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.
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.
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.
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.