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Post Info TOPIC: Convince me that I don't need Sage


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Convince me that I don't need Sage


Hi People,

ok, currently the software that I have and use is Sage line 50 (V10 & V14), Excel and VT Transaction+ (I've actually got VT Accounts but haven't used it yet).

I'm looking around at new software and I'm really tempted to join the Quickbooks Pro program for Accountants at £345 per year for a copy of Quickbooks Premier to use, A copy of Quickbooks Pro to resell, Quickbooks Payroll and a years phone support. All with unlimited clients. (see here : http://quickbooks.intuit.co.uk/accountants/professional-advisors.jsp0).

What I really need is for people to convince me that I can quite happily work as a bookkeeper without Sage and that quickbooks is the real alternative that I want it to be.

Could you run a practice using only quickbooks software? Or, do you think that you would always need to revert to Sage for some clients????

The price combined with unrestricted clients seems to make QB a no brainer. But I'm sure that I must be missing something fundamental.

Over to you good folks to convince me whether or not to hit the purchase button on the QB site.

Many thanks in advance,

Shaun.



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Shaun

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I've been in business 13 years and never owned a copy of Sage.

I have used it on and off over that time, but only in cases where the client already owned it, as is the case at the moment, I'm doing books for a pub, they already had bought Sage (on the insistence of the prev acctnt) and so I go out there and use it on their premises.

I also use QB, again because I have a couple of clients who own it and I use their system when needed and print off any reports for work that I don't need to do on their premises. So again, I don't actually have to pay for the software.

As everyone already knows I'm a Tas Books fan, always have been and always will be, although it is somewhat more costly these days. I have found that generally people who want bookkeeping either don't have any already so it makes no difference what system you use, or are hacked off with the existing system and happy to let you do whatever you like as long as they don't have to do it!

If choosing between QB and Sage, in terms of cost QB is clearly the winner as Sage will charge an awful lot more than that. In terms of usability, I guess I'd go QB at a push, it does some odd things and the set out is a little different.

Not sure whether that's the answer you were looking for!

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Hi Jenny,

thanks for that. Sounds like TAS for you is what Excel is for me.

I'm still not convinced whether to buy QB but your message is one more helpful nail in Sages coffin for me.

Many thanks,

Shaun.



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Shaun

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Wait a minute Shauncry

Have I not convinced you to add cloud as an option to your services.  Now that Bribary Act is in place, I may have to back date that beer though.


here s a clue

A _ i _h _ o


for sneak preview of our new system, as yet to be rolled out (will need a magnifying glass though to look at the picture) click on

http://www.arithmo.co.uk/blog/

you even get a mini fixed asset registerwink

Dalbir



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Hi Shaun

Don't give up on Sage just yet. I've been happily using it for a while now and it's never let me down. Yes it has it quirks, usually around upgrade time, but having used a few other systems including QuickBooks I alway come back to my old favourite.

It does whats required of it and seems to have been built by an accountant which is good for us (not always good for clientsno). Importantly 99% of clients have heard of Sage which for me is key. End of the day the client owns the data and I've never had a client say they didn't want me to use Sage to do their book keeping. 

Not the cheapest option I appreciate, but spread the cost across a fair number of clients and it doesn't break the bank. 

For larger more complex jobs the product costing and departmental facilities is really very good, no need to use or learn another system. Another plus is that a large % of small businesses and their book keepers already use Sage. If they move across to my firm theres a good chance they already use Sage and therefore theres no issue transferring data etc. 

Just my opinion but for me its Sage all the way to retirement!

 



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Stuart

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Bad point about Sage is the pricing model for bookkeeping. While it's not a problem if you're working on client sites because it's their copy. I think you'll find once you go over 25 clients Sage becomes very expensive very quickly. From memory, i could be wrong, your next upgrade from 25 clients is another block of 25. Once you want more than 50 you have to buy an unlimited license.

Not all of your clients will need Sage and if all that's required is a accounts driven by a Cash book, then VT comes into it's own. Repetitive data entry in VT is much quicker and better. Once you've entered the posting and saved them, Vt remembers the entries, so for posting eg net wages it really is a breeze.

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Tony

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Hi Tony, Hi Stuart,

thanks for the feedback.

The question really followed on from a chat with Ken (K3) yesterday where I was quite vocal in my annoyance at the Sage pricing policy.

To paraphrase. Would one pay more for the same size and model car because you carry more passengers in it!

It would be remiss of me not to check out all of the viable alternatives before deciding on the main software for my business.

Quickbooks is a very reasonable price but I would really need to be convinced that it is a viable alternative to Sage.

I do actually have VT Transaction+ and I've signed up for the 60 day trial of VT Accounts evene though due to my ACCA affiliation I won't be able to use the product. However, I have found that a major plus point for using the accounts package is that it confirms that everything is present and correct which the internal balance sheet and P&L of VT+ alone doesn't.

My business will be purchasing VT Accounts at the end of the trial period. My licence to VT transaction+ expired earlier this year meaning that I can still use it but don't get the updates. Buying VT accounts comes with VT Transaction+ anyway so brings me completely up to date.

I think that the best approach is as you suggest Tony to try and keep as many businesses as possible on VT in order to keep any subscriptions to Sage down.

Previously I only had one client that wanted me to use Sage and I ended up using Line 50 V10 for them.... I don't know what the previous versions of Sage to that one were like but that one was truly awful and probably set me upon my Sage disliking path.

My V14 copy of Line 50 is only the 180 day trial version (so I can't use it for clients) but it was a quantum leap improvement over V10.

