Sage delays Line 50 2007 shipments to tackle user complaints. By John Stokdyk

Sage has suspended deliveries of the latest version of its star small business accounts package, Line 50 2007.

Answering a number of complaints from AccountingWEB members, Sage Accountants Division managing director Greg Ford, said "I would like to apologise for any inconvenience we may have caused accountants in practice or business customers and assure people we are taking the issue seriously doing everything we can to remedy the situation as quickly as possible."

Nigel Simmons first raised the issue on AccountingWEB last week with an http://www.accountingweb.co.uk/cgi-bin/item

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Comments
dahowlett's picture

No free lunch

dahowlett | | Permalink

Hate to disabuse you but what do you think that annual charge called 'maintenance and support' is about?

'A Shambles'

Anonymous | | Permalink

Its nice to see Sage fully utitlising its 25 yrs of experience to produce inept software which offers little more than V12 of the product. My job is to sell line 50 and as such i am appauled at Sage's so called 'quality control' processes. How am i supposed to wax lyrical about a product Sage clearly have little faith in themselves. This really is farcical.

Seems OK now

John Savage | | Permalink

Following on from my less than complimentary comment reported above concerning my own problem with Line 50 2007, over the week-end I uninstalled it completely from my computer, reinstalled the original version (13.00.08.0100), and then used 'Update 1' downloaded from the Sage website, and it does now seem to be all working OK.

Haven't yet used it 'in combat' with real accounts figures, but will keep my fingers crossed. I also must state here that this is the first time I've ever had an installation problem with Sage Line 50, and I've been a Sage customer for 20 years.

Feeling unwell??

John Savage | | Permalink

:-)) Hi Nick
Yes, feeling well now, was a trifle irritable last week though!!

Seems it is Sage Users' turn now for a little blustery weather. Last April I was watching all the problems that you IRIS payroll users were experiencing, and feeling quite guilty that my Sage Payroll was whisking in end of year payroll returns with no problems whatsoever.

Very glad that the good folks at Digita test their products well before releasing them on we hapless accountants.

Sage are no different to every other Software vendor

AnonymousUser | | Permalink

Fair is fair.

Sage have had many problems with this. But how many times have other software vendors failed to deliver the expected. Microsoft, Lotus, SAP (and i could go on for days) all have had their fair share of problems - but when you are one of the "big boys" you are always prone to the greater criticism.

Sage Line 50 it must be said is still a great product and many of the 250,000 companies using it would agree. 95% i think the stat was in a survey.

Atr least they have recalled it, but they need to learn from the smables all the same.

(Unfortunately) Typical Sage

andyhopkins | | Permalink

Having had to wrestle with a number of problems when they last updated their accounts production software (SAPA) it seems, in my perception at least , that Sage either have really bad product development and testing staff or they're rush-releasing software (for the £'s?) without proper testing.

Does anyone know if there's currently an IT skilled staff shortage or do Sage have bad staff turnover?. Failing those explanations (which don't justify the products failings) it can only really be down to Sage internal controls & procedures.

Our practice approach towards their products is that we now never upgrade until absolutely necessary as (bitter) experience has shown it to be such frustrating & time-consuming affair.

Richardrussell's picture

Agree with previous posts

Richardrussell | | Permalink

It is extremely irritating that Sage seem ever more intent on upgrading. I am an accountant club's member and the amount of emails/mailings I get from Sage is mind boggling. Unfortunately I have several large clients who are Line 50 users and any change would be out of the question, otherwise I would quite happily leave Sage.

Sage apporached one of my clients with a view to upgrading from v12 to 2007 (why???), luckily they asked my advice first.

Sage Support - or lack of it

Bert Clayton | | Permalink

the Sage 2007 problems are also having an enormouse impact on customers who were lucky/wise enough not to install the upgrade to 2007 as response times to all sage support have been massively affected.
When it takes an hour to try (unsuccessfully) to get the right on version 12 problems help first thing in the morning something is seriously wrong

carnmores's picture

John

carnmores | | Permalink

using SAGE, are you unwell?

have they managed to get a reasonable bank reconciliation routine yet?

this looks like a rerun of the IRIS payroll disaster, simply failing to check the software FULLY before despatching.

lol

dahowlett's picture

Alternatives

dahowlett | | Permalink

I was talking with Sage CTO around the time this came out. There will be opportunity to meet with Sage execs at the upcoming Connections conference. I'll be there as a blogger (yes one of those).

On the alternatives front, it depends on what you want to do. If the time is right for your clients to upgrade from Line 50 because it is not really meeting their needs, then there's a slew of products to choose from. SquareSum, Access-Accounts, OpenAccounts, Microsoft Dynamics Navision, IRIS Exchequer are the obvious ones. SAP BusinessOne is looking surprisingly strong and affordable.

If your clients are SMBs, then it might be worth looking at the new breed of SaaS offerings. These are hosted applications where the client pays a subscription. The beauty of these apps is that you can share information in real time with clients so you can monitor what they do as time passes. It might even give you ideas about how you could take your practice forward.

The two most complete offerings are NetSuite and Twinfield. If you like the idea of being able to keep tabs on small clients while helping them to grow their business then WinWeb is a definite must look see. It's an 'all you can eat' offering that includes free accounting plus a bunch of 'office' style services. Most are free, some have to be paid for.

