Sage 50 From a Consultant's Point of View
Updated November 18, 2014
Sage 50 From a Consultant's Point of View
Score 8 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with Sage 50
We are consultants who assist business owners in choosing appropriate accounting and operations software for their business. As such, we must understand their business processes and what features are required to solve their needs. My experience has been that Sage 50 is generally well-suited towards businesses who place a high value on their financial records. It can be utilized well for service businesses, distribution companies and manufacturers (with add-on). The construction version is fairly good for a simple construction company.
- Sage 50 has a pretty good inventory management capabilities, providing multi-level BOMs, revision tracking and multiple costing methods, including specific unit costing with serial number tracking.
- Sage 50 has a robust financial statements report writer and now includes Sage "Business Intelligence", which is an excel-based custom dashboard/report writer as well. Sage 50 also includes very customizable forms and checks
- Sage 50 is easy to use and intuitive for those who are familiar with "debits and credits", journals and sub-ledgers (i.e., "old-fashioned" accounting!). The day-to-day work flow is easy to follow and the month-end work (like bank reconciliations and "closing" a month) are simple. Security features are appropriate for the typical users.
- Multi-segment accounts in chart of accounts allow great flexibility in departmental or profit center reporting, plus can consolidate multiple companies.
- Sage 50's main weaknesses come when comparing features to QuickBooks (which I also consult on). Sage 50 does not have the concept of Undeposited Funds, which is a great feature in QuickBooks, and missed by many when they go from QB to Sage 50. Sage 50 added "Select for Deposit", but it does not go far enough.
- Another missing feature is the ability for an accountant to take an "Accountants Copy" (like in QuickBooks), make changes, give that copy back to the client and have those changes integrate back into the client's Sage without overwriting work done by the client.
- A very unfortunate "feature" is that Sage no longer supports any version other than the most current year. That is rather draconian and very negatively affects users who have added services such as credit card payments or payroll. Those added services will cease to work if the user does not renew each year.
- Some consider the multi-segment accounts mentioned prior to be a detriment - again comparing it to the use of Classes in QuickBooks, which are easier, but not necessarily as robust.
- Investment calculations should include the services of a consultant to assist with setup, migration of data, training and implementation of Sage 50. Since so much in new accounting/operations software depends upon the setup, staff training and support, it is essential to get a good start.
- ROI can be achieved fairly quickly in employee efficiency, greater financial visibility and quicker response to current financial metrics.
- This is generally seen within 6 - 12 months after implementation when utilizing a certified consultant and specialist in the software, accounting and implementation strategy.
I've already lists several differences between Sage 50 and QuickBooks. The main difference that users see is indeed the look and feel of the interface. QuickBooks seems to be more intuitive for non-accounting users, while Sage 50 seems to make more sense to accounting-trained users. As for functionality, this is also in the eye of the beholder. On it's own, Sage 50 is a stronger inventory solution, but QuickBooks has thousands of add-ons to choose from to solve all sorts of business needs, including inventory. Sage 50 has very few add-ons, but the ones it has are impressive. When I think either solution would be a good fit for a client, we work backwards, starting with the reporting requirements (because after all, that's what the CEO wants) and go from there to find what will be the best fit.
I use this rating simply because I have a thriving Sage 50 consulting practice and will continue to keep my expertise in the product. I have consulted on both Sage 50 and QuickBooks for over 25 years so I have to maintain expertise in the solution as well as accounting and verticals.
Sage 50 is well-suited to a small to mid-size company, either a service or simple distribution organization. It is best used by those who have a competent bookkeeper (but then all accounting software should be used by a competent bookkeeper) and a competent operations person if using inventory features. Manufacturing can be managed with the manufacturing edition, which utilizes Misys add-on. Sage 50 would not be appropriate for larger companies who require many custom fields, or any custom programming interface. It is not generally appropriate for WIP accounting in the manufacturing process or those who need to track inventory by Lot #, expiration/warranty dates, multi-bin locations or multiple warehouses.