Is anyone using the current version of TAS Books?

Is anyone here using the current TAS Books or the Accountants Practice Edition?

I'd be interested in any feedback/opinion from users, especially with regard to management reporting for clients.  Is the Validis Amatino add on any good?

How well does it integate with ACT!  And how good are the TAS payroll and CIS Modules.

I'd also welcome comments from users who have experience of other products as well as TAS (eg Quickbooks, VT Transaction +, Mamut, etc).  How do they compare for accounts in practice?  We're not worried about giving clients freedom to use the software to enter data, but the ability to access reports could be useful.

Comments

TAS

chas01 | | Permalink

We have used TAS for over ten years.  Sadly we found it became too expensive and have gone to ClearBooks as a more economical online sysem.

We used TAS Payroll too for many years and found it to be excellent.

We got the impression that as a sole practitioner, we were below the target audience for TAS. Still it's a very good system.

 

Rare example of a small company not being swallowed up by a bigg

Lesleys Ledgers | | Permalink

-- lesley's ledgers

I have used TAS for 12 years and am a huge fan. I find it to be robust and intuitive to us; I have just upgraded to the new version and it is great. Their support people are knowledgable and helpful - even with IT dummies like myself. I much prefer the whole experience of TAS to Sage or Opera, but I can't compare it to any online systems as I have no experience of them. The management accounting option on the nominal in TAS is a wee bit clunky but if you have a more patient nature than mine, then it is probably better than I would paint it to be. I'd also be interested in hearing what others think of the VA addon.

I use Payroll Manager for all my clients and find that a simple to use and extremely cost effective solution.

TAS Books

peterdragonetti | | Permalink

I have used TAS Books off and on for about 10 years, and cannot recommend it enough. In that time I have had occaision  to work with Sage and with Opera, and  by comparison they are an absolute nightmare, as once you are used to being able to do things in TAS to have to contend with the weaknesses of these systems is incredibly frustating.

The management reporting is good and flexible, and you can drill down from any item in the P&L or Balance sheet (or TB) and find out what it is, and then correct it, save and go back up to a corrected P&L.  Unlike Sage - is it 50 ? - there are proper accounting periods that can be closed off, although entries can be made to earlier periods with correct level of access. You can also have P&L on screen ( or report) for the last 5 years.

And its really easy to copy and paste into Excel.

My bookkeeper  came to me after using SAGE for 17 years, and cannot beleive how much easier its is.

I have used TAS payroll ( which then was better than Sage), but now I thinkl it is only online and since Sage took it over, it is expensive, so I would recommend MoneySoft. Simple and cheap and good.  Have only needed to call MoneySoft once, and it was the MD who answered the phone and knew all the answers - brilliant.

 CIS Module works well.

 

 

 

 

 

So, hardly anyone using the current version of TAS then?

peter.wood100 | | Permalink

Thanks to all for the replies.  But the resounding silence tells me that TAS must be having a hard time selling their current products.  Shame, they used to be so good (back in Wimbledon days).  Maybe they are being quetly put to sleep by Sage.

Anyone alive at TAS who wants to speak up?

TAS

JackGalaun | | Permalink

I too was a 'Wimbledon' user who found their move to SAGE most regrettable - at first.  However they have got more and more solid as time has gone on.  They are solid, helpful and in my view getting better all the time.  Perhaps an overall silence from the great number of user indicates satisfaction - or blog sites such as this would be inundated with complaints.

Jack Galaun

TAS > anything I've used

titanneil | | Permalink

We use TAS internally (in industry) and it's fantastic.

We also have an SDK linking to our sales / stock / CRM systems.  TAS handles it all flawlessly.

Compared to systems I've seen in audit, whereby getting reports from SAP and others can mean having a sysadmin around to interrogate the database direct, or writing customised reports, TAS is simply fantastic.

The only thing it doesn't have that we would find useful is a full stock tracking system, with barcodes for individual stock items.

Resounding silence?

David Richards | | Permalink

Peter,

Bearing in mind this is a closed discussion group with only 100 members, I think getting three replies in just a few hours is a pretty good response rate! :-)

Are we being quietly put to sleep by Sage? Well, TAS has now been owned by Sage for ten years; but we still operate as an independent business with our own R&D, support, sales and marketing teams. There are tens of thousands of businesses across the UK & Ireland who use TAS - and we're continuing to invest in developing our software and services to meet their needs.

