven't seen the 'official' reason why Line 100 SQL was dropped; but to my thinking a working, trouble free package would somewhat diminish the income of Sage; ergo, killing the golden goose is not an option. Having a bolt-on will not solve the problem that is inherent in Sage Line 50. It needs to be buried under six feet of concrete never to see the light of day again; but it won't be because too many jobs in call centres et-al depend on the crashes and corruptions.

Now back to those alternatives.......

Addins probably not the answer

tomsk100 | | Permalink

Thanks for reply Chris, it's not that we want to move away from the Sage products but the Line 50 package grinds to a halt at a certain point. So I can't see us wanting to link anything else to it when it struggles on it's own.

A SQL based version with better perfomance and scalability would have been great, but the fact that it's not going to happen has triggered the search for an alternative.

 

 

 

 

   

Push starting Sage

chrisharding | | Permalink

It will obviously depend upon the reason Sage 50 is not living up to expectations.

Companies approach us for two main reasons. Sage 50 does not offer the fuctionality their business now requires (Too long a list to include here), or their system is slow, full, and has data errors.

Systems sitting alongside Sage 50 can have a dramatic effect on its performance by reducing the number of transactions that are being processed.

Instead of posting a sales order with 50 lines, how about posting jsut a single transaction? All the additional and useful information is held in the 3rd party system.

Many of our clients are able to "clear down" their Sage system as a result of adding a more capabale database system for the processing of sales orders, purchasing, invoicing, and production.

Additionally, they only need 1 or 2 users on Sage 50. The additional users are able to use the 3rd party solution for all of their daily tasks, whether that is sales, order fulfillment, purchasing, production, and invoicing.

If I want to upgrade my DVD player to a Bluray player, I don't want to also have to change my TV if it is already HD ready.

 

Push Starting Sage into the twilight zone

ghewitt | | Permalink

I'm sorry!

Did I read that correctly?

Are we here suggesting having a whole accounting package built around Sage?

Isn't Sage supposed to do all that you are suggesting?

The analogy of the DVD player/Blue ray player / TV works only if you have bought 'separates'; i.e. a modular accounting package.

Sage is an 'all-in-one' and I expect it to work. What I don't expect is to have to buy extras to do what Sage is supposed to do.

I have a better idea.

Why don't you, or your company, design an SQL engine that all your modules bolt onto and become an accounting software house yourself - I'm pretty sure you would get plenty of custom judging by the amount of problems Sage has.

The concept of forking out for Sage and then forking out again to buy third-party modules to do what Sage is supposed to do in the first place... I mean... am I wrong here... somebody tell me if I am? Maybe I'm not looking at this right somehow?

 

 

Alternatives...

johndon68 | | Permalink

I think what is being suggested is that Sage is used for the core financial accounting function and that the addons provide the 'commercials' modules which then post summary financial transactions into Sage which then provides Financial Reporting, VAT Returns etc.

I guess that way, not only is 'bulk' data stored outside of the Sage database, it also allows for a much cheaper version of Sage to be purchased.

John 

Alternatives or Add-on

IJenssen | | Permalink

Yes, it does work very much as in John’s description.

We have built a link between Mamut and Sage 50, allowing you to use modules of Mamut such as CRM, Stock control with multiple warehouses, Purchase Order Processing, Sales Order Processing, Point of Sale, and more while retaining Sage 50 for your accounts. By moving the majority of the processing from Sage 50 to Mamut and only record transactions that affect the accounts in Sage 50, you remove a lot of the file size limitations and processing speed issues from Sage 50.The main thing that gets updated in Sage 50 is the audit trail so you then use Sage 50 for VAT, Credit Control, Management Reports, Annual accounts etc.

You also get to retain the investment you have made in Sage 50 as well as staff training and knowledge as you do not replace the whole system. Mamut comes standard with 999 companies which is great if you run a book keeping service or similar. Mamut uses MS Sql database and contains numerous reports and the data can be easily extracted. Also Sql reporting tools can be used to build your own queries.

