Users gripe over Sage 50 Accounts 2010 upgrade

Sage 50 Accounts 2010 has come under fire from AccountingWEB.co.uk members who are unhappy with the upgrade’s slow performance and tendency to suffer data corruptions.

Since December, members of our Sage 50 Accounts discussion group have been sharing their experiences of the 2010 upgrade. Six members reported performance problems after installing the new version and three experienced data corruption issues. After reading these reports, five other Sage 50 users confessed they would avoid the 2010 upgrade.

Problems with Sage 50 2010 upgrade
 

Slow performance – Users waiting 10-20secs for commands to work. One report says Sage 2010 speed will decrease 3-4 times if you have more than 10,000 customer records.

Data corruption – One-sided journal entries and duplicates are being reported in some instances, apparently caused by read/write errors over slow networks. Software upgrade may require more expensive hardware too.

Anti-virus conflicts – Some anti-virus software (notably Norton) slows Sage 50 Accounts 2010.

Where’s the SQL version? Sage’s ageing flat-file database is at the root of many problems. A MySQL-based version due later this year could remove many of the processing limits, but the release date has had a habit of slipping in recent years.

Sagecover – Some users are frustrated with the answers they’re getting, especially those being asked for £400 for overnight corrupt data fixes..

As often happens with problematic upgrades, several customers raised questions about the company’s customer support practices and the value they get from the optional Sagecover service.

AccountingWEB.co.uk member Bob Hurn summarised the on-going debate: “Every Line 50 upgrade in recent years has been problematic causing days of downtime. We are due in install 2010 this afternoon and if we have similar problems to those experienced in recent years it will be goodbye to Sage... When will they actually write a network product rather than adapting the standalone product to run on a network? Sage is a great product when it is working, but the current attitude of the company appears to be to treat end users with contempt.”

Kevin Thompson, head of customer service at Sage UK, intervened in a couple of the threads to respond to the points raised. “It’s been really useful for us to read this discussion and get feedback from you, the users; we’ll certainly be taking your comments on board as we further develop our software,” he said.

“As with all our software, we’ve always been really enthusiastic about taking customer suggestions for new features and building them into the software. Over the last few years alone we’ve added online VAT and EC sales list submissions, process maps and dashboards as well as the new report designer to name a few. When new features are added it can impact the processing speed of the software.  We hope that the benefits of the new features make this worthwhile but we are also working to address the issue.”

Below are the key problems that have arisen with Sage 50 Accounts 2010 and, where available, advice from Sage and other users on how to deal with the issue. While acknowledging that some AccountingWEB members have experienced difficulties, Jamie Saul, accounts technical lead for Sage UK said that customer support calls logged on the 2010 upgrade showed no significant increase in volume. “That’s the objective tool we would use as to whether there’s a problem,” he said.

Slow performance
Problems experienced included waiting 10-20secs for the New/Edit Customer command to respond and for saves to take place. One user said it took them three minutes to get into the Invoicing module; another added that it took even longer to respond if more than one user is in the same module. Data checking proved impossible for another user who found the system hung up when they tried to do so. In a couple of instances, the Bank Rec module was particularly slow.

Data corruption
Two users started experiencing “split” errors where only one side of a transaction appeared in the journals. And some postings appeared in duplicate. One user found that four recurring entries had duplicated themselves and another found that a week after upgrading another 300+ lines of data had gone missing. 

Anti-virus conflicts
In some cases identified by Blencowe, anti-virus software (particularly Norton’s) slows Sage 50 Accounts.  Anti-virus software works by monitoring activity on the PC and this can interfere when the accounting application writes to its data files, commented Sage. Other AV tools will also check for activity across the network.

Sage 50 Accounts database
Some of the operational issues within Sage - a practical maximum of 100,000 records and the customer database issue already mentioned – are down to the product’s design, which is based on an old, proprietary flat-file database. Information from Sage’s own support staff suggests that these problems will go away when the product is migrated to a SQL-based relational database management system, either the open-source MySQL system, or Microsoft’s popular SQL Server database.

Sage support issues
While no one here has argued that Sage 50 Accounts represents cutting edge technology, we have seen several incidents in the past where the company has moved quickly to deal with upgrade problems. Sustaining the image of dependability is an important part of the Sage culture. Yet the user experiences reported on AccountingWEB show numerous occasions where Sage support staff have treated the user’s experience as an isolated problem or given up attempting to sort the issue out. This attitude to users of its flagship program does not bode well for a software company so dependent on revenues from support services and product upgrades.

