In early February, Sage announced a new release of Sage 50 Accounting in the US. Along with a few minor bug fixes, this new release introduced a new offshoot of Sage 50 that I’m very, very excited about. This new release introduced Sage 50c, so that’s what I’m here to talk about.
Sage 50 Is Now in the Cloud (Sort of)
Sage isn’t really saying what the “c” stands for in Sage 50c, but to me it stands for “cloud.” Perhaps Sage isn’t officially linking the “c” to the cloud because Sage 50c isn’t necessarily fully in the cloud. It’s actually more of a hybrid between a traditional desktop solution and the anywhere access available through the cloud.
From the Sage 50c website, here’s how they’re describing it:
(Side note here: I just love that they are recognizing us accountants. Thank you, Sage!)
So basically you get all the familiarity of using a desktop-based product along with anytime, anywhere access to data that the cloud provides. Sweet!
This “hybrid” offering speaks to Sage’s commitment made at Sage Summit in July 2015, which I wrote about in my review of Sage Summit: Sage will not force us to migrate.
In other words, along with new cloud-based solutions that they are offering, Sage will continue to support and improve upon their current desktop solutions. They are leaving in OUR hands, both accountants and our clients, the decision regarding when it makes sense to migrate to the cloud. Also, so far, I find that cloud products haven’t had the depth of desktop products, so it’s not necessarily the right time for everyone to jump into the cloud. For these reasons, I applaud their decision to take it slow and not force us.
Here’s How it Works Now
The best way to explain exactly how Sage 50c works is through an example. As some of you may know, I not only have my own accounting firm (shameless plug for Shaynaco LLC!), but I also own a few other businesses. One of these businesses is a set of apartments.
I love everything about this business except one thing — it’s over an hour away! I’m a small town girl and one of the advantages of having an accounting firm in a small town is being able to visit with my clients on a regular basis. The face-to-face interaction is what I love most about what I do. With this set of apartments being over an hour away, I not only don’t get to visit as often as I like, but, logistically speaking, keeping up with the books is pretty clunky.
To get access to their books, I have the property manager send me Sage 50 backups, which I then restore at my office. From there, I can get into all of the accounting work that needs to be done. When I’m finished, I send the Sage 50 backup back to the property manager and they do the same thing by restoring on their desktop.
Now, all the property manager does on her end is the input of deposits into Sage 50, so this process is sooooo much work for the level of “database sharing” we need to do. It also gets confusing at times. She may go on and work in the system while I’m making adjustments on my end. So then I send a backup for her to restore and all of her work is lost. It can be a nightmare. Any level of confusion when it comes to the exactness necessary for financial reporting is never a good thing!
Sage 50c to the Rescue!
With Sage 50c, many of these manual processes are now gone due to one key feature: Sage Drive.
Sage Drive is Sage’s answer to storing your database in the cloud. This means that you can, in essence, access data from anywhere you have Sage 50 installed. In other words, my property manager can share data with me in real-time (and vice versa). No more transferring of data or delays in getting databases updated. Nice!
Curious how it works? It’s super easy. First, you need to be sure that all of your licenses of Sage 50 are updated to the latest version (that would be version 2016.2, which gives you access to Sage 50c). In the example I’m using, that would mean both my office desktop as well as the license of Sage 50 at the apartments would now be Sage 50c.
Then, from my office license of Sage 50 Accountant Edition, I activate Sage Drive.
Once Sage Drive is activated, all of the Sage 50c accounting data is synced between my desktop and the secure cloud servers housed by Sage (i.e., Sage Drive). One thing to also keep in mind is that there’s no charge for Sage Drive, regardless of how much space you use or how many companies you access through Sage 50c. Plus, all of the data is backed up, which is a nice little bonus feature.
Once sharing of the Sage 50 database is in place, I can then give access to the database that is now in the Sage Drive to the apartment property manager’s license of Sage 50c.
Now, we can both access the same database where she inputs deposits, and I can go in and not only see these deposits in close to real time, but I can access the other financials within Sage 50 too! All this without having to backup, transfer, and then restore database files!