In the meantime, I have a bunch of articles you can peruse in and around the topic by clicking here.

Had enough of Sage

Snappy | | Permalink

Totally fed up with Sage and looking for alternatives. Their attitude seems to be let's get the products out there so we can charge more money and we'll worry about the problems later. They use the customer as the live 'guinea pig', well I really hope it starts to backfire on them at last.

There are far too many chargeable 'upgrades' - a nice little earner for them.
About time we charged back our time for sorting out client problems as a result.

What they also failed to tell people in launching Sage Line 50 2007 and encouraging early ordering was the significant extra memory resources it requires. This slows down performance significantly and offsets any benefit of the extra 'bells and whistles ' which most people don't use or need.

Sage also issued Financial Forecasting full of bugs and relied on people like us to feed back the problems. They should have developed the superior Winforecast instead - no doubt saw another better revenue opportunity.

Time that Sage were taught a lesson - I will certainly be reluctant to recommend to clients and will be looking into alternatives - anybody recommend anything?

Moonbeam's picture

Sage quality issues on software upgrades

Moonbeam | | Permalink

The Sage payroll bureau "upgrade" sent out in March this year comprehensively wrecked my computer. I had to have the operating program completely restored as no other program functioned properly after the installation.

One of the many problems was that a program instruction used the same name used by many of us golden oldies for the directory where we stored our data files, and because that bit of programming was so poor I have now had to rename the place I store my data files. This is the sort of error made by a trainee and I have heard stories over the years that indicate that the quality of programming is not high.

Sage did not bother to send me a Line 50 upgrade this year (although I'm a member of the Accountant's club and put in a request several months ago). Boy am I grateful.

I also am tied into at least Line 50 because all my clients use it. I am already seriously looking at other payroll options.

No quality control

Anonymous | | Permalink

I concur with the majority of the comments printed below but i do not think that just because other software manufacturers have made similar mistakes in the past that Sage can be excused for using its clients as its quality control mechanism. They pride themselves (having been to the business school training) on producing market leading software with ease of use as a top priority and yet i feel the 23,000 customers unlucky enough to have already upgraded to 2007 would agree with this analysis!!

workhow's picture

Sage sells well though

workhow | | Permalink

We were largely persuaded by the inclusion of "Free upgrades" for the next two versions of Sage (2007 and 2008) to extend our Sage Cover to "Extra"

We can now see why they are "free" - the 2007 version (still called, interestingly, V13 under its bonnet) was abysmal and has taken considerable person/days to come to terms with (and still counting)

It is transaparantly clear that this release was all about keeping up with the treadmill of beating last year's sales and had nothing to do with presenting an improved product.

Mr Ford says they are not considering compensation. Well, we may well seek solace elsewhere.

What a waste

axw001 | | Permalink

If each of those 23,000 users spent 2 hours at a charge-out rate of £50 p/h dealing with the upgrade; install, call Sage support, uninstall, reinstall old version, that works out at £2,300,000 that Sage has removed frm the bottom line of some of its customers.

Shame they didn't see fit to spend that sort of money on QA processes.

Alan Wright

Liberty Accounts - Let us take care of the technology while you take care of your clients...

Sage Line50 version 2007

AnonymousUser | | Permalink

I am also a great believer in using the version behind the current version, but unfortunately two of my newer clients wanted the 2007 version (because they read the writing on the tin in the sage software shop), so I had to upgrade as well. I have spent nearly 6 full days sorting out the problems caused by the "rogue software" both on my own multi company system and my clients software (needless to say - clients no longer tin readers).

Glad to say, after re-installing software into new folders, all seems to be okay both at the practice and clients' offices. Forget the upgrades, as previous posts have advised, these aggravate the situation.

More worryingly, I have received various e-mails from Sage, stating that the serial numbers and activation keys sent out with the various software packages are all wrong, and they have sent out new ones.

I have now received an e-mail stating that the 2007 Payroll version sent to me also has the wrong authentity codes in the box - these were supposed to be for my accounting software codes.

Does anyone at Sage know what is going on?

Report Generator

aebeaumont | | Permalink

Sage has previously used new report generation to force users to upgrade.

Version 5.02 worked extremely well with several Microsoft operating systems. Suddenly with XP it was completely useless, reports were blank, and the user felt completely undermined.

Sage business strategy involves users paying over and over for basicly the same programme, and paying a monthly fee for support. The original programme was about £300, and the last I checked it was £1600. Upgrades cost more than the original, and if you want to keep using it, you need to budget for £1500 a year.

For small businesses, it seems that Iris does the same job, perhaps with a little less functionality. But for me, I have no sympathy with Sage, they have been caught out by their own upgrade startegy. In many years use, I have never lost a single entry on a Sage system. It is rediculous that they should fail in the reporting.

Why the rush

Ketchup | | Permalink

No excuse for launching problematic software into the market but one question intrigues me, why were 23,000 existing Sage users in such a rush to upgrade to V 2007.

With Sage Line 50 I have always advised my clients to work at least one version behind the latest release and by doing so none of them have been exposed to rogue elements in early release versions of new Sage LIne 50 accounts software.

Many are still happily getting on with V8 and V9 and a number of those who have upgraded to V12 have wondered why they bothered.