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Reading Sage files

We need to have read only access to multiple sage files. Is there some sort of convertor

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Through our work we need to see multiple company's accounts.  We are not accountants so only need read only access.  Often clients send us their sage backup but we can't read them.  Is there some service or basic sage license that can enable us to do this?

Thanks in advance



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By kevbrownuk
27th Mar 2019 17:37


From a licensing perspective you ideally need a copy of Sage 50 Dataset manager in order to interrogate the data, however a read only view I don't believe is possible.

Drop me an email if you need anymore information [email protected]

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By johndon68
28th Mar 2019 07:09

Sage backups compress all the data files in to the single backup file and there is no way that data can be extracted directly from the backup, it has to be restored in to Sage to be read.


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Replying to johndon68:
By johnhemming
28th Mar 2019 07:30

That sounds probably wrong. The only way I can see it might be right is if it is encrypted with a password/private key that is only known to Sage.

I would not be surprised if the files were compressed with some standard compression software and could be looked at in the same way and individual files removed.

However, the real question is why?

It what is happening is that people are trying to do MTD digital links without upgrading Sage then it should be possible to export the VAT information and email that to the accountants.

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Replying to johnhemming:
By johndon68
28th Mar 2019 07:55

It is most definitely correct, the data cannot be read directly from a backup file.

Yes, the backup could be decompressed but, even if you had the relevant algorithm (it is not, for example, the same as a .zip or .rar file), you'd then have a set of files, in a bespoke format, that could still not be read unless you knew the format of every file and how they all linked together...


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By ara.martirossian
04th Apr 2019 10:47


Sage backups are tied to a particular version e.g. if you open a v24 (2018) backup with v25 (2019) it will prompt you to upgrade the data before you can use it. This does not work in reverse e.g. trying to open a v25 backup in Sage 50 v24 is not possible. So you will need a 'selection' of Sage 50 versions installed to be able to use different data backups.

Alternatively, you could ask your client to email you the most important reports (e.g.. TB, P&L, B\S, ...) in XLSX format.

Ara Martirossian FCA

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By Swimmingagainstthe Tide
04th Apr 2019 11:42

The solution probably depends what you need to be able to read. If a full nominal ledger is sufficient then just ask the client to export the nominal ledger report for the period(s) to Excel or pdf and that is easily readable.

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Photo of MilesBW
By milesbw
04th Apr 2019 13:35

You can go at this another way. Instead of asking your clients to provide you backups from their accounts program, you can ask them for a transaction file instead.
Whilst backup formats are specific to the software program which generates the backup, the transaction file generated by most account programs are easy to read with programs such as Microsoft Excel.
From memory, Sage can produce transaction files as print output (not helpful), and also as .csv files (very useful). Excel can open .csv files. Excel also provides a suite of programs to generate management reports from the transaction files.
So you don't need to buy loads of different versions of Sage or other accounting programs to read your clients' transactions. Rather, you just need to ask them to look at the options their accounts software provides for creating transaction files, and ask them to provide you those transaction files instead.
This process is straightforward, and can be greatly streamlined using programming to further automate the process, if required.
Do get in touch if you need more help.
Best wishes

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Hugh Johnson
By Hugh Johnson
04th Apr 2019 14:16


I can help you - depending on how you want to read the files. My service provides a connector that reads the company files and presents them to you as an OData feed. It pulls pretty much all of the Sage data and works from v23 and up. The use-case envisaged is to pull the data into Power BI for reporting. Feel free to contact me on [email protected]

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