Ivar

www.mabsolutions.co.uk

 

 

Have a look at Exchequer from Iris

James Stanley | | Permalink

If you're prepared to move away from Sage as your supplier, you could do worse than have a look at Exchequer.  It's fast, and pretty easy to use, though it is a bit idiosyncratic.  Personally, I don't like the way it deals with bank reconciliations, or with foreign currencies, and you may find the way it keeps all periods open at once can be confusing, though if you're disciplined this is a great bonus.  To my mind the job costing is a bit poor, but in all other respects, it works very well (and it's very responsive on ordinary hardware).  Reporting is good, provided you don't mind that it hs to be done in Excel, it copes easily with 8 users (I've never used it with more than 8, so I can't comment on more than that).  If you want to be picky, the intrastat reporting is a bit awkward, but as someone who uses it day in, day out, I'd say it lives up to its reputation.

James

Add-on's because the accounting engine doesn't have capacity - E

JC | | Permalink

Agree with @ghewitt - what on earth is going on; this is stretching a point even for the Sage appologists?

@johndon68 - Sage is being sold as a complete product and according to this thread it cannot cope with handling everything expected of it.

The fundamental reason for this failure is the lack of a proper uderlying database and yet Sage refuse to do anything about it - this is why we now have suggestions about holding data externally which is nonsensical

What is the matter with all the Sage advocates - they seem so blinkered that even when it is blindingly obvious that the program doesn't work they still try to find work arounds

The answer is simple - since Sage resolutely refuse to play their part by updating the db everyone needs to dump this product  and not be taken in by the marketing rhetoric

statement by Steve Attwell of Sage said.

'.. As you are aware we have been working on the concept of Sage 100, which takes our existing successful Sage 50 platform and migrates it to a MySQL database. During the course of this project we have also been taking a long hard look at future market and customer trends including demands such as SaaS, on demand delivery and how these impact our technology roadmap. As a result we have taken the decision not to release Sage 100 in its current guise and development has stopped ..'

'.. demands such as SaaS ..' - if their past performance on this front with Sage Live (now dead) is anything to go by then they have a lot of ground to make up and not even being able to get to first base with 'authentication' etc. just goes to demonstrate that they are not really up to scratch as a software company

http://www.accountancyage.com/aa/news/1763588/sage-withdraws-web-software-security-scare

The Cloud market is a fairly fast moving area and the worrying thing about all these Sage antics is that it inevitably leaves the customer worried about their ability to perform in this market - after all does one really need to be tied into a company that is way behing the Cloud curve, has already had a false start (Sage Live) and woefully fails in its decision making process (Sage MySql)

Sage should stick to marketing because that is their forte - leave the programming/systems to someone else
 

Alternatives...

johndon68 | | Permalink

@JC - I didn't say I agreed with this, I was simply pointing out how some of the alternatives work using Sage simply as a financials 'core'.

John

Column inches devoted to Sage ..

JC | | Permalink

@johndon68 - apologies for not being clearer - only a single line in the previous post stating that Sage was sold as a complete product was in response to your previous post. The rest were general observations

Quite frankly the amount of column inches given over to Sage is simply idiculous and in one sense (as a previous poster indicated) they obviously regard all exposure as good - which is presumably the stance Sage takes (marketing again)

No other provider gets this amount of disproportionate exposure and by comparison there are very few problems with other software products (least of all cloud)

As a way forward why don't we all agree not to mention Sage ever again on this forum and then with luck we can just hasten their slide into oblivion; because that is fast where they are going with their complete disregard for their customer base

So lets all just call it a day with this marketing company - cut your losses and select another supplier

 

lindaluvdup's picture

Back to alternatives

lindaluvdup | | Permalink

We all have experiences of Sage 50, and opinions based on those experiences.

I run Sage 50 with another system that gathers info and produces the sales invoices, posting the financial info into Sage. I've learnt a lot on this website about how flexible Sage 50 can be and how sensible it is to get proper training so you get the most out of it - I've found some great features myself and been told Sage 50 can make almost anything possible, but I'd also pinned my hopes on a MySQL version.

Now MySQL has been dumped by Sage, for whatever reason, I believe we all need to move forward in whatever directions our needs take us. For me, having used 200 in my previous job, I suspect this will mean having to leave Sage and find a good alternative and I'd really appreciate some really good quality advice and suggestions on here, please.

Thanks everyone.

