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Sage’s saga

Warning: if you are not interested in accounting, bookkeeping software, stop reading NOW.
Or if you are not, but are interested in why intensive branding/marketing has more influence than logic or value for money, just skim the main text and read the last two paragraphs.

Well, the new version 12 of Sage Line50 did show an improvement on some items but it hasn’t changed my opinion that it is a highly overrated, extremely expensive, very complicated and illogical accounting program. The improvements I found on version 12 have been standard features on the MYOB program for years (and are still better).

Sage Line 50 is being promoted as THE accounting program for small businesses. As qualified (Dutch qualification that is, but already with 6 years experience in the UK) bookkeeper I find it lacking in simplicity, especially when I compare it with MYOB Accounting Plus (and I know I’m might be a bit biased on this account).
I can’t see a starting business getting any benefits from using this Sage program and would even state it’s more hindrance than help. Behind the ‘scenes’ (various windows of the program) lays a database that is outdated in practicality.

MYOB is simple and user friendly from the moment you open the program (no, let me rephrase that, from the moment you create a new company), multi-functional, logically laid out, many more features, down-loadable reports (into Word, Excel, email-files, PDF creator and even Access, where Sage only manages – since the latest few version – some reports into Excel spreadsheets).

Or to say it a bit different: everything Sage version12 does, MYOB does it better (and has been doing so for years).

Now, to make the comparison more complete: lets look at some prices and what you’ll get for the privilege:

* SageLine50 £ 495.00 (one user, one company file) Sage Payroll £ 208.00 total £ 703.00
* MYOB Accounting Plus – includes Payroll: £ 299.00 (one user, unlimited company files can be created – handy when you need to do the books for more outlets, locations or sister-companies)
* MYOB upgrades: £ 99.00 - £ 139.00 (depending if you bought annual support a £ 159.00)
* Sage upgrade prices? I can’t tell you, Sage websites keeps that a secret. Sage annual support = £ 260.00

I’ll choose MYOB any day, because it makes bookkeeping, accounting simple; is extremely good value for money and helps you (through the extensive lists of reports it can create) manage your business effectively, saving you also valuable time you can better spend on growing your business than on doing the books.

But that’s marketing for you: accountants, software developers and software training companies intensively promote Sage. Could the reason be that they all get a very nice bonus from Sage every time they convince small businesses of the Sage saga?


Steve Blencowe

Interesting comment but I can assure you that the only "bonus" from Sage is if they actually sell you the product when they will get a trade discount as per any other product.
In fact, Accountants and Developers have to pay Sage in order to be part of Sages various accreditation schemes.
In the case of a developer it costs over £1200 per year every year. The reason people do it is because Sage is the dominant player and if you are going to develop software or a service that's the market you go for.


Thank you for this enlightenment from the developers' point of view.
As small business owner however I prefer real value for money and Sage Line50 is still lacking in that.

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