Some vendors will just choose to offer a discount on their standard software to accountants.  We've chosen a different route, by developing a special version designed specifically for accountants, to help you manage and work with client data more efficiently.

We introduced TASBooks for Accountants a couple of years back after talking to and visiting a number of accountants. Accountants told us that they didn't like the look & feel of our 'micro-business' product (FirstBooks), but loved the look & feel of TASBooks - so with TASBooks for Accountants you get the familiar TASBooks look & feel no matter which TAS program your client uses. The idea was to produce a program that was more suited to the needs of the accountant; so instead of the Company Manager you get in TASBooks, you have a Client Manager which includes features such as being able to work with data from multiple programs and multiple versions, keeping multiple datasets for each client, removing the need to each client's password (yet still keeping client data secure) and generally focusing it more around the accountant's workflow. 

So the differences you'll see in TASBooks for Accountants are nearly all in the Client Manager. And many of them are quite simple things really: such as when you restore a backup you've received from a client, it'll automatically recognise it and file it in the right place so it's grouped together with all the other datasets for that client. And if you've already got a dataset from that client for the same financial year, it'll ask you if you want to replace the existing dataset or just add a new one.

And by partnering with third-parties such as Validis and offering their Amitino service (which they've just renamed CreditPal for Accountants) means you can save time and offer additional information to your clients. Not only does it remove some of the legwork of checking the accounts for irregularities, but it gives you better analysis of trends making it easier for you to advise your clients. You might find you can take on more clients without having to work harder and/or even charge higher fees!

The next thing we're looking at is how to make it easier for accountants to transfer the TAS data to and from their clients.

So yes; we're still here, we're not planning on going away and we're committed to helping accountants with the right package of software and services.

David Richards
TAS Product Manager

Stability of TAS Books?

Alf | | Permalink

At a previous employer (in 2007) I used TAS Books 3 which I found to be the best of the various accounting packages I have used. However, I do recall that it used to crash fairly frequently.

What is people's current experience as I am thinking of migrating a client (for whom I act as FC) from Sage to TAS Books?

Thanks

TAS from Sage

JackGalaun | | Permalink

 No brainer.  TAS always

Jack Galaun

Switching to TAS

Alf | | Permalink

As well as wanting to know users' experience of TAS' stability ie how frequently does it crash, I would also like to know whether people find having multiple simultaneous users adversely impacts the speed (I am looking at a 3 user installation)?

TAS from Sage

JackGalaun | | Permalink

 Briefly:

Rarely.

We have 6 users at anyone time.  No issues

Jack Galaun

 

TAS

peterdragonetti | | Permalink

I believe the database changed some time ago from Btrieve to PervasiveSQL to make it more robust, and I have six plus users working in a muticompany environment including Stock control and have never had a crash, (sometimes a user can get themselves in trouble, but easily fixed) nor are there noticiable speed issues.

Thank you

Alf | | Permalink

Thank you to all who responded - that was very helpful

Good news - TAS is liked. Not-so-good news - nobody appears t

peter.wood100 | | Permalink

I started the ball rolling by asking if anyone is using the latest version of TAS Books or the Accountants Practice Edition.

I was hoping to see a lot of positive comments with good feedback, especially with regard to management reporting for clients.  I also expected to see some comments about the Validis Amatino application.  And I thought one or two people would comment on how well TAS integates with ACT! 

Sadly, despite an active discussion, nobody has admitted to being a current user.

Many thanks to David Richards from TAS for your comments.  However, it looked as though much of it was a sales pitch that was a cut and paste from the web site....erhem!  And no comment about users / case studies........

Bearing in mind that TAS has apparently put so much effort into creating a product for accountants (having listened to what we wanted) I would have thought that there would be a resounding cheer.

So, is anyone out there using the latest incarnation of TAS Accountants Edition?

mramsay's picture

TAS Current Version

mramsay | | Permalink

@peter.wood100, I would expect that most of the respondents here, like us and many of our clients, are using the latest version of TASBooks. If you have a current support contract (and an internet connection) the software now auto-updates itself.