Let us know what your experiences have been of Sage 50 Accounts in recent years and how likely are you to make the move to the 2010 edition. We have asked senior Sage executives to respond on to all the points raised by AccountingWEB members and will report back when they do.

Continued...

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Comments

What a disasterous company

Anonymous | | Permalink

Not Sage problems again - they really are a complete shower!

Slow Performance - (are they using MySQL yet - could well be wrong decision anyway because of MySQL being sold?) This is probably down to their own rubbish database which they still insist on using even despite knowing it is not up to the task (not merchantable quality). In any event speed is not really and issue with todays databases (i.e. SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL etc).

Only 10K customers causing a problem - what is going on?

Data Corruption with one sided journals - How is this possible when using transactions (commit/rollback); either the entire transaction is written or nothing is written - ergo no corruption of this nature is possible. This is not new with Sage's own db engine; has been occuring on/off for a while

As for Sage demanding greater spec/network performance - whilst this probably applies to the Sage product it is total garbage in the overall scheme of things. How does Sage imagine that SaaS products or any other solution providers operate? Also considerably bumps up the cost of Sage

Would suggest everyone dumps Sage and gets a better solution - if you don't then realistically you only have yourself to blame so there is no point in complaining about something that one is not prepared to change

Support - any company that prides itself in taking 22k support calls a day is deluded. The number of problems encountered with your software is NOT a badge of honour; more impressive would be ZERO support calls per day

Why on earth does anyone in the profession continue to put up with such poor offerings from Sage and yet they do year after year

Basically Sage should stick to marketing because they are simply not an IT company

Just one more reason...

amarshah69 | | Permalink

... to avoid Sage like the plague ... it is honestly the worst piece of accounting software i have seen

Adrian Pearson's picture

Crumbling architecture

Adrian Pearson | | Permalink

 The software developer I am working with on my Ledgerscope project, has nothing but (very) bad things to say about the database schema underlying the Sage 50 product.  I wont repeat his comments here as a) we are not yet past the watershed and b) I wish to stay out of the Courts.

It seems to me that Sage cannot continue bolting on new features to an ancient infrastructure without it breaking completely but, equally, they don't seem to want to face up to the complete, ground-up rewrite that is needed.  Will Sage 50 still be around in 5 years?

Sage DB

Anonymous | | Permalink

Everything points to the fact that the Sage DB is non-relational and home-grown.  It's lack of scalability is simply shocking. They really should have encapsulated their data engine years ago and put a real DB underneath. I continue to be stunned at how it is that supplier or customer refs cannot be changed. It's not even bronze-age computing to allow this.

Have Sage been getting hints from Microsoft

Anonymous | | Permalink

2010 was released with unnecessary changes and bugs that support don't know or care when fixes will be released for. In particular, you can now only import csv files if the file extension is in lower case (never used to matter) and via a time-consuming wizard although it does at least remember where to look for the files. The pdf driver doesn't work properly in the 64-bit version of Windows 7 at least, resulting in a loss of functionality when performing a bank reconciliation - it no longer generates a pdf file on completion. And yes, I have had data corruption as well but at least it can fix itself so far!

I do wonder who asks for these "improvements" and agree with others that the priority should be setting it up on a modern stable and efficient database before adding any more new features - the camel's back is very nearly at breaking point, just 1 more straw could do it. But of course, it is features that sell upgrades not the underlying database - or is it really?

elansea's picture

Sage

elansea | | Permalink

Sage is a company that has grown by acquisition, not innovation and it shows in its clumsy product, Sage 50.

I dumped Sage as my practice software years ago and usually warn new businesses against buying it. It is unforgiving of errors, over engineered (probably to force all the component parts, which weren't meant for each other, to blend) and its upgrades serve little purpose other than lining the pockets of the company.

I certainly don't miss being told by Sage support "this is not a known error"

I can only advise users to shop around. You won't be disappointed!

 

M

julie.severn's picture

Instants too

julie.severn | | Permalink

We've had problems with Line50 (trial balances that don't balance!) but managed to sort them out ourselves as Sage didn't seem interested - just told us to run check data, which showed nothing.  This is still 2009 though!

Also have two clients running Instants and in both cases, after installing an upgrade, the data has become corrupted and does not balance.  Neither have had helpful advice from Sage other than the suggestion of an expensive rebuild of the data, but both are wary of spending the money only for it to happen again.

Considering you pay so much for the privilege of using Line50, you would at least expect it to work.  If you bought anything else that didn't work you'd simply take it back to the shop and it would be replaced with something that did.  You wouldn't spend hours trying to fix it or be expected to pay them to fix a problem that they caused in the first place.  Aaarrghhh!