My current connundrum is that I'll be relaunching the bookkeeping side of the business at the start of August and if I'm to use Sage at all I would rather buy a new version than contemplate going back to V10.

I've now checked out IRIS, Tas books, Quickbooks and VT as alternatives.

I've noticed that Iris and Sage definitely seem to adopt the same business model I suppose reflecting the fact that in reality those two regard each other as the competition and really disregard any other entity.

As you say Tony VT is a given for any client who does not dictate the software that they want me to use. I'm not saying that it's perfect. Certainly a fixed asset register would not go amiss but for the price I'm quite prepared to work around any minor shortfalls.

I probably will end up buying Sage but I'll look at every viable alternative before parting with the sort of money that Sage wants.

Thanks again for the advice,

kind regards,

Shaun.

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Shaun

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Morning Shaun

I find that it is horses for courses, and will depend on the clientel you get.

I quite like working for smaller businesses, where Sage would be the proverbial sledge hammer cracking the nut (or keeping to a recent theme, using a Big 4 accountant to do the bookkeeping). It would simply be an over engineered solution, for most clients.

If you are going to pitch yourself at the larger businesses, then Sage will be a suitable solution. In those circumstance, I would add the cost for the licence in the first invoice as a set up charge, and add a renewall charge each year. At the moment I have one client that uses Sage 50 but it is a weekly, on site client, and they bare the cost of the annual licence anyway.

If like me you take what you can get, then you can't beat VT, and the cost is low enough to absorb into the hourly rate, or fixed price, with out a noticeable increase to the client. Don't know if you have actually played with the Final Accounts Excel add on but in my opinion it is a much tidier solution to produce a professional set of account, than Sage. There are some enhancements coming up in the future, like LLP accounts, also possibly a stand alone version, with out the need for Excel.

I don't know also, if you have ever tried a Quick Books product but if not you can get a feel for it by downloading Quick Books Simple Start from the Intuit UK site for free (make sure it is the UK site, US versions of QB files wont open in UK versions and visa versa) It is very dilute but gives you a feel of the way QB does things, bit like Sage Instant, the main prosesses are the same but not all the functions are present. Quick Start is also quite useable for small business accounts.

Happy Saturday

Bill

 



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Hi Bill,

cheers for the input.

Quickbooks simple start is on it's way to my PC even as we speak. (QuickBooksUKSimpleStartFLE2010.exe so definitely the UK version).

I figure that even if I don't adopt the full version it doesn't hurt to get a feel for their software. At the moment I've never used QB or even seen it in use.

I have now tried the VT accounts addon and agree with it producing a quite professional looking set of books.

I'm not going to allowed by the ACCA to go that far as a sellable service but I've already found that producing a properly formatted set of books helps show up anything that's not quite right in the VT+ entries. (Found a minor issue in the way that I had been recording share capital as it didn't appear in the proper accounts where it should have! All sorted now). So I will be purchasing VT accounts at the end of the trial period even though I won't be able to use it for profit (only for verification purposes).

Everything that I've done with VT has been based on making a set of books as I would expect them to look. I originally used the user guide which I found quite helpful but the one thing that I feel is missing is any form of training material leaving me thinking that whilst I can get the product to do as I want am I neccessarily doing it as was intended by the manufacturers?

Have you ever come accross training materials for VT transaction+ beyond the user guide?

Which thread were you thinking about with the big four comment? I've probably posted in it but can't for the life of me remember it... Must be posting too much methinks!

Happy Saturday to you too matey, anything planned? I've got an afternoon of watching the new Transformers movie ahead of me (and I don't even get Megan Fox as eye candy in this one!).

talk later,

Shaun.

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Shaun

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Hi Shaun

The Big 4 comment was just a follow on from the debate on bookkeepers vs accountants, that has been going on this week. Why would a window cleaner, earning a few hundred quid a week want to engage an accountant to do their bookkeeping. Same as why would he want to fork out on Sage, when there are simpler options available.

I am not aware of any further material other than the user guide (you've got enough books anyway!). VT does have it's quirks but it is aimed at those with a knowledge of double entry. Once you've used it a few times (I actually disliked it when I first started using it but it has grown on me to the point I would hate to be without it) it get intuative. With Final Accounts, it is also aimed at those with a reasonable understanding of Excel.

My only critisms of VT are that you can only have one input form open at any time. It is also quite easy, when doing a bank reconciliation to lose what you have done if you come out of the screen to check an entry, v annoying when you just spent half an hour on it.

What i would like to know more about, is how to customise the templates in VT Transaction. I am OK with basic format changes but I would like to change invoice formats haven't sussed it yet no

Anyways, enjoy Transformers.

Me? I'll be stuck in front of VT Transactions for the rest of the day, trying to fill in the gaps for a client.

Bill



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Hi,

despite the lack of a fixed asset register which I would have thought was pretty fundamental VT is winning this battle.

I've got enough Line 50 versions to give me the knowledge and confidence to handle clients who have their own version of Sage.

Nothing against Sage and maybe I'll adopt Sage fully (as well as VT) when I'm an accountancy practice rather than a bookkeeper but for now I really don't think that I can justify the sort of money that they want. If I get some larger entity type clients then I may review the decision but for now VT should be able to do everything that I need it to.

the free version of QB has a nice feel to it and if I were just running a business rather than attempting to service the businesses of others that one might well be the software that I used. At least having the freebie gives me a heads up should anyone need me to use it. (although suspect that I may have need a hotline to Amanda!).

As an aside I was going to buy 12pay for the payroll side of things but after playing with Moneysoft I've changed my mind and will be purchasing the licence for that when the trial period runs out.