Regarding Validis Amatino, now renamed CreditPal for Accountants, their website states that the TAS version is still under development for:

TAS Books Basic   v7
TAS Books 1   v8
TAS Books 2   v8
TAS Books 3   v8
TAS FirstBooks   v1
TAS Books for Accountants   v1
TASBooks   v1

We and many of our clients use TAS Payroll quite happily. Also, we have a few clients using the CIS module successfully. I cannot comment on the integration with ACT! because we use a different CRM system which is an Outlook add-in that integrates directly with TAS (OrderBooks). Nor do we use TASBooks for Accountants, though I have seen it in action and it looks quite impressive. It has a single login and a comprehensive client company manager.

.

David Richards | | Permalink

Well Peter, you did ask if anyone at TAS was alive - so I replied with my own thoughts and recollections on the development process leading up to the release of TASBooks for Accountants. I also wanted explain the differences between 'standard' TASBooks and TASBooks for Accountants for the benefit of all; as not everyone here will be an accountant or be familiar with the Accountants product. It certainly wasn't a straight cut & paste from the website (in fact I'm struggling to see which part of it you feel was copied verbatim from the website), so apologies to all who felt it was a 'sales pitch'.

Again, there are only around a 100 members of this closed discussion group and many of them are not accountants. So do bear in mind that only a small number of members are ever going to fit into the categories you were after (i.e. using TASBooks for Accountants and CreditPal, or using TASBooks for Accountants and ACT! and ACTlink for TAS).

As for information on CreditPal, you may find this information on the CreditPal website of interest.

trial it?

titanneil | | Permalink

Peter, the best bet would be to use the software in earnest rather than basing a very important decision on the feedback of a small forum.

We use Payroll, it works fine. 

 

 

TAS customer opinion - and an apology

peter.wood100 | | Permalink

Many thanks for the further comments.

Regrettably, I posted to the discussion group in haste yesterday and it contained some typo errors (including a misspelling of David Richards' name, for which I apologise).  I've edited the posting.

David Richards:  I didn’t want to be unfairly critical about your original post.  I’m delighted to see TAS is involved in the discussion group.   However, what you said simply amplifies what is on the web site and contained in the TAS literature (ok, it might not have been an absolute cut and paste…. But you know what I mean).

Although it’s relevant information, I would have liked to see it backed up by some case studies/testimonials (Sage has plenty for their products).   Having worked so closely with accountants in practice to develop the suite of products TAS must have some success stories to be proud of.

The link to the testimonials for CreditPal (ex Validis Amatino) was appreciated, but I suspect none was a TAS user.

mramsay:  Many thanks for your comments.  I suspect you’ve hit the nail on the head in highlighting that CreditPal is beta for TAS.  I’d noticed that too and it was one of the reasons that prompted my original posting.

Thanks also for your comments regarding payroll and CIS.  Overall these get a resounding ‘thumbs up’ from everyone who has commented.

You commented also that probably everyone here has the latest version of TAS.   I make no apologies for coming from the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” stable.  Yes, we run TAS (and we’ve been fans of TAS since the Wimbledon days when it was a DOS programme advertised in the national papers for just £99).    Our TAS Books (V2….not DOS!)  runs well, so we’ve not updated it over the past 5-6 years.  I guess that says something for our satisfaction – as well as parsimony!

Titanneil:  you commented “trial it”.  Wish….. if only it were possible.  Whilst Sage bends over backwards to make trial/evaluation of a wide range of products readily available, TAS (somewhat bizarrely) doesn’t offer the facility (a comment on this extraordinary non-sales policy welcome David Richards).

Because we’re a small practice with limited resources we always seek user comments/feedback before we commit time and resources to trialling software or hardware.  It’s helped us eliminate one highly regarded product without wasting time installing it, and feedback helps us understand other aspects of a product that we might not have considered.