-- Lin

Sage 50 alternatives and the demise of the mySQL version.

tbayliss | | Permalink

 

First can I say what utter tosh to those conspiracy theorists who believe Sage deliberately puts bugs into Sage 50 to keep their call centres busy! Call centres cost a fortune in wages and training - why on earth would they want to make it bigger and have to sort out more problems? They certainly want to sell the annual support contracts but the less problems and calls they get the better.

Anyway, back to reality. There certainly is an argument that they are happy Sage 50 can only handle so many users and transactions because they would like to sell more Sage 200, but there is a big gap in price and it's nothing like as user friendly as 50.

The announcement a few years ago was that all Sage's Small Business range including Payroll, ACT, HR and Sage 50 would move to mySQL and in the end only HR made it I think. At the time, Microsoft had just launched its own rival to Sage 50 (Microsoft Office Accounting - now discontinued) so there was a very big element of kicking Microsoft (mySQL of course rivals Microsoft SQL Server). Perhaps it was too technically tough to justify what their Sage 200 team would see as a rival to them.

I offer for consideration a product called MyN from www.accountingoffice.co.uk. They are small and it is their only product so they do not have Sage's problems of competing with themselves. I have been involved as a consultant on 5 installations now. More flexible and similar in price to Sage 200 (starting at £1500 each for the first 5 users then £1000 each) but so are the many alternatives, so have a good look round and speak to other users.

There is still a bit of a gap in the market there for someone.

 

Why not 200?

taxrebel | | Permalink

Sage 200 is the obvious upgrade.  (There's a discounted price for Line50 users and Sage will tell you the migration is easy with little retraining for users.)  So what are Line 200's deficiencies?

 

Sage 200

johndon68 | | Permalink

Whilst it an obvious upgrade and a number of my customer have done so (albeit most due to volumes of data rather than any of the features) the big factor is the cost.  There is no getting away from the fact that, by the time you allow for the cost of the software, the installation, training etc, the price jump from 50 to 200 is huge.

All of my customers who have upgraded to 200 could have gone for 100 had it been available...

John

lindaluvdup's picture

Sage 200

lindaluvdup | | Permalink

It could now be completely different as I last used 200 in 2006, when I switched jobs. It was called MMS then and I think it had been quite newly aquired by Sage. It looked like a grown up 50, but wasn't.

My experience of it was that 200 had the bad parts of Sage 50 but worse than 50 - slow and constantly hanging - with precious few of the good bits - like being able to correct and delete posted transactions, which I love. We had to run purchase ledger cheques, month end and year end on the server, although the network and hardware were fine as the whole lot was an evolving package from an IT support company that was also a Sage agent (so they replaced whatever needed replacing and updated whatever needed updating) and they couldn't fix it. It may well now be different, of course, but I think the cost still is prohibitive.

-- Lin

Agree with John

tomsk100 | | Permalink

We've a number of clients that would have pounced on a Sage Line 100 derivative.

The difference in cost is in the region of approx £2K for Line 50 compared to a Line 200 installation starting at around £12K and nearing 20K after customisation and all the relevant modules attached.

Yes the upgrade is simple and would make sense but there's no mid market alternative from Sage. 

Even a stripped down Line 200 would be an option as it's SQL based. Strip out all the features to tailor the product to suite a clients needs and give them an off the shelf big brother to Line 50.

We'd certainly be able to sell quite a few of these.

Job Costing is another Sage product falling into this area of middle ground.

Sage 200 costs

ronnieh | | Permalink

Hi Everybody,

This is a really useful thread and I have been watching with interest.

Like most people on here I was disappointed with the cancellation of Sage 100 as we are a typical company who would definitley have benefited from it. We currently run Sage 2010 professional and have all the usual problems; slow, dodgy accross the network etc, this after having a major clean up of our data.

Would I be right in thinking that for say a 10 user system with Sage 200 we would be talking around the 20K mark taking everything into consideration (Software, new server, training etc). I think IRIS comes in at around the same figure. I have been told I would need two servers both running Microsoft SBS, one to run Microsoft Exchange and one as an application server running Sage 200 or IRIS.