Yours

Frustrated, Powys

Middle Ware issues following SAGE upgrade

allsorts | | Permalink

The biggest issue with the upgrade is that it was built with apparently little or no regard to the Middle Ware providers  which sit between transactional websites and SAGE.

After our 2010 upgrade, our web transactions failed to appear in SAGE. In the end, after hours of trying to track down the problem, I spoke to our Middle Ware partner who told me that SAGE hadn't given them details of the upgrade until the very last minute and their existing Middle Ware package was not compatible. They had to hastily build a patch to remedy this but we were without orders going into Sage for 3 days.

 

 

Sage

Anonymous | | Permalink

It appears that everytime Sage is mentioned, its used as an opportunity to get anti sage propaganda on to the agenda again, possibly a hint of competitor jealousy and strategic dishing the dirt. I have installed Sage 2010 with a number of clients this year with no problems encountered or reported subsequently - the conversion routines worked quickly and without a glitch. These are for clients who have requested an upgrade as they've used Sage successfully for years and have enjoyed the experience and like the added new features in 2010. It appears Sage is like Microsoft in many ways, they are the incumbent market leader that most people love to use but are subject to rabid criticism around the edges. How many hundreds of thousands of copies of sage 50 are there installed and you've had 6 reported problems. That sounds like 6 sigma quality to me.

Sage Software

Jessica's Grandad | | Permalink

I have used Sage software since 1987, but I will be dropping it totally. I currently use the 2008 version of Client Manager, upgrading from an earlier version. On the upgrade there was severe data loss problems on my company. Clients data has issues. Where the data was upgraded from Instant the trial bvalance does not balance and other mysterious glitches. I have not paid to upgrade as the cost outways the benefits- online VAT- how long does it take when on the HMRC site.

I also have a 50 company bureau version of Sage Payroll. I paid £625 last year, for which I get not a lot. i have stated that I am moving to a bureau version of 12 Pay- far cheaper and a good program. Sage have told me that my software runs out on 27 March and cannot use it thereafter. I spoke to a supervisor who said I could submit online for 2010, as paid for but I had no sagecover. i stated that I had not used it for 12 months, you was the reply on 19 May - I had a problem opening a new company when I was only using 30 of 50. Please note that they sent a 20 company version in March 2008 which was unusable and caused major problems. Please note I have not had my year end patch even though I am entitled so I cannot submit 2010 online.

Reading the head of customer service comments, I feel that they have got out of the real world. They are so used to people upgrading like automatons. They upgrade to get the Sage Cover- when you call the queues are horrendous and some of the staff are barely trained. Some are good.

I had a call the other day, the Sage operative refused to state what he was calling for, when pressed he refused. He was impolitely told to go away by myself. He was disgraceful. Yes my action was unprofessional but some little boy pretending to be of some standing and being obnoxious should be sacked!

I hope 12 Pay you stay as good as you are. As regards accounting programs what are peoples experience of the Iris Bookkeping software or is Cloud better?

Ian B Murray FCA

Murray Chartered Accountants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not just the 2010 version

Anonymous | | Permalink

I remember upgrading L50 a few years back to find (after a few weeks) that all our data was corrupted, due to a known problem. Sage asked us to to restore the the previous version & re-enter the last few weeks data!!!!!! I made a fuss and Sage agreed to fix the data at additional cost. I made another fuss & we got the data fixed for free.

For that reason I stopped loading new versions until it had been in use by others for a few weeks.

Now, due to Sages misleading selling tactics (and the unexpected sums of money I have had to pay) we have scrapped Sage altogether.

Witch-Queen's picture

Sage

Witch-Queen | | Permalink

I too have installed several network versions of Line 50 2010 for clients and myself and have had one or two glitches with it, but I have managed to resolve these fairly quickly.

My biggest problem with ALL Sage software at the moment is their failure to keep up to date. (and I use all their software except SPS ant ACT which I hate)

Windows 7 has been out a while now, and was much hyped before it's release. The computer industry agrees it is well worth investing in and Software delevopers had the opportunity to trial beta versions many months before it was released. But what have Sage done about it? Not much.

ALL Sage users be aware. NO Sage software will run on the Windows 7 64 bit platform and only a few programs will run on 32 bit!  (Check the Sage website for the very short list of what will run) What is the point of getting a new PC or Laptop capable of running 64 bit Windows 7 if none of your software will work? And why should you be restricted to the slower 32 bit version just because of Sage?

You have 3 choices.