As another aside as mentioned above, I really think that it's worth buying VT accounts rather than VT transaction+ as even if like me due to your supervisory bodies rules your not allowed to do the final accounts (a) VT transaction+ comes with VT Accounts and (b) to push the trial balance to a full set of accounts shows any issues much better than just looking at the balance sheet and P&L available in the VT+ version.

The way that I've been evaluating all software has been putting inputting my own companies details into the software then comparing the results against other packages and against the accounts as produced by my accountants.

The only major problem that I've found with VT besides the asset register (which I can work around) has been myself and with using that product a lot more I hope to be able to resolve the latter issue.

So, in answer to the original question the answer would seem to be no, I don't need sage. However I have come away from this excercise thinking that although I can run a business without owning it maybe I shouldn't as running a Sage shop does seem to help in selling one's business to clients... Even if you don't actually use Sage for their books!

When I feel it's justified I will move up to using both VT and Sage (keeping as many clients as possible on VT to keep licence fee's down). For the relaunch however I think that VT Accounts, VT Transaction+, Excel and Moneysoft Payroll will be the initial software combination adopted.

Hope that others have benefited from the connundrum posed by this thread.

kind regards,

Shaun.

P.S. Has anyone else noticed that you pick up a feel for new software much quicker when comparing several packages rather than attempting to learn just one package?

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Shaun

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Hi Shaun

Glad you managed to make a decision, much better than prolonged procrastination.

As for the asset register, i have looked at a couple of standalone packages but they never seem to deal with them the way that I want (mainly in terms of depreciations, WDA's), so i have been tinkering with Access, and Excel to try and create a bespoke Register. Early days yet though.

Edit: Just to add, it is interesting that you chose Moneysoft Payroll, over 12Pay. I use 12Pay and love it, so am interested why you have decided to go the Moneysoft route (Admitedly I have only heard good things about Moneysoft)

How was Transformers?

Bill



-- Edited by Wella on Sunday 3rd of July 2011 03:45:15 PM

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Hi Shaun and everyone else,

Sorry I missed this on Friday, had the day off at a Funeral and haven't been on the PC much this weekend. Well Shaun her goes my thoughts, I am a BIG QB fan as you know, trained on Sage a number of years ago and actually have Sage instants (3 versions) on my laptop as well as Excel and QB Pro 2008 and of course 12 Pay. QB for me was the cost, its cheaper and the Pro version will let you have upto 99 clients, the support is absolute c*%# and certainly not worth paying for. The Payroll is OK, and the support on Payroll is slightly better, but for me the cost of Payroll on QB wasn't worth it for the amount of clients I have so its back to 12 Pay for me for payroll which is great.
You have to get use to the QB interface, once you have master that its brilliant, the reports in my opinion are better than sage. It was a relative of mine who is an accountant who recommended QB to me they have used it for 15 years and love it. A local practice I have recently got in with only use QB and Excel and I got a very good client off them because I was a QB user. They don't even have a copy of Sage on any machine, thats tells a story in itself!

QB is more user friendly, I find that if you get some work from someone who has been recommended sage by their accountant, and they have tried to use sage, its normally in a right mess because they don't understand what goes on in sage.
Regarding QB simple start, I have used it at a clients and its OK, not as good as the QB Pro or Premier, as its not got as many reports and is design purely for the small business sho wants to have a dabble themselves. I run serval different LTD companies off my QB for various clients and I find it great. Of course its personal opinion at the end of the day.

HTH Shaun and let me know how you get on, any questions and I will have a go at answering them!

cheers


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Amanda



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Hi Bill,

I don't actually have anything against 12pay. I downloaded the trial versions of both 12pay and Moneysoft and the moneysoft software just felt more intuitive for me. For others it may be the other way around but I just really like the moneysoft user interface, that everything is so easy to find, and that it comes with a 115 page manual that I've just printed out. (I know, I know, yet more clutter for my shelves!).

If your happy with 12pay I don't think that there is any reason to change over to moneysoft. But coming fresh to this for me moneysoft just felt right.

I suppose that there is one minor point in that with 12pay CIS is an optional add on whereas with moneysoft it's in the base package.

Also, with the licencing despite it looking as though the pricing structures favour 12pay the two are actually about the same if you take CIS out of the equation but come down on the side of Moneysoft if you do need CIS and you don't handle clients with more than 100 employee's.

very much a case of six of one, half a dozen of the other and I don't have a strong asrguement for either contentder. I just preferred the feel of Moneysoft myself.

Transformers was surprisingly good. I certainly wasn't expecting to see buses full of corpses, dead bodies strewn everywhere and civilians being evaporated and their skulls rolling across the ground in the 12a film! At times it had a bit of a feel of one of the terminator movies about it.... Oh, and the real bad guys were NASA's accountants!

Unlike Avatar or Pirates of the Caribean 4 though I don't think that I could sit through it a second time but it was certainly good entertainment and kept my boy amused for a full saturday afternoon (its a very long film).

Talk later,

Shaun.



For anyone else reading this tread,

For the full list of features of Moneysoft see here : http://www.moneysoft.co.uk/pm_features.htm

And for 12pay here : http://www.12pay.co.uk/Features.aspx

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Shaun

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Cheers Amanda,

Sorry to hear about the reason that you haven't been around. I hope that it wasn't anyone too close. My commiserations for your loss.

So your another 12pay user. Beginning to think that I've opted for the wrong package here!

QB wins hands down on price and the fact that you always speak so highly of it was what really put it on my radar.

I'm hope not being rude here but I'm going to have to cut this message short as I've really got to go to bed. I'll finish this message off in the morning.