So, once again, thank you to everyone who has commented so far.  I’m delighted that there hasn’t been a word of criticism of TAS products or the support, only positive comments (that’s also consistent with the comments about TAS across Accounting Web generally).

squay's picture

Problems With TAS Books for Accountants Practice Edition v2

squay | | Permalink

Yes, we have used it since the day it was released. The concept is good and version 1 worked fine. This March we replaced our two computers and installed windows 7 64 bit which TAS states is fully compatible with their latest software. We installed TBA version 1 again. No problems. As version 2 had been out a couple of months and having heard nothing detrimental we upgraded to v2 on both computers. A nightmare followed as we were unable to run TBA at all because it crashed with run time errors. Support couldn't provide any solution but were working on it. I was angry because had  there been an alert from TAS we would wouldn't have upgraded until the bugs were ironed out. But as usual TAS keeps quiet and continually fails to communicate. Even now two month later there are no patches.

However to cut a very long story short I found a workaround. It took me about two days of down time to find it and get both identical computers up and running again. I even told TAS's technical head but I got nothing in return, not even a thank you. I couldn't believe no else had reported the problem. With hindsight I can see why. If you install/upgrade and use the default installation it works ok as it did for us at first. But I always use the options to customise TAS. If you select the option to collapse all client groups on start up this will corrupt file MTCUPF.B so next time you load TBA you will get run time error 5. As I said hindsight is a wonderful thing. I found it by reinstalling and logging everything that happened up the the error then by process of elimination found the corrupted file. Two days of down time which could have been avoided.

Ok that's the first rant over. Once up an running on TBA v2 I found more bugs and again found more solutions.

Bug: Saving a bank reconciliation - error 12 - file not found. Workaround - install a demo company with tutorial dataset  then copy files MTARCNL.B and MTARCNP.B to your current dataset. Problem solved.  I am not sure but this may have to be repeated for all data sets restored from earlier TAS versions as those files are not created.

Serious VAT Bug: Only applies when using VAT cash accounting. Using the sales ledger invoice write off routine writes off the vat into both the standard AND cash vat registers. Sales vat written off should never appear in the cash accounting vat register as it has never been paid in the first place. That's the whole point of cash vat scheme. What's more it appeared as input vat! Workaround: Don't use the write off routine, enter it as a credit note and post to write offs then only the standard vat register is updated which is how it should be.

Bug: Importing TAS data sets from v8 TAS books 1, 2 or 3 doesn't always work and causes run time errors. No fix for this. I have some success converting to TB (new) first but not always. This year TAS have stated they won't be supplying activation codes for the stand alone TB1,2,3 products which I came to rely on to help me out a jam when TBA wouldn't do the job. Clearly I am heading for problems very soon. TAS are under the illusion that TBA is all that's needed now - clearly out of touch with reality.

In summary. I shall continue using TBA as I have invested 16 years with TAS and I don't want to start learning new products now. The TAS Books concept is excellent and TAS Payroll has been improved over the years to what is now a robust product. TAS as a company needs to get a grip and start communicating AND issuing regular patches. It takes ages to sort problems out and while support do their best they cannot understandably appear to fix program errors. We are a very busy small two partner practice and even posting on Aweb also takes time which is why I hesitated to contribute but eventuall felt I had to say something.

And yes, I did used to send in those product bug reports many years ago. I stopped doing it because nothing ever came of it. A case of many times bitten, once shy. We still believe in TAS which is why we use TBA Practice Edition in our practice every day and I am just about to renew for another year. Heaven help us.

Stephen Quay

CreditPal

David Richards | | Permalink

OK, quite a few topics to respond to there, so I'll post individual replies.

The information on the CreditPal website that Mark highlighted (about which version of TAS data they support) is out of date. We have raised this with them previously, but they haven't update their website. They support all the products we have relaesed over the past few years - but off the top of my head, I can't recall if it's v7 or v8 (of TAS BOOKS Basics/1/2/3) that was the starting point.

The actual CreditPal service is the same irrespective of the accounts software you use. The only difference is in the mechanism used to get the relevant data from the accounts software into the  CreditPal system. Once it's been uploaded everyone is using the same service. What CreditPal do is to use information they can infer from the chart of accounts of a typical TAS (or other accounts program); that means they can quickly and easily identify things like, say, a sales invoice posted to an expense account.

CreditPal use various algorithms that they certainly wouldn't discuss with the likes of you or me... so detailed questions about their systems are best directed to CreditPal. And it's for that reaon that I don't feel it matters what accounts software people use when comparing user experience of CreditPal.

