Sage Software from the north east of England has been a serious contender for the most used accountancy package for a business in the UK, and if not across the western world. It is recommended by large numbers of accountants, and bookkeepers and accountants alike have been happily using it for generations. It started out we believe over 30 years ago and has grown and expanded, changing with the times ever since. Sage offer a cloud version, a CD version and all sorts of different connotations involving payroll and small and large businesses. It has been a world leader in the development of accountancy software.
Unfortunately we think its absolute rubbish.
Whilst accountants and bookkeepers may love it, I suspect that most business owners or users not in the accountancy world absolutely detests it. It is cumbersome, difficult to follow, full of accountancy regulations and rules, does not enable data to be manipulated and lacks any sophistication at all. In fact rubbish is a nice way of putting it. This software has been masquerading as a world leader for too long and now it is in serious danger of being removed from the competition by two new up and coming companies who have developed much more user friendly packages which are worrying the accountancy profession. Sage and accountants have basically worked together to ensure the survival of each others business models.
Xero.com is an extremely user friendly accountancy package that basically does everything for you. If you want to issue an invoice you type in your customer’s name, enter the amount and soon they will email them the invoice as well as send them a statement to chase it up. If you want to do a VAT return, you click a few buttons and Xero does a VAT return. You can automatically link your bank accounts to Xero and it will automatically update for you on a regular basis. Quick Books is very similar, although we have heard that it suffers from similar problems to Sage in that there are still accountancy nuisms involved in the package which make it hard for the lay person to follow exactly what is going on.
We suspect Sage is going to die out within the next 10 years. It seems to have gone the way of other companies like Blackberry and Atari in that it has not kept up with the times. If you use Sage it may well be worth considering switching across to Xero as quickly as possible, and I suspect you will be pleasantly surprised as to how much better the Xero software is compared with the awkwardness of Sage. No doubt your accountants will disagree with this, but then he would, wouldn’t he?
If you want to comment, particularly if you are in the employment of Sage and feel the need to defend your product, please feel free..
Jonathan Fagan is MD of Ten-Percent.co.uk Limited and TP Recruitment Limited, a set of websites involved in a range of recruitment work. Jonathan has been running small businesses for over 20 years and has a number of interests and investments in companies as diverse as transcription, legal recruitment and a bit of marketing. He is an author of a number of guides and books, together with a children’s novel. In his spare time he enjoys playing golf, cricket, coaching girl’s football, operating a parent taxi, lots of running and paddleboarding on Bala Lake and the River Dee. He is a strong believer in a good work-life balance and regular blogs on making money vs enjoying life. Jonathan’s website is http://www.jonathanfagan.co.uk