Talk then,

Shaun.




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Shaun

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Missed this thread as was in Snowdonia scaring myself rock climbing up the side of a jagged Welsh peak.

Good to be alive and back at my desk.....

Sounds like you have made a good decision Shaun, VT+ (useful tip about purchasing Accounts rather than VT+, going to do that myself), and Moneysoft payroll initially.

I use VT Cashbook (free) for very small clients to keep Sage client numbers down and Sage 50 for the rest. Using Sage Payroll for my first full year but may be moving away from that at Payroll Year End next year and transfer across to moneysoft then, will see how the numbers stack up.

On Sage pricing though I think there is some misconception from old pricing models - see this link http://www.sageadvanced.co.uk/new-professional-plus#costAns where you can play around with pricing.

If you use Moneysoft Payroll then you just need 'proffessional plus' which with 25 companies is £750+VAT. Increasing to 50 companies only adds £50. In due defference to our previous discussion I actually think the better value with Sage is found the more companies you have on the licence.

As Stuart said it suits us in this profession rather than business owners and as also said I guarantee once you start marketing for business you will find it an advantage to have biblical knowledge of the product. Well perhaps not biblical but an understanding definitely helps!

Have a good day.

Ken

 



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Hi Ken,

glad you survived your adventures in sunny(!) Wales.

Many thanks for the link. Those prices are considerably more reasonable than some of those that I have seen quoted previously.

That brings the price per client down to £16 per annum (provided that one can find 50 clients to put onto Sage). Of course that's going to be an annual cost so no three year product cycle to factor into the equation but at £16 I can live happily with that.

initial software will still be VT accounts and Moneysoft but in the long run for larger clients Sage is winning out over QB on the grounds that it is pretty much an industry standard and as you and Stuart state that has to help with marketing.

I can also see that having clients on Sage would add to the value of our client base if we came to sell it, and also would increase the ease of getting cover should a practice hit an emergency and need another accountant to take over our client base (too long the banker, always looking at the risk!... Bet you've got the old ATRA (Avoid, Transfer, Reduce, Accept) emblazened across the forefront of your mind as well).

Right, got to go. Thanks again for that link,

Will talk in a bit,

Shaun.

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Shaun

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Hi Shaun,

If your target market is local and you have IT skills to handle server, computer and software tantrums, then yep agree with Tony and Ken on VT. QB is an alternative to Sage line 50.

If your target market is national or you are going to outsource work to other bookkeepers or have minimal IT skills or intend to spend 6 months in UK and 6 months sunning it in Spain, then cloud system like ours is the solution.

Best to have a range of systems on hand.



Hi Ken,

"Missed this thread as was in Snowdonia scaring myself rock climbing up the side of a jagged Welsh peak.

Good to be alive and back at my desk....."


A very good friend of mine climbed Everest, he had to turn back 350m from the peak, He is not gutted because he didn't want to lose his toes and fingers. The training consumed his life for two years or so.

Dalbir

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From £20 plus Vat per client per annum; No more excuses for small business owners and their accountants in managing their books on spreadsheets.



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Hi Dalbir,

are you saying that there is something amiss with VT? It's seemed ok to me so far and I've used it on and off for about two years. (only just started with VT Accounts but have used VT+ before).

My target market for the bookkeeping side of the business is within 50 miles in any direction of home. The eventual plan is for this to evolve into an accountancy practice but need to get two years post qualification supervised under my belt first. Potentially that would give me a client base covering Birmingham, Coventry, Leicester, Wolverhampton, Walsall, Manchester, Nottingham, Derby and all the smaller towns around.

For the banking development (including IT development) side of the business it's actually international as I have clients in the Uk, Mainland Europe and the USA.

Goodness, six months in Spain... Can't think of anything I would like to do less. My other home is in Thailand and nowhere near anywhere that other westerners ever go (30km north of KhonKaen in the heart of mud hut territory... And there's still a Tesco's there!!!).

I can see the point in cloud offerings but it's not what I want for my business. (can you sense my head firmly stuck in the dirt on this one!). I do wish you the very best Dalbir but you're going to have to write my business off as a lost cause as I will always want my software and data to exist on my machines in my offices (and yes, there is offsite backup facilities).

On the Everest thing I saw a report in one of the Sundays about the boides littered accross it that are just left where they fall. There were pictures and some have been there for 50+ years but look as though they've just sat down for a rest! Spooky.

Talk later,

Shaun.

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Shaun

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The daft thing about this thread is it has almost convinced me to go down the Sage route. I know the main word in the thread is NEED but after looking at the link I may be tempted.

From what I understand the difference between 5 clients and 50 clients is £105. Even though I can't see me having 50 clients for a very long time - maybe ever, I think I'd still opt for that from the off. I mean, what can £105 buy you these days? (210 litres of milk from Farmfoods or 360 toilet rolls - also from Farmfoods).

This accountants club with Sage - is it only for members of accountancy bodies or would membership of the ICB allow me to join? I'm currently AICB although hoping this will be MICB in the next month or so.

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Must say i am a SAGE fan though having worked with it all my working life probably explains why.

When i worked in practice (which ended a couple of weeks ago after 15 years) i came across clients who used Qbooks but i wasnt a fan as i found it very difficult to navigate.

Going to set up in business in the next few weeks offering accounting and bookkeeping services and probably use the following

VT accounts for year end accounts

SAGE for bookkeeping for bigger jobs

Excel for smaller jobs

Also going to look into cashflow manager which was used in the last place i worked by one of our offices and the people there raved about it.

MarkS

 



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Mark Stewart CA

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Providing accounting, bookkeeping, payroll and tax services to small and medium sized businesses across Central Scotland and beyond.