Software support

David Richards | | Permalink

Stephen,

If it doesn't sound too defensive I'll start by saying that no software system is ever '100% bug-free'. Find me a software vendor that claims to be and I'll show you a liar! With literally an infinte combination of potential hardware/software/data environments, software issues are a fact of life. What differentiates software vendors is how they deal with issues when they arise; initially in identifying, qualifying and assesing the impact of issues. 

Now we're not perfect but we're improving all the time. For example, we've been running a trial over the past three months (during the peak payroll year-end period) in our payroll programs. We've been using Get Satisfaction to announce when new updates are published and list the changes included in that update - and we've also embedded it into the payroll program itself. This gives us room to go into more detail than we can with the TASinform feed already into our programs. Plus we also publish the information on our Twitter feed and our Facebook page. It's been very well received, so over the next year or so, we'll be looking to roll this out across the entire product range. We're not going to get it right all the time, but I hope you'll agree that we're moving in the right direction.

Now, back to the issues you raised. I'm not a software support expert and your story doesn't sound good. I had a quick glance at the support call logs on your account to see if I could understand what happened, but what's noted in the call logs isn't quite the same as what you said.

So I have arranged for our Software Support Manager (Ian Chandler) to contact you in the morning, to discuss your concerns.

The one thing I do know about and can comment on is the VAT issue you mentioned. The write-off function in TASBooks is designed to work in accordance with VAT Notice 700/18, when writing off qualifying debts. So sticking with standard VAT for now; the correct way to show this on a VAT return is to increase the input tax (the value in box 4) by the amount of VAT being recovered. Posting a credit note in this situation is not allowed by VAT Notice 700/18 as this would decrease the output tax value in box 1 (which is incorrect) and also decrease the sales figure in box 6 (which is also incorrect). Therefore the behaviour you described is exactly what I'd expect to see under standard VAT. On that basis, I don't think it's a 'bug' in the normal sense... but what I do think you have identified is a usability issue. Because on VAT Cash Accounting there's effectively no need for a write-off option (being as there is no VAT to recover), so in this situation posting a credit note is the appropriate way to process the transaction. The usability question is 'are we making this difference clear enought to users'? And the answer is 'probably not'. To improve usability, a couple of options immediately spring to mind: a) remove the write-off function when using VAT Cash Accounting, as it's not required, or b) keep it for consistency, but when using VAT cash accounting make the effect of the transaction identical to a credit note. So thank you for bringing it to my attention; we'll consider those two options (and see if other solutions are appropriate) and we'll make the change in a future version.

 

squay's picture

TAS Books for Accountants Practice Edition v2 & Payroll

squay | | Permalink

David

As I said in my post I have no issues with TAS Payroll and this has improved over the years to become a robust product.

I agree that no application is ever "bug free". I believe in the TAS accounting concept which is why after 16 years of using TAS every day I said I was staying with it.

You are of course quite correct about writing off a sales invoice and entering it as input vat as stated in vat notice 700/18. Point taken. However the comments I made on using the credit note option in TAS was purely as a work around the get the vat liability correct under cash accounting (there is definitely a fault in TAS here). It far outweighs using the correct method of using the write off option and getting the vat wrong. My comments were only an internal work around to get the vat return right within TAS. No-one is suggesting actually issuing a credit note. It's not ideal but if I had not spotted it my client's vat return would have been grossly underpaid. I highlighted the issue to help other users because unless you reconcile the vat cash and standard liabilities manually for each return you would not be aware of the error. Does every user possess the knowledge to perform this reconciliation? Maybe not. Maybe TAS should introduce a reconciliation routine for this but then would it have picked up the error? I don't think so.

With regards to support. It may be presumptious of me but when I discover a bug I would like to talk to someone knowledgable about it like a programmer. This has worked well in the past. Support guys cannot usually fix program bugs so its a waste of time talking to them. Once a bug is reported and fix found why can't you release a patch quickly available via the auto upgrade path?

You mention the Get Satisfaction forum. I didn't know about this but do now. Helping users how to do things is commendable but I'm not sure its the correct vehicle for reporting bugs and giving out workarounds. Bugs need to be fixed and patched quickly.

