Sage 50 is a great product for smaller owner managed businesses. It can bring order to core accounting records and processes such as order processing, and it allows reporting of information that can guide business decisions. It’s particularly suited to businesses where the accounts are run either by a bookkeeper or the owner directly. For some businesses and not for profits, though, Sage 200 fits better than Sage 50.
Bad reasons for staying with Sage 50
There is, though, a proportion of Sage 50 users that probably or definitely should have upgraded to Sage 200 (or other mid range accounts software). The reasons for not moving include:
- lack of focus on the finance function
- reluctance to pay more than for Sage 50
- an assumption that Sage 50 is always appropriate when a business is small
- the finance function not keeping up with a business’ rapid growth.
When Sage 200 is the right choice
We’re always pleased to discuss a client and advise as whether Sage 200 is the right choice now, in future or never. As preliminary guidance though, Sage 200 may well be appropriate:
- if a qualified accountant is needed to run finance, then Sage 200 is usually the appropriate tool (for example, it’s period based)
- for startups that are planning to grow quickly should often go straight to Sage 200, to avoid the disruption of upgrading later including redesigning reporting and processes
- if integration is important, including where reports need to include data from other systems as well as Sage
- if there are more than 5 users and gross margin is more than £2M per annum
- for groups of companies, particularly if cross group reports are needed
- plus a range of triggers related to features that are in Sage 200 but not Sage 50 such as: serial and batch number tracking; more complete handling of foreign exchange; cost centre plus department reporting
These aren’t rigid rules, indeed we have Sage 50 skills and workarounds that would help a client stay with Sage 50 in some of the following examples. What is wise though, often is different from what is possible.