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Hi Shaun

"are you saying that there is something amiss with VT? It's seemed ok to me so far and I've used it on and off for about two years. (only just started with VT Accounts but have used VT+ before)"

Nope but if your computer had no gremlins and you spent no time trying to re backup or get someone to rebuild your harddrive, you are one lucky person.


"I can see the point in cloud offerings but it's not what I want for my business. (can you sense my head firmly stuck in the dirt on this one!)."

Loads of people are running away from the cloud (its a free country, they are allowed too). My and other vendors representatives work in forums is to promote the debate, get people talking about the concept of cloud and hopefully lead to talking about our products and get feedback from folks on what is stopping them trying out cloud.

Remember Cloud systems (I am talking about us and our competitors too) have nowhere near the brand recognition compared to the likes of Sage, VT and QuickBooks (which roll off the tip of peoples tongues when talking about accounting software); so we also all have to promote ourselves and establish ourselves as the next generation of accounting software.


So yes, all of us cloud vendors and resellers will continue to contribute to forums, both promoting the debate and assisting folks on other business queries.

Is there an avatar of a cloud chasing Mutley out there?

Dalbir

Regarding Everest, my friend saw the body of the man with the green boots. A man this year climbing Everest spotted the body of one of his mates (couldnt get near his body, as it was too dangerous). His mate did make the summit but sadly passed away climbing down due to bad weather. May they and others there rest in peace.


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This has turned out to be a very good thread, love the fact my recent mountaineering exploits are now being compared to Everestwink

I am a full on mountain climbing nut and live for the outdoors, hence the name of my business being a play on one of the most dangerous hills of all, K2.

Anyway, listening to a Radio 4 interview recently (blown my street cred now) controversial multiple Everest summitor - Cathy O'Dowd - explained how she dealt with the many dead bodies you pass on the way to the summit. She treated them like suitcases, in that the bodies were just 'empty vessels' and the contents had passed onto a 'better place'.

Unfortunately as you are truly in the death zone there is no practical way of recovering the bodies, or indeed saving anyone but yourself once there, bar one or two heroic efforts.

As said, may they all rest in peace.

.....

@Peasie - They happily accepted me with just AICB membership status. They used to have a seperate division called 'bookkeepers club' but amalgamated it into AC so are well versed in what we do. They did not ask for proof of Practice Licence or qualifications. I came to the same conclusion as you when looking at pricing and going through what Shaun is now. The lay psychologist in me is having a field day with your choice of comparison products!

@Dalbir - I enjoy the debate around 'the cloud' and like the way you promote your business without selling it. Not many people know the difference. The debate has some way to run, but I'm afraid I too am with the 'keep it on my hard drive and back up to the cloud' camp.

@Shaun - I used to wake up in cold sweats with the amount of nemonics running through my head when working for a High Street bank.

@Mark - good luck in your new venture - sounds like a good game plan, would be interested to know what prompted the change?

 



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I spoke to sage last week asking about the prices between 25-50 and to upgrade it is only 125+vat, this can be done at any time in the membership year, though it has to be paid either over the phone or 30 day invoice and not added to DD.

The only downside is payroll and sage line has to be increased at the same time, but I do not think the price is to bad.

I have to admit I am sage camp. I have been a member of the accountants club for a while before I even joined ICB so you do NOT have to be an accountant, I did not downgrade to bookkeepers club when they started that.



-- Edited by Julies bookkeeping on Monday 4th of July 2011 10:05:03 PM

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If I'd have been offered £125 for jumping from 25 - 50 clients I would have changed from the Bookkeepers to the Accountants club. When I spoke to my accountant manager at the time of changeover they wanted me to pay over £2,000 which was a big jump from the £895 I'd paid previously.

Maybe all the commotion has caused a re-think or I was just unlucky.

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Hi everyone,

I'm finding this thread interesting because as you all know I am an avid QB user and have been for a while now. Anyhow starting to get in with a few local accounts practices and most of them are Sage, one infact won't use sage and uses QB. I know some lcoal accountants really don't like QB because clients have tried it and failed and not understood the product but I'm sure equally if they had tried Sage it would have been in the same mess, as non bookkeepers tend not to know how to use either products correctly!

So I am actually thinking of finding out the cost of Sage as in the last 6 months my business has esculated, I already have 3 separate versions of Sage Instants and don't want to go down the route of anymore on my laptop as I don't think you can have anymore than 3 (someone told me it could mess the other ones up, not sure how true that is). So I'm actually thinking that if my business is going to get alot bigger maybe I should think about Sage. Must admit don't really want to spend the money and I don't want their payroll as I have 12pay.

So I'm not too sure what to do either. I do still like QB and am really happy with it and I can't think of a reason to get rid of it. If I bought Sage50 I certainly wouldn't change my current clients that are on QB to Sage.

Any thoughts anyone?


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Hi Shaun,

Only just seen this thread.   As you like the interface of Moneysoft Payroll, then you might like Moneysoft Money Manager.   It a 1-off £80+VAT - No annual renewal. The add-on Final Accounts is also worth the £50.   The only drawback is that this 1-off fee business model has discouraged them from upgrading it regularly; so no cloud-computing or anything.   It'll export HTML and Standard Accounts Info to tax software but not PDF.

I like the keyboard shortcuts and standard entries.   Another feature I like is copy / paste where regular weekly or monthly transactions are very similar.  I sometimes start a file by copying all of last years entries and just double clicking on a variable amount here and there - say on a taxi driver or corner shop.  