Stephen Quay

 

Trials

David Richards | | Permalink

Peter,

There are a number of technical and licensing reasons that affect whether or not it's possible to send someone a trial version. I won't bore you with all the technical details, but I'll give you an illustration of how it might affect you personally.

You mentioned that you're using a version which is five or six years old. That will use v6 of the Btrieve database. Our software now comes with v10 of the database (it's now renamed Pervasive PSQL). It's backwards compatible, so the old TAS can use the new database - but the new TAS can't use the old databse, as it requires some functions that are only in the new database.  At the end of the trial period, if you chose not to go with the new TAS program you'd then be stuck; as the new database would no longer work, so you couldn't use any program which relied on it. To make things work again, you'd need to remove the Pervasive PSQL database and put the old Btrieve database back (which could be messy) and even then you might find that the old database could not read data that was written when the new database was in use - as it doesn't understand the format of the newer version.

And that's just the first of many technical issues to consider.

I can't speak for Sage's policy on trial versions. (Although TAS is owned by Sage, we're not 'part of' Sage... if that makes sense. We operate as an independent business.) However I'd be surprised if Sage would send a trial version of a new version to an existing user, as there could be similar problems in terms of data file versions and/or program components.

We have been looking at other options, such as using Runaware to offer online software demos. But they're really expensive and still don't give you the full integrated experience of running the software on your own system. So we're comparing the cost vs the benefit to us as a business.

Software support again...

David Richards | | Permalink

Stephen,

Just to expand on my previous comments about the VAT issue. Effectively (I think we are agreed) that when on VAT Cash Accounting, the bookkeeping entries and the effect on the VAT return for posting a write-off are exactly the same as those for posting a credit note. Whereas on Standard VAT the bookeeping entries and effect on the VAT return are different. (And in TAS vernacular; by credit note I'm referring to an credit journal posted in option 222, rather than a physical credit order created in option 611.) So having a specific Write-Off option is essential when using Standard VAT, but is not essential when using VAT Cash Accounting - being as the credit note has the same effect.

So the usuability question is, do we actually need to have a separate Write-Off option available when using VAT Cash Accounting? Or do we keep it, but just make it mimic the effect of the credit note. So as I said, that's something we'll consider - and decide the best course of action.

I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, but I do think it is unrealistic to expect to be able to call in and speak to a programmer. I can't think of many software companies that would or could offer such a bespoke support service - certainly not without charging many tens of thousands of pounds. Having said that, it doesn't mean that our programmers never speak to customers. Our programmers will pick up the phone and speak to a customer where it is going to help resolve the issue - but this isn't always necessary. The software support team have a key place in the process; it's their job to qualify any reported issues and to gather the necessary information that a programmer would need.  So we do need customers to work with the support team when reporting issues, in order for us to resolve them.

I hope that after speaking to Ian Chandler it clarifies this and restores some faith in our support service.

 

Trials & Testimonials (or Trials & Tribulations, maybe)

peter.wood100 | | Permalink

David

An interesting explanation about the problems of providing trial software.  But it's hardly realistic.

How do you expect to sell TAS these days?  How does a potential user make an informed decision?  How do you convert someone from another package?  How do you compete with vendors who do offer evaluation software or on-line access?  You really need to present a solution quickly...... while you're still in the market  (You may be aware, I've had this conversation, by email, within the last week with Jim McGlenn).

If my local Ferrari dealership explained why I couldn't test drive one of their cars I'd walk away, no matter how burning my passion.  If my local Sony dealership refused to demonstrate their wonderful televisions, hi-fi, computers, then I'd walk away.  And if Apple didn't provide hands on experience of it's products, it would have died long ago.

Within the last week Sage sent us this email  6 Great Products to Test Drive  They are actively emailing accountants with all the tools we need to evaluate their products.  The test-drive is on-line, so no need to download software.  It's not going to give exactly the same user experience, but it's a good basis for evaluation.

No matter how much I like our current TAS, we'll not consider migrating to the current version without the abilility to evauate it (on a clean PC without another version of TAS).  However, if TAS has the potential to conflict with other applications (as you infer) then we might not venture near it at all.

It's a shame David - as mramsay says on the homepage for the TAS Discussion Group "TAS Books is one of the unsung heroes of accounting software".  But TAS needs to change this - and sing loud from the hilltops.  Right now the product is buried under the dust sheets, almost totally hidden.

