Saturday, March 24, 2012

Sage in 50 Words

In order to keep track of my business expenses for Coldspring Paddling Instruction, last fall I started using Sage Simply Accounting. I am not an accountant, and using the software has proved to be anything but simple for me. Sage does have some basic tutorials online, but they only get you so far. They have lots of advanced courses on offer, but it's hundreds of dollars for those courses and the software, and my wife, tell me that I don't have hundreds of dollars to spend on becoming my own accountant (rock and a hard place, I don't have hundreds of dollars to hire one either).

This week I received a newsletter from Sage. In it, they called for users to describe what the new name they are releasing for the software this year, Sage 50, means to them. Well, I was feeling a bit grumpy and felt I needed to respond. Here is that response.

My submission for Sage in 50 words:
The name Sage 50 means to me and my business that I am not nearly old enough to use or understand Sage 50. Or perhaps, that Sage 50 is only 50% value for my company, or that I’ll only make 50% use of it, or understand 50% of it.

Perhaps not quite what you were looking for, but it honestly reflects my impression of the new name. After spending last weekend working on my taxes and bookkeeping, I realize that Simply Accounting was not really designed for the home-based business that is too small to hire an accountant and where there is no background in accounting. Yes, it's more powerful, but at this point I'd prefer user friendliness. I'm a smart guy and I am not afraid to learn, but the training that Sage University offers is well out of my price range and I cannot consider it at this point (I cannot fork over hundreds of dollars of the money I'm not making this year to learn to keep better track of the money I'm losing as a start up). The free training included gave me a start, but really was too basic to be very much help. I should add that it's not [necessarily] the software that I need training in so much as accounting. Software I can figure out.

Bryan Sarauer

Think I'll win their contest? I'm not holding my breath.

On that note, I'm going to spend this morning going over the stuff I entered for 2011 and see how much was lost when I restored from a backup that wasn't as recent as it should have been (that was a computer failure, not a Sage software issue). 


  1. You should check out It's so easy for small businesses.

  2. Hey Brian

    I started using Simply accounting in 2001 and have been using it ever since. My accountant tells me to stick with what works so I have stuck with the 2003 version and it's still worthwhile, even though my accountant does not even have a copy of it anymore. Yes I use an accountant and they are way too much money but I could use Simply before I started with them.

    Accounting, like the Justice system, is designed to be just confusing enough to need professional help. Those that control the system would not benefit from making it any other way. All I can say is, what ever you choose to use, you have to learn some basic accounting and accounting terms. They don't necessarily make sense so don't try to reconcile that. Like mother nature and Revenue Canada, they make up their own rules and they don't always tell you what they are. Just learn the basics, ask friends and knowledgeable customers for some help and when you can, take a simple course. It will be worthwhile. Just think of what you tell paddling customers who think that they don't need paddling lessons or that they should be cheaper of free. Now apply that argument to accounting and listen to your own "Sage"advice.

    Good Luck
    Rick Wise

    1. Thanks for the great advice Rick! I know, I'll stick with it (for now at least), keep learning what I can, and it will get better. I was just a little frustrated last week after dealing with it. I thought I had everything pretty much done and backed up, then I learned my backup was not the most recent stuff and had to re-enter things. I also learned that I had entered a few things incorrectly and had to fix them up too. My mother-in-law has been a great help. Excellent comment about the pricing.