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TASBooks heads for the exit door

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Sage has confirmed the retirement of former software great TASBooks in August 2024, bringing the product to an end after more than 30 years.

20th Feb 2024
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TAS Books parent Sage stated it will retire the accounting software tool TASBooks from 31 August 2024. 

While TASBooks may continue to work after this date, in an update to users, Sage stated there will be no more updates or support provided and it could not guarantee that the software will continue to function after 31 August. 

Users will still be able to access TASBooks software for historical purposes, but Sage added that as it no longer supported the product, it could not promise complete access.

Sage products such as Payroll will no longer be tested to integrate with TASBooks, and the developer also announced the closure of its TASBooks community hub forum on Friday 1 March 2024.

A Sage spokesperson told AccountingWEB: “We regularly review the software and services we offer so we know we are investing in the right solutions for our customers, now and into the future, being mindful of how quickly technology is changing. 

“With this in mind, we engaged with our customers about the retirement of TAS around 18 months ago to give them notice and migration options at no extra cost.”

In its FAQ for TASBooks users on the closure, Sage outlined alternative options for remaining customers such as Sage 50 cloud Accounts or Sage Accounting, while AccountingWEB members debated alternatives in a recent Any Answers forum post.

‘A genuinely innovative product’

The TASBooks for DOS product was launched in 1991 and established itself as one of the “big three” mass-market small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) accounts packages alongside Sage and QuickBooks.

TASBooks took a different approach to bookkeeping and accounting to more traditional ledger-based systems, targeting microbusinesses and smaller companies that found rival accounting systems too complex.

Accounting technology expert David Carter described it as a “genuinely innovative product”, with its 'accounts processor' technology setting it apart from the others at the time. In effect, users could treat accounting data like a word processor, amending any mistakes rather than having to put them through a correcting journal -- a feature which proved particularly popular with non-accountant users.

TASBooks was acquired by Sage in 2001 in a £9.7m cash deal following the ill health of its founder Theo van Dort. The acquisition allowed Sage to sell its products directly to SMEs – a channel the company had not fulfilled before the deal.

There were hints that Sage was looking to take TASBooks onto the cloud, but the move failed to materialise.

An Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) report from 2009 stated that TASBooks had 40,000 customers but in the intervening years, the product’s user base has dwindled. While the release of three new versions of the tool in the past 20 years served to stem the tide somewhat, the product has slowly slipped off the software map.

21 Feb 2024: The article was amended to correct the sale price of TAS from £97m to the correct figure of £9.7m. The author apologises for this transposition error.

Replies (15)

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By FactChecker
20th Feb 2024 22:45

Think my first copy cost £9.99 - but it got thrown out quite some time ago when my children (now middle-aged) expressed embarrassment at being seen in a house that contained 5.25 inch floppy disks.
TBH wouldn't have described it as particularly ground-breaking, but simple / cheap / almost fun ... it ticked those boxes in an undemanding age.
R.I.P. (the days when PC meant something exciting)!

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John Toon
By John Toon
21st Feb 2024 14:21

Used to hate TAS as a trainee - what an utterly bobbins piece of software. Surprised it's lasted this long...

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By adam.arca
21st Feb 2024 16:40

On the contrary to JT, I loved TAS and still do on the rare occasion I come across it. My missus insists on still using our circa 2005 and unsupported version for our own accounts.

In its day TAS was streets ahead of Sage and QB. There were some clunky bits but, those apart, it was a massively intuitive and easy-to-use bit of kit. For an accountant, that is. If I had the skills to design accounts software with proper controls and a logical approach which any accountant could understand, mine would have been very like TAS. None of which is to say that I didn’t once have several very happy clients using TAS but they’ve all drifted away from it over the years of non development.

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By LFM
22nd Feb 2024 09:22

I really liked Tas - Was easy to learn (esp for new staff) and worked well for me. So much better than Sage and if developed further would have been a great piece of software.

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Replying to LFM:
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By Andy Hull
22nd Feb 2024 09:54

What isn't better than Sage?

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Replying to LFM:
Mark R
By oneclickapplications
22nd Feb 2024 10:31

You could speak to Infoplex, they have been developing addons for TASBooks for many years

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
22nd Feb 2024 09:47

SAGE and IRIS are responsbile for the death of loads of really decent products.

This is raw capitalism, unchecked by regulation or any other controls.

Anything half decent (eg taxfiler) just gets bought out and killed off before it can affect their main cash cows.

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Mark R
By oneclickapplications
22nd Feb 2024 10:26

I understand that Infoplex can offer the support required so no need to worry if you are a TASBooks user.

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By Husbandofstinky
22nd Feb 2024 10:28

If anyone hasn't seen a set of Iris accounts (CH), please do so in their various guises.

I admit I haven't looked at them in a couple of years, but I recall eye watering gross profits, let alone net profit.

A truly different world

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By North East Accountant
22nd Feb 2024 10:42

It started life as Megatech Software and had features that some competitors still don't even have today.

We used it for 20 years from 1993 to 2013 and it was brilliant.

As the world moved to the cloud, time has passed it by and the end is inevitable.....RIP TASBooks.

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Replying to North East Accountant:
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By Giorgos
22nd Feb 2024 10:56

Infoplex has been supporting TASBooks customers for over 25 years and will continue to develop new addons to include helping our clients access TASBooks in the cloud

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By GDavidson
22nd Feb 2024 11:06

TAS was a better product 30 years ago, especially in reporting and drill down, than Sage is now. But Sage bought the company, closes it down and then has all these lovely new customers. There has not been one iota of effort by Sage over the years to try to emulate just how good TAS was.

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David Ross
By davidross
22nd Feb 2024 13:08

Classic Sage - buy up the competition and shut it down

Pegasus was an example I think. Perhaps AW members can add others to the Sage Hall of Shame (I see they have already started)

Meanwhile Sage has not innovated and Xero passed them by - just deserts for monopolists

By the way, I wish I had bought Sage shares in the Eighties, would have made my fortune .....

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By carnmores
22nd Feb 2024 13:34

TAS predates QB

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Stephen Quay
By squay
22nd Feb 2024 14:01

We used TAS Books for DOS and then switched to the Windows version when Windows 95 came in. It was great and easy to use but the fact you could edit transactions was ground breaking at the time. I used the TB for accountants hub when they introduced it so you could manage the data from different versions clients sent you. Also used TAS Payroll for many years too. Used them right up to around 2012 when we switched to Xero for cloud accounting. I'm retired now but thought I'd post out of nostalgia.

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