I look at the TAS website (in near invisible pale shades of some shy colour that is hard to read) and look for screenshots, I look for the video demo, I look for some USP's, and I look for testimonials and success stories that are the proof of what is claimed.  None of it is there.  Just of lot of words.  Does anyone at TAS understand marketing and web sites?

The sad message that I see conveyed is that TAS isn't really in the market to win new business, and isn't trying to retain existing business.   Would anyone (other than yourself) disagree with this?

Our old version isn't broke, so we don't need to fix it.  It does what we need it to do very well.  Maybe the new version would be better, but how will we know?

Right now we don't have any ongoing costs - no ridiculous annual subscriptions (which are only good policy for software vendors and should be banned).  But I'm willing to consider the latest version if the proposition is suficiently compelling.  Hence my original posting to seek opinion.

Different needs

David Richards | | Permalink

Peter,

You have used various flavours of TASBooks for many years and presumably are very familiar with it. So when presented with a new version,  you'd probably find it very easy to navigate because you already know where everything is. But put yourself in the position of someone who had never used TASBooks before. It could be quite daunting to try and asses the functionality of TASBooks given the range and variety of options available. Doing the standard day-to-day things will be fairly straightforward, but it might not be immediately apparent what all the various options do and how they can benefit your business.

Now I'm sure that you're very familiar with the numbered menu system that TAS has used since its earliest DOS incarnation - and I'm willing to bet that if I reeled of some number combinations, you'd know exactly which program option I was referring to. But if you'd never seen TASBooks before. you might miss out on lots of useful features which could be valuable to you. And of course everyone has a different view of what a 'killer feature' is.

So we offer guided demonstrations, where we ask questions to find out what an individual needs or wants. Then we present those features, explain the various options and highlight how they can benefit you. As an example, I mentioned earlier one of the features in TASBooks for Accountants (automatically recognising client backups and filing it in the correct place). This might not sound like much, but it's something that people really like (a bit of a 'wow' factor if you like) as the old way of doing it was a bit of a faff. It's something that you'd probably not discover by having a quick play with the program. But it's something we can demonstrate to you, so you can asses its merit.

I appreciate that it's not what you want, but it's horses for courses and many, many people prefer that personal guided approach. And just like the Sony example you used, it's the demonstration and explanation of the features by the expert which adds value to the whole experience.

I discussed online test-drives in an earlier post in this thread. In the same way you will weigh up the cost of using TASBooks for Accountants versus the benefits to your business, we will weigh-up the cost of providing online test-drives versus the potential benefits to our business.  That's a commercial decision for us to make.

 

Tas books trial / screenshots or not...

traxcorp | | Permalink

A new visitor I have watched the discussions with interest..

I have followed the discussion on why Tas can or cannot offer trial / screenshots with interest...  I am using ( no laughing ) Tas Accounting Plus ( circa 1998) still on a Win 7 system....  I have transfered it from Win 95 through every version to my current Win 7 and I have  never had a "support contract" I print invoices to PDF and email to clients... So when approached by TAS I was interested to know more about the version being offered for a (in my humble opinion) heafty €375+VAt (Ireland )  overhead "upgrade".

 

Unfortunately, I am not quite sure what I would be buying.... looking at a "feature list" is not very heplful and  neither I nor the telephone sales person have the time to examine all of the resourcs I would like on the phone .. especially for me in a small company to make a purchase that I probably dont actually need.

My Tas Books is excellent.. it does EXACTLY what it "says on the tin".... in fairness it is not rocket science, but nevertheless it does what you expect. The problem is the new version may or may not have the options / interface that I want and I don't want to waste the money and especially the time finding out the hard way.... a standalone restricted trial package would enable me to check it out before committing to it and frankly unless Tas intend to only sell upgrades to their remaiining loyal user base, it is going to be almost impossible to grow to potential without a trial unit /  version.

 

On another issue, I have a problem paying for support.  If I buy software I expect it to work. Full stop. I understand (in minute detail) the huge number of possible causes for software failure, but I also can point  to many pieces of software such as the Tas Accounting Plus that functions correctly..( you obviously MUST backup) ....  in an accounts package I would have felt that this is a very crictical feature.....  I think it is hilarious that the person that pays the most gets the better support response.....  is like those annoying rich people that can queue skip in Disney with their "golden ticket"... which in my opinion is all the more reason not to buy one..