1) Don't upgrade to Windows 7 at all. (not an option really as Win XP SP2 will be withdrawn from support this June I think)

2) Only upgrade to 32 bit and  keep your old PC to run the other software that is not compatible (not easy if you are investing in new hardware as most new laptops will be 64bit)

3) Ditch Sage completly and move to another software supplier

I'm going with option 3 !

-- Witch-Queen

THE ONGOING SAGE DRAMA

terry morris | | Permalink

Having used Sage for many years and after many years of the problems mentioned by your letters I am slowely moving to other software, Last April I purchased VT and find that after a year of use and probably two phone calls I have sufferred less stress like waiting 20 minutes in the support line queue and then being told to disable my anti virus software which will speed Sage up (not a chance).

I also moved to Taxcalc for my returns which I rate second to none, very little support, the help menu guides you through any problems.

Two years ago I moved to Payroll Manager, again very easy to use and virtually no support needed.

In all of these cases the support team have been efficient and considerate, they do not talk down to you.

The end result is that my software runs with no problems and I have saved 50% of my software costs. Sage have never been able to answer my query. WHY DO I ONLY GET CORRUPTIONS WITH SAGE SOFTWARE.

 

.

Anonymous | | Permalink

SAGE is the only software we ACTIVELY discourage clients from using, unless they have a top notch bookeeper who really likes it, or the advantages in multi-user enviroment and audit trail for adjustments are really necessary.

i dont let small clients doing their own books anywhere near it - huge level of support required vs next to nothing on pretty much anything else.

Sage Accounts 2010 Problems

PeterNatt | | Permalink

Although Sage state that only 6 people have had problems with the upgrade to Sage 2010 Accounts my suspicions are that there are very many more that have had problems but simply not recorded their displeasure with the software.

In our case  the upgrade caused our system to go very slowly and it took several weeks to resolve the issue which included completely turning off our Symantec Anti-Virus Software.

I suspect the problem that Sage is having is that although they can rebuild Sage and use a more efficient Database  they are unable to create a safe bridge to transfer their customers existing data to the new data base.

I suppose the solution for those of us that have lost confidence in Sage is to find an alternative Software which we are happy with and manually transfer all our customers/suppliers details etc on to it so that at year end we can simply transfer all balances to it and start off with a new software.  There will be some pain but at least once one is with the new Software there will be less problems.

 

 

 

dahowlett's picture

This is serious

dahowlett | | Permalink

 Congratulations to John for putting together a solid synopsis of the issues. I don't believe the saas/cloud people need do anything other than sit back. In the alternative, I have made what would be the saas case to certain of the issues you've discussed. However I think the problem is far more deeply rooted. 

Several commenters have pointed out flaws in Sage's business strategy. I add to that: "I've said consistently over many years that Sage has structural problems that prevent it from making the right technology investments. I hear how it is investing in various new things but the reality is they are out of touch and managed by a team that cares more about the share price than the customer. There is a limit on forward moving R&D while the company continues to backfill existing applications. In this case you have to ask whether Sage's Q&A processes are working. This is not an isolated incidence. Sage has a long history of delivering buggy software. One can only assume the company is gambling on only a few people making a huge fuss and that their incumbent status will keep them afloat. This is a dangerously flawed strategy that can only work for a limited period of time."

Sage should be deeply concerned with these comments and managing them at the highest level. Your commenters have been surprisingly measured in tone but the message is clear: 'We've had enough' and are voting with their wallets. If Sage cannot hear what this means then they are in really deep trouble.

Mostly works OK

maacprime | | Permalink

Something like 85% of our clients use Sage. Once you've given them some initial training on how to post transactions, they tend to have very few issues with it. When problems do crop up, it's usually down to the data inputter lacking accounts knowledge. I wouldn't mind it if more clients went over to Xero.But the access to live data isn't that big an advantage if you can just get the Sage data file emailed to you every month or quarter to track how the client is doing.

lindaluvdup's picture

Anonymous poster of "Sage"

lindaluvdup | | Permalink

I, too, have happily used Sage Line 50 for years - it was easy to teach myself and use the software - but my problems have ocurred after the upgrade to 2010 and I am now one of the complainers.

I assure you I don't have time to complain just because Sage may be a market leader - although I think that Sage would be delighted to be compared in any way with Microsoft by you, not knowing who you are and whether you are qualified to judge, maybe they wouldn't. I complain about the real problems both I and my colleagues have experienced. I have discussed all of this fully with Sage, and I continue to do so but do not rule out changing my accounts software given the time and funds to do so.