You can delete easily so you don't end up with an audit trail of reversed entries (is that still unusual?).

kind regards,
Tim




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Hi Tim,

I take no cloud-computing as a good thing.... As a result I think Dalbir actually has a little effigy of me that he sticks pins in at night! lol

I really like VT but it does have a few minor irritations for me like a lack of a fixed asset register (which I work around) and setting up opening balances isn't always as straight forwards as it could be.

I'll download the money manager trial and give it a test drive putting through the same accounts that I did with VT and see how it compares.

Like 12pay vs Moneysoft Payroll manager it might all come down to what feels right.

Thanks for the pointer Tim. I've previously only looked at Moneysoft for their Payroll software.

kind regards,

Shaun.

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lol @ effigy

I think you'd still like to have VT for the final accounts templates, but I find Money Manager a nicer 'work-horse'. Also, i hope this might give people an economical way out of the Sage/Tas/QB price structures.

catch you again.
Tim

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Hi Tim,

thought that I would give Moneysoft a try but unfortunately it fell at the first hurdle and will not run with x64 bit systems.

I do have some machines still running XP but I don't want to buy any software that is restricted to older machines (got enough of that from Microsoft!).

To be honest though I'm now getting to the stage that I like VT+ so much that, despite it's small flaws, it is doubtful that I would have adopted moneysoft anyway but I was at least willing to give Moneysoft a chance to outshine it's competition.

Many thanks for the suggestion though,

kind regards,

Shaun.

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VT+ did that to me too! It just sort of grows on you.

 



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Hi Shaun and others

Can I just ask a quick question around VT Final Accounts................I'm persevering with Sage Accounts Production and find it to be the weak link in my Sage armoury. Interestingly it was a program bought by them and not initially developed in-house, but that is no excuse really as i find it disappointingly not joined up with the rest of my Sage suite.

Unlike the advert on the front it does not take me 'minutes' to import trial balance data and produce a set of accounts with lots and lots of fiddling about - Sage AP uses a completely different set of nominal codes to Sage 50 and tries to match, but not always successfuly. It is also difficult to just input manually a set of numbers straight into the program. I am only using on 'simple' businesses so don't need the extra bells and whistles it is packaged with - I prefer to leave the complicated stuff to Accountants - but I still need something for the smaller market I deal with.

I have used only VT cashbook and really like it as discussed above -though I couldn't work out how to export a trail balance into excel to then import into Sage AP - might only be available in VT+?? Anyway, back to the question, how easy is VT Final Accounts to use to produce a set of accounts.....can you input a trial balance manually or do you have to import a csv file?, and how many options are there to turn off/on the multitude of different disclosures - Sage has EVERY single different Accountancy body in there and it is a lengthy process in working through them.

...and remember I am not an Accountant (!!!) so need it to be simple

Cheers

Ken



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Ahhh shame that, Shaun. 

I'm pretty conservative when it comes to OS so had not encountered your 64 bit problem.  This could, in fact, be good news if it prompts Moneysoft to upgrade, as i've mentioned in a couple of recent posts.

Ken, I was going to say I will be entering my Money Manager data direct into VT at the trial balance stage so i can continue to use my favoured boookkeeping tool.   I'm not a dab-hand at it yet but didn't find it overly difficult.

The other thing I was going to say is that the examples of TB, P&L and BS on Moneysoft website are pretty ugly and what can be produced is (slightly) better represented under their headings of Asset and Tax.  

C'mon Moneysoft lets have an upgrade!  Maybe call it 2020.

best regards,
Tim



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Hi Ken,

it's so simple even I could do it!

As you know from other posts I'm not actually allowed to go all the way to producing the accounts for a client however, I find that producing them for myself double checks absolutely everything (and one day I will actually be able to admit to clients that I produce a full set of accounts and be paid to go this far!).

There are sevaral different charts of accounts that you can choose from including sole trader, partnership, limited company (small, medium and large), dormant companies and even customisable templates.

Once you've picked your template you can choose to link the VT accounts to a VT Transaction+ or VT cashbook file.

There are a few additional details that you need to add on the data page such as approval and signing dates, names of directors, name and address of accountants / auditors, proposed dividends, etc.

Then you import your VT Transaction+ file and you are given a page of options for your full set of accounts including :

Contents page
Company Information Sheet
Abreviated Accounts
Statement of Total recognised Gains and Losses
Statement of directors responsibilities
Cashflow statement
Company trading is trading statement
Company is dormant statement
Company has more than one director
Company has more than one shareholder

Then there is a whole selection list of the predefined reports for either ACCA or ICAEW that you can include.

Its all very simple and anything that doesn't make sense is well explained in the notes to the accounts.

Everything is nice and easy to track back through VT Transaction+. One slight shortfall is that everytime you make a change in VT Transaction+ you need to close the file before you reimport it into VT Accounts (which is an Excel Add On). However, the VT Accounts update process where you have made changes through VT Transaction+ is simply a matter of hitting a button and then all of the data is automatically updated for you without any fiddling around.

I know that the weakest link in VT is me. But given more practice I can see no reason why the whole process from data entry through to a set of accounts should not be a smooth trouble free affair. And certainly there is no having to reenter data in VT Accounts that one has already input in VT Transaction+ (that seems pretty shoddy with Sage).

Hope that this helps but feel free to ask follow up questions.

kind regards,

Shaun.

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Hi Tim,

as only 64 bit operating systems can address more than 4gb of Ram or make full use of multi core processors I think that the days of 32 bit systems are now numbered.

As many people swap out their machines every three to five years and new machines really need the extra processing power of higher ram and multi core processors so 64 bit systems will become the norm so I think that if Moneysoft do not update their product it's basically got a five year expiry date for new purchases although I'm sure that it will hang around on peoples legacy machines for a little longer than that.

