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What is the difference between Sage 50 and Sage 50 Cloud?

Sage accounting software has long been the UKs most popular accounting solutions for small and medium sized businesses. A few years ago, Sage introduced Sage 50C also called Sage 50 Cloud Accounts software which has caused some confusion particularly with existing Sage 50 Accounts users who were contemplating upgrading their Sage software to Sage 50C, but didn’t want to compromise on the functionality and features of their accounting software by moving to something that ran online in a web browser. Fortunately for these customers, that isn’t the case, Sage 50C is still the same familiar desktop application it has always been, but with a few “Cloudy” features that warrant the name change.

To explain the differences between Sage 50 and Sage 50 Cloud Accounts software I’ll start by covering what is the same.

Why Sage 50 Accounts and Sage 50Cloud Accounts are mostly the same

The fundamental Sage software in both these versions is the same. Sage 50 and 50C are the same accounting application that let small and medium businesses create quotes, invoices, manage cash flow, stock valuations, VAT returns (and yes you can be MTD compliant with Sage 50 Accounts). Both need to run on a desktop PC, on Windows (although see here how it can be run on a Mac). Both work best when data is shared on the same network, and there are excellent ways that both can be used by remote workers which we will come on to later.

How Sage 50 Accounts and Sage 50Cloud Accounts are different

The “Cloud” in Sage 50 Cloud version refers to a number of cloud-based services that Sage can now hook in to.

Sage Drive – Sage Remote Data Access

Working remotely or sharing data with accountants has always been a challenge for Sage software users. Sage Remote Data Access aka Sage Drive seeks to resolve this by providing a mechanism where the Sage data is sync’d up to cloud-based servers from a master PC, then sync’d back to authorised PCs at the accountants or remote workers.

Microsoft 365 Integration

Another cloud feature is a number of integrations with MS Office 365. The most popular are:

Using OneDrive in Microsoft 365 Sage users can back up their Sage data to OneDrive. It’s important to mention that OneDrive is not a proper backup solution so customers should investigate ways of also backing up OneDrive using 3rd party cloud backup.

The Sage Contact app can provide customer data to Microsoft Outlook in 365.

The Sage Capture app in MS Office 365 can photograph receipts from your phone for syncing into Microsoft 365 and the photo attached from within Sage 50C. This app can also be used to approve (or not) expenses

Sage 50 Cloud also includes easy integration with your bank to download information into your Account reconciliation window.

Is upgrading to the Sage 50 Cloud version the only way I can run Sage remotely?

Many businesses have people working remotely; this may be working from home, or at different branches, or travelling representatives visiting customers. Where these employees need to run Sage as part of their work it is vital to have a reliable way for them to access Sage remotely.

One method is to use Sage remote data access (Sage Drive) but that does require moving to Sage 50 Cloud which is a subscription licence rather than a perpetual one. Also, Sage Remote Data Access doesn’t suit everyone, and has been problematic for many customers, especially those with more than a couple of users.

The most popular and reliable method of running both Sage 50 Accounts and Sage 50 Cloud Accounts is to use a hosted remote desktop service. Hosting Sage on a Desktop as a Service solution.

A hosted Sage solution allows you to run any version of Sage 50 in real time, as well as other Sage products like Sage Payroll or Sage 200. You can also run other applications including Sage add-ons, or completely unrelated applications. Microsoft Office can be installed on the remote desktop as well to give you full and easy integration across all your software applications.

The main advantage a hosted Sage accounting solution has over using Remote Data Access is that all the data resides on the cloud based servers, nothing runs on the user’s PCs. There is no complicated syncing of customer data up and down the internet from one PC to another so no risk of data corruption. If the internet blips out for a few minutes the Sage application running on the hosted desktop will just sit there waiting till you reconnect, and then carry on as if nothing had happened. There’s also no running round upgrading every PC to the same patch version of Sage 50 every time there’s an update, before Sage Drive will work.

What are the advantages of hosted Sage?

The ability to easily, securely, and reliably work in real time from anywhere in the world over an internet connection. It’s not complicated, the hosting provider will install Sage, copy over your data from the latest backup, and show you how to connect. That’s it, very simple.

Users can access Sage on any device. You can run Sage on a Mac for example without having to mess around with compromise solutions like Bootcamp or Parallels. Sage will just look and feel like any other application on the Mac, just that it’s running remotely. It will also work on Android and iOS devices.

The platform is a fully manages service. So, yes, you’re renting a cloud-based Windows server to run Sage, but that doesn’t mean you need an IT department or IT support to look after it. Everything is managed by the provider, that includes:

Backing up the server and data

Managing antivirus and Windows updates

Dealing with system alerts and any technical issues that might crop up.

Hosted Sage is also very cost effective, especially compared with running Sage using a local (on-premise) server. Did you know that a local server will cost over £2,000 a year in electricity alone? Hosted Sage for 5 people will be a couple of hundred pounds less than this a year; and that’s before you even take into account how much you would spend on licences, IT support, upgrades, backups, antivirus and the rest.

Can I see hosted Sage in action before committing?

Yes, at Your Office Anywhere we’ve been hosting Sage since the mid 2000’s, we have a demo server if potential customers want to try it out. We also don’t lock customers in to contracts, just rolling monthly, so if you signed up for our hosted Sage solution and for some reason didn’t get on with it then you could cancel at any time without penalty.

To find out more speak with one of our technical sales consultants by completing the form below, or calling 01282 500318 or simply email sales@yourofficeanywhere.co.uk

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