We know the popularity of Sage 50 within UK businesses but what happens when Sage 50 starts to crack under the pressure of growth and complexity?
Sage 200 is the natural upgrade route for Sage 50 users who feel they require a system which is able to manage more flexible or complex business processes and functionality. As a Sage 200 consultant I work with clients who have upgraded from Sage 50 and believe these are the main benefits of upgrading your system to 200.
Multiple Locations per Stock Item
Sage 200 allows for stock items to be stored in multiple locations, giving you the ability to specify the exact bin location for specific stock items. With these in place it is much easier to track actual and free stock quantities for each location.
Sage 50 does not allow for multiple locations, meaning you can only control stock from one location. If you are using Sage 50 currently and already know you want to bring all of your stock control into one software solution then Sage 200 is the natural progression. This will bring your finance and stock control into one central location making it simple for all finance, purchasing, sales, warehouse and management staff to locate all transactions and orders.
Sage 200 provides more analysis and flexibility for your nominal structure. With a three tier nominal structure, greater analysis is available for management reporting. Sage 200 also provides up to 20 analysis codes, much more advanced than Sage 50’s fields.
When a company begins to require more analysis capability than what Sage 50 can offer, Sage 200 in the majority of cases is the right fit. Additionally, Sage 200 provides transactional analysis which is very beneficial for short term transaction analysis such as marketing campaigns. These codes are removable from the system at any point which prevents long lists of unused redundant analysis descriptions, a feature you will not find in Sage 50.
Batch & Serial Number Capability
Sage 200 allows for batch and serial numbers, giving traceability of those items. Batch functionality enables users to easily track batch numbers and to whom a batch has been sold to, something Sage 50 does not offer. An example of where batches have been particularly useful for companies is when recalling a batch due to faulty parts.
Sage 200 includes a picking list functionality making it much easier for warehouse or users dealing with stock to receive and print out picking lists from a sales user who may have placed the order. Picking lists provide details for the location and bin of a stock item making it quick and easy for staff to identify and locate exactly where the stock is. Having the picking list functionality within Sage 200 means that users who may be in the warehouse can have access to the picking list feature, reflecting true workflow whilst also keeping traceability within Sage 200.
Sage 50 does not include the picking list functionality meaning the process is much more manual and time consuming.
Back to Back Ordering
Sage 200 allows for back to back ordering allowing you to automatically raise a purchase order from sales orders, saving time and making the ordering process much simpler. Sage 50 does not allow for back to back ordering as the sales ledger and purchase ledger are completely separate and do not link in any way. For companies who would benefit from back to back ordering, running Sage 50 can make this task much more time consuming.
Purchase Order Authorisation
Sage 200 allows for purchase order authorisation so all purchase orders are able to pass through a role based hierarchy before being authorised and processed. You are also able to authorise purchase orders remotely via self service, meaning users are not restricted to the office to receive any notifications. Sage 200 allows you to set up a super authoriser which will mean regardless of the authorisation rules set up the super authoriser is able to authorise all purchase orders.
Sage 50 does not allow for purchase order authorisation, unfortunately giving users with purchase order access rights the freedom to raise an order of any value. I have spoken with many FDs who stress that keeping to budget is extremely important to them and the company. They also believe that being able to authorise purchase orders through a hierarchy would hugely help keep things under control and remove room for error.
Advanced Multiple Currency and Inter account transfers
Sage 200 uses triangulation of currencies; if your bank account is in GBP and a payment or receipt is in a different currency, Sage 200 has the capability to calculate the conversion rate for the transaction. For companies who are receiving or paying more in different currencies this feature is a real time saver. The platform also allows for transfers to be made between different company bank accounts using different currencies. Sage 50 is much more restricted and only allows for bank transfers to be made between company bank accounts of the same currency.
Increased Accounting Periods
Sage 200 allows you to have up to 20 accounting periods where as Sage 50 is restricted for up to 12 accounting periods. I have spoken to companies where having this flexibility in their accounts system is very important as they don’t have the ‘typical’ accounting structure. For these companies it holds such importance that I have found the majority have moved to Sage 200 solely for this feature.
An added benefit here too is that accounting periods can be open, closed and reopened. You can also in advance open or close periods for future financial years. This is not possible in Sage 50 and there is no ‘getting around it’ within the software.
Sage 200 allows you to create unlimited alternative suppliers for a stock item, highly beneficial for companies who deal with a high number of suppliers. It is a great feature making it quick and easy to see who to order from, should your preferred supplier not be available for an urgent order or simply be out of stock. Sage 50 only allows you to select one supplier per stock item.
Customer & Supplier Order Priority
Sage 200 allows you to rate your customers and suppliers for order priority. This means customers who require their goods within a short period of time or your best customers who you may want to ensure receive excellent service tracks this easily and differentiates between the different levels of priorities for orders.
Integrated Business Intelligence (BI)
Sage 200 includes a free Business Intelligence Module. Sage 50 and 200 give you standard reports but you may want to really analyse trends and patterns within your business. More importantly, understand why things happen or have happened. With Sage 200 BI, you can analyse the data quickly by using dashboards, charts or simply analysing the figures. This information can be shared around the company or relevant departments and is automatically updated on a frequent basis. For some, it is worth seeing Sage 200 for the power of its BI module. Having such a tool and information at your fingertips can really keep you innovative, current and make the company become much more proactive, keeping the company ahead of competitors.
*Please note, Sage 200 has now been rebranded as Sage 200cloud (January 2018)