 

Tas here are in defense mode and frankly ignoring the highly valuable feedback they are getting.. which is a pity.....

 

So here I am poised on the fence and cannot decide of the €375+ VAt ) I have on the table is going on a new laptop or Tasbooks and I have no way of evaluating the Tasbooks....  that has to say something. 

 Eddie

Trail version was available.... constructive criticism !

traxcorp | | Permalink

 

When I requested the trial version I was told I could have an online conference call demonstration by one of the demo team..... scheduled for that afternoon, I said I was not interested and to make an upgrade decision needed to see a trail or time limited program, so they gave me a link to download a trial version of Tasbooks 2.As I had a dinosaur edition from nearly 2 decade previous , I was expecting major overhaul, so you can just imagine my consternation to see almost exactly the same interface, same password and same layout.. A few pretty icons and buttons and LOT of unwanted and unneeded options. This was the upgrade path recommended and offered to me.... for € 375 + VAT ( new price € 595 + Vat ). For software generally there is a tendency to play around with the existing layout without adding much in the way of actual volume.. take for example Microsoft office and specifically Word... the old say 2000/2003 versions were clear and easy to navigate and now the 2011 version is revamped is like Chinese algebra to achieve the same results... all of the intuitive stuff is buried and you have to go off on a new learning curve for no other reason than to learn the new layout ..  With the Tasbooks 2 for instance elements that were on one submenu are now spread over two tabbed sum-menus.. that is not an improvement that is just bulking up and complication. This is symptomatic of a development process that did not reference or at least take heed of outside sources.A couple of quick ideas I could throw out of the top of my head are since we are dealing essentially with a database which is essential a layered spreadsheet format.... Why cannot I not take a supplier price list and import them with a field match in with global price setting. One very simply improvement would be that I can see how I could take a supplier CSV formatted pricelist and have a couple of thousand parts number / prices etc etc entered to generate my own pricelists / part numbers in a few minutes. As it stands I am expected to enter this information from my supplier pricelist manually line by line !!!... It is like filling a swimming pool with a thimble.... Or how about the MSword style Invoice templates..... see how easy it is to find information on how that works in Tasbooks 2....  There are a lot of extra bells and whistles... and reports... but ask yourself but it is still Cassette quality software in a CD digitally enhanced age....  I have 4 suppliers list of over 2000 items I need to get into my accounts package and set selling prices etc from them. I will choose a package that allows me do that easily.... EVERY package generates invoices , statements, Vat, cash receipts, debtors list, etc etc..... that’s all bread and butter stuff, like a car have four wheels and a steering wheel.. all absolutely essential but not unique.... where is the turbo charged engine, where is the Bose stereo, where is the cruise control, EMS, ABS etc etc...... all the extras and goodies....  Did anyone ever actually ask the end user what he needed in an accounts package.???? I spend a lot of time informally helping company owners see past the waffle ( a lot of it their own ) ... and see what really matters.. and sometimes that is what is needed in their business, usually a fresh, penetrating, "no-holds" barred probe.... reveals a lot of improvements and potential financial gains... certainly I have nver charged a fee that did not have at least a 5 fold benifit for the client.  I find it very easy to spot the probelms and usually figure out solutions.. Tasbooks had the potential to be brilliant but it stopped and just kept polishing what they had , when technology was racing ahead.... I have to say if that is what 12 years of research and development has achieve it is very disheartening.... apart from the supplier importation above I can think of many other real enhancements that could make Tasbooks a world beater... if customer / product data on the reference should be spread sheet editable so that a uniformity can be achieved.. not filled with the thimble again....  Tasbooks looks like it was designed by accountants telling the programmers what to do.... there is a critical element of the design process missing.  I am going to stick with my prehistoric version because the new version offers me nothing worthwhile. I was locked into the Tasbook upgrade path because I wanted to migrate my data but that is less important for me now than finding a package that has an easy data input / import / global manipulation.... facility..  Good luck and thanks for your time    Eddie......   

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