The whole scenario really dictates that it either has to move forwards or die so fingers crossed you'll get your wish for an update in the not too far distant future. Lets just hope that they don't do a Microsoft on the product and make it look nicer at the cost of productivity. (Yes MS, if your reading this your developers deserve to burn in hell for what they did to Excel with the damned ribbon in 2007!!!!).

all the best,

Shaun.



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I'v never actually got round to linking the VT Transaction + file to the VT Final Accounts. I simply print out the trial balance in VT Transaction + and then manually enter the figures into the trial balance in Final Accounts. I probably will need to figure out how to do the linking when I get round to advertising and get clients. But as I'm still at the learning stage I look on it as practise anyway.

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Thanks Shaun, that all makes good sense.

Template formats sound similar to Sage AP - you choose the most recent as per sole trader etc then build your file from there, adding in the info you listed is relatively straightforward (though needed the helpdesk just to understand how to 'create a client' it doesn't just pull them through from Sage 50. It's just the 'mapping' as Sage calls it that is really bad as whether you are using Sage or otherwise for bookkeeping you need to 'map' across all your nominals into Sage AP format. A right pain!!

So how about importing a non VT file into VT Final Accounts - e.g. if I've used Sage 50 for the bookkeeping and need to produce a set of accounts from the year end balances? (not quite ready to leave Sage 50 yet other than cash only style businesses!)

Current Sage 50 allows export to many different file types - excel, csv, csv delimited, pdf, etc.........but not sure how VT FA would handle the Sage info....?

Cheers

Ken




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VT Final Accounts can import a trial balance in csv fotmat - the instructions on how to are in the instruction book which can be downloaded from their website to give you a better idea on how easy (or not) it is to do.

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Cheers Peasie, anybody else got any 'real life' experience as reading manuals etc don't always give the full picture. Thanks for your help though.

Front of Sage AP box says ' produce drfat and final accounts in minutes' - maybe you have to be ACCA or something because I certainly can't.



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Hi Ken,

you can certainly import a CSV file from Sage but it's not something that I've tried myself. Maybe Bill has more information on that?

I think however the best description as to what you can import is taken from the horses mouth. Here's the help page for trial balance entry methods. :

Introduction

You can either enter a trial balance and/or journals directly into Excel (manual entry), or you can import a trial balance automatically from the VT Transaction+ or VT Cash Book bookkeeping packages (linked entry). There are different templates for each type of method.

The manual entry method

In the manual entry method, there is a TB sheet in the template with current year and comparative columns where the numbers can be entered. This simple TB can also be turned into an extended trial balance by clicking on the Insert Trial Balance Adjustment Column button on the VT toolbar. A new row in the printable part of the accounts can be created and connected to a new row in the trial balance by clicking on the Insert Financial Row button. Simple formulas link the printable part of the accounts to the trial balance.

In the templates supplied, there is usually a one to one correspondence between the lines in the printable parts of the accounts and the lines in the TB sheet.

Since the March 2009 edition of VT Final Accounts, there are also buttons at the right-hand end of the VT toolbar for the following:

· importing an opening trial balance from another accounts package via a CSV file

· entering an adjustment or journal into the extended trial balance using a journal dialog

· displaying and printing various reports derived from the extended trial balance

The dialogs and reports used for the above features are actually the same ones found in VT Transaction+. You can edit any journal or amount by clicking on it with the right mouse button in a report, just as you can in VT Transaction+.

Apart from these features being more convenient to use, it is now practical to have a far larger number of journals than was previously possible in a manual entry workbook. You can now do some quite serious bookkeeping in a manual entry workbook whereas before you would have to have used VT Transaction+. The total number of journals is limited by the number of columns available in an Excel spreadsheet (256 in Excel 2003 or earlier; 16,384 in Excel 2007 or later). However, the journal and report dialogs may load noticeably more slowly if you have more than say 500 hundred journals.

If you have done a lot of bookkeeping in a manual entry workbook and then realise you need to use the standalone version of VT Transaction+, there is an option on the VT Bookkeeping menu in Excel to convert the extended trial balance to a VT Transaction+ file.

For more information, see The manual entry trial balance.


The linked entry method

In the linked entry method, an opening trial balance and any number of day to day transactions, journals and adjustments are stored in a VT Transaction+ or VT Cash Book bookkeeping file. The name and location of the file are stored in the Excel workbook. A snapshot of the current closing trial balance is also stored in a hidden part of the workbook. The transactions may have been entered during the course of the year into the standalone versions of VT Transaction+ or VT Cash Book by yourself or a client, or entered using the buttons at the right-hand end of the VT toolbar. You can use a combination of the two processes if you like. The two processes have the same effect and the transactions are stored in the same place. It is just a matter of convenience.

You can display or print various reports produced by VT Transaction+ by using the buttons at the right-hand end of the VT toolbar. There is no need to leave Excel and open the file in VT Transaction+. You can edit any transaction or amount by clicking on it with the right mouse button in a report.

Each account in VT Transaction+ is assigned to a printable line (known as a heading) in the workbook in Excel. Several accounts can be assigned to one heading. Any type of linked entry template in Excel can be linked to any chart of accounts in VT Transaction+. A dialog called the Trial Balance Analyser determines which heading each account is included under.

For more information, see The linked entry trial balance.

