Monday, 2 February 2009

Are accountants still stuck in the Sage mud?

I found this posting on AccountingWeb's Any Answers today.

The respondents at time of going to press :-) are roughly split in half between those who would carry on using Sage and those who would switch to another package.

Two of the responses winked at me.

The first was from "Paul Scholes", who said:
Hi - if I was starting all over again I'd look seriously at online accounting (there's loads of it on accountingweb - Search KashFlow etc). This has to be the way to go. We spend our lives online anyway so why not accounting as well?

Having clients on everything from Sage (still feels like 1980s) to MYOB, with all the different versions is a pain in the bum and unless you sit at the same screen or can log in over the net, you are never working on the live version. Online you & the client can access it and you can take & correct what you need without having to worry about upgrades.

Just talked myself into it for the next client !
I can sympathise with that. Time was when I was dealing with clients on everything from Sage to MYOB and some in between, with people on all different versions, and playing ping-pong with backups till my head was just about ready to go off pop. It was usually easier to go and visit the client to do year-end journals, because then you knew you were working on the latest edition of their data.

And the other response that caught my eye was from Lee Stevens, who asks, "What are you most comfortable with?"
Maybe you should have a list of software on your 'recommended list'?

Depends on the client to whom you are recommending... Sage (50) is expensive, VT and Solar are relatively cheap and Quickbooks/TAS maybe somewhere in between.

Can you pick two or three packages, with differing price levels and differing complexity/learning curves to match your client base (e.g. sole trader with a couple of transactions per week v Small company with multiusers/lots of transactions). You could then recommend one more tailored to your clients needs, and one which will provide you with the year end information you require.

If you recommend the software to your clients they will also expect you to know how to use it 'inside out'.

I use Sage and generally recommend it, it has many shortcomings, but because I know the software well, I can get around these. I have used TAS and Quickbooks and was none to keen, but thats probably because Sage is embedded in me.

If you do look at other packages, e.g. Iris Accounts Office, Access Accounting, be prepared for a lot of sales calls afterwards.

In answer to your question though, Sage does the job if you know it well enough and can teach your clients, so does TAS and Quickbooks. I guess every other retail package does too.

Long post and not much further forward....

Accountants are busy folk. They often don't have time to learn to use a new package.

But this time of the year might be an excellent time to do just that. It was in February 2006, when the mad tax return rush was over and the new tax year not yet started, that I taught myself to use Winweb.

So why not take a look at some of the excellent alternative offerings out there and see if you can save yourself some Sage headaches?

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