-- Lin

Apportionment 2 VAT Retail Scheme - Sage error

aidanhall | | Permalink

Hi

I recently had a client who used Sage 50 for the VAT Scheme reports.  When I reviewed the reports they were found to included deleted transactions as part of the report which was incorrect.  My immediate reaction was to phone Sage.

The reply I received was not satisfactory for such a big company although I was given assistance to correct my clients reports.  When I asked if Sage would take on this error and correct in either a patch or a new release they  merely replied that as they had not had any enquiries/ where not aware of anyone using the VAT scheme reports they would not be updating the reports.  Therefore if anyone does use Sage for Apportionment 2 Retail scheme you may need to check your calculations and past returns.

 

I didn’t realise that Sage was the Devil incarnate!!

johnsbaker | | Permalink

I have used Sage products for the last 25 years and over that period I have managed to fill several swear boxes. The funds have been usefully applied to various good causes, so every cloud.

However, I have never read such a load of hysteria as this current thread. Yes, Sage is far from perfect. Yes, it at times it drives me to distraction. Yes, its Database architecture is creaking more than a Gypsy Moth biplane. But look at some of the comments –

1         No Sage software will run on 64-Bit Windows 7 – I guess I have just been hallucinating while running Sage Accounts, 2009, 2010 and Sage Payroll 2010 on a Dell i7 processor running 64-Bit Windows 7

2         Line 50 has problems if you have over 10,000 customers – Ever heard of fit for purpose! Who in the right minds would expect Line 50 to handle that many live accounts? Sure Sage will sell it up as a product, but with that many customers you surely need to be considering more heavyweight products.   (not sure on the grammar of that - better with numbers!)

3         Sage Support is unable to solve all issues – There’s a new concept.  Please can anyone tell me a company whose support team can, because I haven’t found them yet!

I agree with the comment that Sage is like Microsoft – market leader so fair game for a bashing. I too hate some of their products. I moved away from their Practice Management software because it failed to do what it said on the tin. I got fed up with rekeying the same information into different modules. If you don’t like the product – use your feet.

The plain fact is that we are all stuck with Line 50 for one simple reason – our clients know how to use it!! If they recruit new staff, the balance of probabilities is that candidates have used Sage before so that training time is significantly reduced and costs are held.

Also be wary of using IT experts belittling software as a basis to move away from products. I have a client who has stunning evidence as to why you should avoid MS Office because of its coding structure. This was imparted to me 15 years ago. He reliably informs me that things have not improved significantly. Whether he is right or not, I have no idea. But what does he use – MS Office 2007. Why? - because all of his clients use MS Office and it makes it easier to exchange files.

At the end of the day we will all do what we will do. Personally, I’ll carry on moaning at Sage to improve their products that I, or my clients, use. The more complaints the more they will be concerned about the one issue that genuine concerns them – Market Share. 

Altruism may be alive and well, but I am not sure that Newcastle is a hotbed. 

Ok so who’s next? – IRIS, MYOB, QuickBooks ......................

dahowlett's picture

We're all stuck

dahowlett | | Permalink

 ...if you'd like to speak with me on your points then please....feel free to contact me: dahowlett [at] gmail [dot] com

You need to have realistic expectations....

garykind | | Permalink

OK I'm not here to defend Sage, regular readers of my blog (www.domorewithsage.com) know that I often bash them but reading the comments regarding issues with 10,000 customers, I'm with John above, you cannot realistically expect a product costing a few hundred quid to do this. It runs a desktop database not an SQL one and if you have this many customers you need to be looking at a mid-range solution, not an entry level one.

We all know the underlying database is old and tired, but it *does* work and yes some sites have performance issues but for most people it does the job.

Gary

CLEAR AUDIT TRAIL

michaeldavis | | Permalink

I HAVE JUST UPGRADED TO SAGE 50 ACCOUNTS 2010 V.16.

I TOO NOTICED HOW SLOW EVEN THE LOG ON WAS AND DECIDED TO CLEAR FAIRLY LAGE AMOUNTS OF DATA FROM SELECTED CLIENTS.  THIS HAS SO FAR PROVED IMPOSSIBLE:

ONCE THE RELEVANT INFORMATION HAS BEEN ENTERED IN THE CLEAR AUDIT TRAIL BOXES AND A BACKUP TAKEN I RECEIVE THE MESSAGE 'DATE NOT WITH FINANCIAL YEAR'  THIS IS INCORRECT SO AFTER TRYING A VARIETY OF DATES WITH THE SAME RESULT I PRESS ON TO PROCESS WHICH IS THEN FOLLOWED BY THE MESSAGE 0 ITEMS PROCESSED !

MICHAEL DAVIS