Deciding which entry method to use

The manual entry method is simpler; the linked entry method has more features. You should therefore use a manual entry workbook unless:

· Your bookkeeping data is already in a VT Transaction+ or VT Cash Book file

· You want to record transactions on a day to day basis throughout the year

· You have more than say 500 hundred transactions (250 for Excel 2003 or earlier)

· You want to enter transaction types other than a journal

· You want to import journals other than the opening trial balance from another source

· You want several accounts to be included in a single line in the printable part of the accounts

· You want to use VT to reconcile bank accounts

· You want to use VT to prepare VAT returns

· You want to maintain sales and purchase ledgers

· You want to use VT to issue invoices

Hope that the above helps,

kind regards,

Shaun.




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Shaun

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Darn it... Peasie's Twitter sized post beat me to it (lol).

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Shamus wrote:

Darn it... Peasie's Twitter sized post beat me to it (lol).


That wouldn't have fitted into a tweet. Too many characters. You're only allowed 140 - my post was about ~78 too many. I suppose I could have cheated and used something like "Twitlonger" but that defeats the purpose of Twitter.



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Hi Shaun

I have imported a number of different trial balances into VT. It is very easy.

Haven't actually imported Sage but there is a Sage format import option (it still needs to be in a recognised import format csv etc). There is an import analyser which will highlight any custom accounts that VT does not recognise, allowing it to be added. What it does not do is import the dates, which is a shame, as it would be really great to import a complete data set.

Again Peasie, it is really simple to import from VT+ into VT Final Accounts, and again, if you have created custom accounts, the analyser gives you the opportunity to add them into a standard set of accounts headings (For correct filing and ixbl integration). Saves all that faffing around manually re-entering the TB.

I haven't done it myself but I am pretty sure that you can make changes in VT Final Accounts, that update VT+ using the bookkeeping options, so there is no need to open VT+. If you use the VT+ button to open the Transactions account, you do need to update Final Accounts, using the Get Balances button. I Will need to confirm that VT+ is updated

Bill



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Hi Shaun,

Sounds like it's time to get out the Transaction+

Thanks for the info and if I find any work-round I will post it on another thread as I'm slightly off-topic here.

Cheers
Tim






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Just confirmed it!

If you make a transaction entry (Payment, receipt, journal, journal - trial balance style, reversing journal) in Final Accounts, using the bookkeeping buttons (either in menu, or the top ribbon), it does update the source file in VT+, without the need to open it, close it, and reimport data.

VT only gets better thumbsup.gif thumbsup.gif thumbsup.gif smile

Bill



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Cheers Bill,

although the help facility is excellent, because there's no training facility it really all comes down to a mixture of people posting what they can do so one knows that its possible combined with trial and error.

And on that matter. Don't suppose you've ever come accross a way of printing customer and supplier lists have you?

Its not something that really bothers me but I'm thinking here about people taking ICB/IAB exams who need to print those out.

It seems that one of the ways that Sage is retaining its centre stage position is because people have to learn it to pass the exams. If there was a work around so that people could take exams using VT and then go on to use VT once they had passed their exams I could see Sage having to reconsider it's pricing policy.... Mmm, or Sage buys VT... Actually, no, don't post that answer as the last thing that I want it Sage owning VT as we would just end up with a product at four times the price for a single client licence!

talk later,

Shaun.



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Shaun you cynic!

When I saw you pose this the other day I tried everything I could to produce a detailed supplier/ customer list but no joy.

I am no VBA, or macro expert but VT+ does give access to components, which may be adapted. Use the start menu and search for VTComponents.chm for help. You may make more sense of it than me. The components are also available to MS Access.

Edit: Just thought i would mention that the only reason I have "discovered" these quirks, is that I have used VT for over a year now on real life accounts, and have had to self learn by trial and error, so wouldn't call myself an expert

Bill

 



-- Edited by Wella on Monday 25th of July 2011 05:50:04 PM

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Shamus wrote:

Its not something that really bothers me but I'm thinking here about people taking ICB/IAB exams who need to print those out.


I'm sure I read either on the ICB forum or on here that some folks were just posting off their exam using VT and putting in a note saying "VT cannae dae it". They still passed the exam. This will turn out to be quite embarassing for me if it was yourself that made that posting.



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Hi Peasie,

nope, wasn't me.

Sylvia mentioned it in this thread :

http://www.book-keepers.org.uk/t44043302/software-for-icb-level-2-and-level-3-exams/

In this post James wasn't sure about whether people had previously used it :

http://bookkeepers.activeboard.com/t37372758/uk-bookkeeping/?page=1&sort=

Ah, found it... Syllabusriders post in the same thread has a letter from the ICB (see http://bookkeepers.activeboard.com/forum.spark?aBID=106474&p=3&topicID=37372758 post Dated Thu Aug 5 11:32 2010)

To quote :

Dear xxx

Thank you for your email

Our computerised examinations are non-software specific, so it does not matter which software you choose to use. Most candidates tend to use Sage as that in the market leader in the UK, however you are quite welcome to use VT Transactions if you prefer. We would however recommend that you do not use a trial version.

Kind regards,

xxx
Member Services
Institute of Certified Bookkeepers

However, this was never confirmed in the thread by James and as mentioned by both Bill and myself above, there are requirements of the ICB exam that cannot be replicated by VT so one assumes that one accepts losing the points allocation for those parts of the exam.

Personally I do feel that the ICB exams are geared towards Sage even if such was not intended. (the example answers all use Sage and the CD's used to contain Sage backups for you to restore in order to do the exam).

Well, that took some tracking down!

Shaun.

 



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If it's just the suppliers details and customers details, how many marks are you likely to lose - 2 maybe, 1 for each report. The pass mark is 85% so there is still plenty to play with. A gamble I suppose.

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