Sage 50 Accounts productivity tips from AccountingWEB members

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John Stokdyk
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Tags’s Sage 50 Accounts discussion group has been documenting some of the frustrations users experience with their accounting application, but since we published a summary of the recent 2010 upgrade controversy, the forum has taken a constructive turn.

Sage 50 tips  

-Keeping database size down
-Compressing data
-Clearing the audit trail
-Networking tips

Navigation & enquiry
-Function keys
-Adjust windows & columns
-Sort data views
-Right-click heading options
-Search wild cards
-Selective payments
-Magnifying Glass

Payment procedures
-Credit card process
-Factoring/cash accounting
-Factoring/standard accounting software (notably Norton) slows Sage 50 Accounts 2010.

-Send data to Excel
-Excel Integrated Reporting
-Project reports
-Tutorials: MS Query exports etc.

Sarah Douglas, a software trainer as well as accountant, commented that some complaints about Sage are often due to a lack of training, where people don’t know how to do things. This is the same with every piece of software including Excel and Word. Rather than

changing to another application

, it might be that developing a better understanding of the software they already have could be a more economic approach, she argued.


The conversations that grew from that thread produced a glut of good suggestions from which this summary article is drawn. Once you have familiarised yourself with the tips and links below, do check in to the discussion group to see if any more have been added. Or perhaps you might have a few additions that you’d like to add to the mix by commenting below.


Our thanks to Sarah, Witch-Queen, David Carter and all the other contributors to this discussion – it’s yet another example of how useful the online community can be.

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By Anonymous
08th Apr 2010 11:37

Stick to marketing

Sage really do have quite a good marketing ploy here

- provide a program release every 12/18 months that falls down in some area

- raise topics such as lack of database capacity etc.

- generate articles on how to fix the problems or achieve greater productivity from their dubious apps


- keeps them constantly in the news

- maintains a high profile; not necessarily beneficial with complaints but as a marketing organisation 'all publicity is good publicity'

The disappointing thing about this whole scenario is that Aweb an others actually seem to give them disproportionate air time with their whole sorry offering; possibly because of advertising revenues

Although, how an application falling down can be attributed to 'user training' does need to be challenged. Basically they are running an inadequate database and questionnable code that is not the same in all their applications over platforms that it was not designed for (networks).

As for networking - L50 was never originally designed to operate in this manner and whilst it is possible to 'force' it to run this is akin to a square peg in a round hole.

If they want a network or Cloud etc app then go away and write one - oops! sorry they tried this and got egg on their face! Stick to the marketing guys and give up the programming day job

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08th Apr 2010 13:01

Sage L50 latest version 2010 & Sage Payroll

1.  both Sage L50 & Payroll have been released without proper testing.  At present you can not save any report as PDF in either Sage L50 or Payroll.

2.  I have called sage developer team and all they said was "sorry".  they are in the process of releasing the "patch" to fix this problem. 

3. in the meantime we have to deal with payroll year end.  Sage has done the same thing in the past with version 2007 which took many months to resolve.

4.   in the race for raising revenue early, the companys tesing the patience of loyal users.  we are accountant and we have been using sage for many many years and we now regret being "locked-in" wishing for a way out.



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08th Apr 2010 13:03

Try to strike some balance

I've got to step in here to answer the first Anon. This article is not a clever marketing ploy on Sage's part, nor is it a devious plan on our part to attract advertising support from them. We have had no qualms - aside from legal necessities, fairness and the other terms of AccountingWEB participation - about publishing a negative articles such as the one documenting problems with the Sage 50 Accounts 2010 upgrade.

Even with all our Budget coverage, that has been one of the most heavily read articles on the site in the past few weeks (7,000+). There are a lot of Sage users out there and they respond very positively to the material we produce - that more than anything else is the driver behind our editorial coverage.

None of the participants in the Sage 50 Accounts discussion group argued that training could overcome shortcomings in the application, but several of us (including me) made the point that often users' lack of knowledge about the program can limit their productivity. Another point worth repeating is that the cost and disruption of switching applications can be daunting - and far less reliable at delivering a return on investment than a little bit of training. The suggestions that underpin this article grew out of the conversations that subsequently took place in the group.

As we have proved very successfully with our Excel tutorials, this approach to helping members get more out of their software is very popular, so it seemed a good idea to put the Sage 50 advice into wider circulation.

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08th Apr 2010 16:28

Sage Line 50 & Tas Payroll

I agree with you entirely.

We have used Sage for many years and are now totally disillusioned with them.

After their takeover of Tas (which we use for Payroll), we have seen this service decline also - a downloadable yearend upgrade which inevitably fails, a telephone support system with so many options it is laughable and then an age to wait to be answered. They offer an email support system where an automated response states they will be in touch but they don't reply.

I will be looking for a new payroll software supplier that puts their customers first.





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08th Apr 2010 17:37

To Provide Help

I can only speak for my practice and my clients, I run a payroll Bureau , and have clients who use Sage Payroll and nobody has had problems with the update disk this year  , they have told me that they think the payroll cover is excellent , and have all said they will be renewing this year.  

This view is not held  mind you about Sage Line 50 Accounts cover which most of my clients do not use as they think it is very expensive, but this does not mean that they do not like sage but there cover is too expensive.  I think sage really needs to sort this issue out.

I think there are a lot of problems with two many versions too quickly and I  agree with other writers that there are far to many versions. That said, they are not the only computer/ software  company having problems. I  updated to Windows 7 which has caused me loads of problems , but it is not only with Sage but with printers , browsers ,  other software.  This was also the same on Vista for a while , even Companies house using Adobe had issues with one of the operating systems .  I also think Microsoft could also stop with all the versions and actually sort one that works. 

That said I do like sage Line 50 as a bookkeeping package.   I really like Sages Bank Reconciliation side which is a area I and my clients use heavily.  I know every piece of accounts software has their strong points and we should all use the ones that we like the most. 

With all the changes in software at the moment and government legislation I feel that we all need to consider that maybe we should start budgeting for more training, no matter what package we use,  as software seems to be changing faster then we are. 

 I could add that I prefer the Apple to Windows (" I'm a PC   I'm a Apple ") which now allows them to have a good banter , but the reality is it is great to have both. The best of Both worlds . Hence  I think we all have our preferences for different accounts packages . The objective of the article is merely to help those who do like to use Sage. It not about criticising other peoples choices of software. As I think we all bright  enough to make our own decisions and take everything into account.  


[email protected] Douglas Accountancy & Bookkeeping Services, Glasgow

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By Anonymous
12th Apr 2010 13:59

Sage Productivity Tip No.1


In favour of a simpler, cheaper. user friendly alternative such a VT Transaction + ... which works smoothly without any glitches...unlike sage!!!

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