I have tested the latest version of Sage 2011 which seems to fix some of the speed issues but they have managed ruin the nice neat interface to Sagepay which was our main reason for upgrading to 2010!

I do not want to "jump out of the frying pan into the fire" as the orininal post says, so for the moment we are sticking with what we have got, but I will continue to watch this thread to see if there is a viable alternative to Sage. 

Microsoft SBS 2008

tomsk100 | | Permalink

Hi Ronnie

Microsoft SBS 2008 obviously includes Exchange server and SQL server.

You could run both on one server with your Line 200 using the SQL database. But with the Microsoft SBS 2008 Premium Edition you have a license for two servers.
So it does make sense to then put your SQL server on server 2 and let your first server simply run the SBS features and Exchange.

It means you just incure the cost of the hardware for server 2 and all licenses for the operating system and CALS are covered in the SBS package. 

 

 

  

MMS, Sage 200

johndon68 | | Permalink

"It was called MMS then and I think it had been quite newly aquired by Sage"

MMS was written from the ground up by Sage, it wasn't acquired and, at around v4, was renamed Sage 200 - the newer versions of which are definately faster than the earlier versions of MMS some of which retained the old Line 100 database, later versions converted completely to SQL.

John

davidakime's picture

I'll throw this in now - stand back and watch the fun begin

davidakime | | Permalink

How about Bright Pearl (http://www.brightpearl.co.uk/) or Xero (www.xero.com) - the latter possibly struggle with number of transactions

TASBooks is worth considering

far1957 | | Permalink

I have worked with a number of different systems over the years, including Sage 50, MYOB and QuickBooks. However, I now tend to use TAS because I have found it to be very user-friendly, a view which is supported by my clients.

About two years ago TAS started using Pervasive SQL as their database, replacing the old Btrieve which had been in use since DOS days. I have found TAS to be much more reliable since then and have seen clients running TAS successfully (and fast) with 20+ users and high volumes of work without crashes and data corruption. There is even a TASBooks for Accountants product which lets you work on clients’ data almost regardless of the client’s product version.

One of the things that I really like about TAS is the so-called ‘soft close’ at year-ends, so you can continue entering transactions into the previous year and it now automatically recalculates the balances b/f. Also, the ability to edit journals if a mistake has been made is great – this has been criticised in the past, but TAS have introduced a special audit trail log to track such changes.

Certainly TASBooks covers a similarly wide range of SME requirements as Sage 50, including stock control and order processing. So I would recommend it as an alternative worth considering.

Pricing issues ....

JC | | Permalink

@davidakime - Your suggestions do highlight interesting points and much as one hates to say so, both these products have issues when compared to Sage L50 (ignoring the Sage problems)

BrightPearl - cost with this product is a real killer because a lot of items are add-on's & very highly priced

Xero - could be mistaken but seems to lack products/stock

Also it seems as though overall in the Cloud market prices are creeping up. For instance one should be able to adhere to the following ttype of pricing - for up to 5 concurrent users:

  • £5.00/mth - Nominal, Bank & Financials
  • £10.00/mth - as above + Suppliers & Customers
  • £15.00/mth - as above + Products & Invoicing

On top of this a charge of £10.00/mth for access to an eCommerce WebService (api) to access accounts data (stock etc) from the main accounts. This WebService should be available from customers own web site hosted anywhere & not tied into the accounts supplier

Compare the above prices with:
BrightPearl - http://www.brightpearl.co.uk/brightpearlcouk/pricing-c-276_925.html

  • basic program 1 user £20
  • extra 4 users £80 (should be free)
  • stock control from £10-£30 (use mid £20)
  • purchase orders £10
  • eCommerce £60
  • website £20

So totalling that lot we get £210/month - OUCH ...........

In effect someone taking on this product would seem to be paying 10 TIMES what is reasonable

 

davidakime's picture

Xero

davidakime | | Permalink

JC

You are right re Xero - lack of stock control but, add ons are available for the extras you need e.g. unleashed gives stock control, Capsule gives CRM etc etc.

One good thing about xero is that it is unlimited users, but I have not used it for very high volumes of transactions so unable to comment either way.

Just thought I'd throw them in to see what sort of reaction they got.

Personally I love Xero - it save you hours of time (provided you have reliable broadband)

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