April 2, 2014 is the official release date for Sage 50 2015 (formerly Peachtree). So based my briefing with Sage as well as a few days of hands-on time with the new version, here is my my roundup of what’s new and changed in Sage 50 2015.

PRODUCT LINEUP CHANGES

  • The Complete edition is being retired and all Complete users will be upgraded to Sage 50 Premium when they install version 2015.
  • Construction, Distribution, Manufacturing, and Nonprofit editions of Sage 50 Premium are also being retired. These users will be upgraded to Sage 50 Quantum when they install version 2015.
  • More user options will be added. Instead of just 1,3, or 5 user options, Sage 50 Premium customers will now be able to choose the exact number of users they need: 1, 2, 3, 4,or 5 users. Quantum users will have those same options, as well as the 10, 15, 20, 30,  and 40 user options that were already available.
  • New Monthly Subscription option is being offered for Business Care in addition to the current annual plan. Personally, I recommend staying with the annual plan. As I mentioned last month, the monthly plan is a true subscription model. If you cancel your subscription, your data will become view-only. The annual plan still gives you a perpetual license to use the software. In addition to that, even though the monthly payment option is marketed as more affordable, it is in fact more expensive. I’d like to give a special thanks to my 2nd and 3rd grade teachers who equipped me with the skills needed to figure out the total cost of 12 monthly payments.

COMPATIBILITY UPDATES

  • Microsoft Office 2013 is now supported. Support for Microsoft Office 2003 has been discontinued.
  • Windows server 2012 is now supported.
  • Windows XP is no longer supported. This makes sense since Microsoft will be ending support for XP on April 8th.

DISCONTINUED FEATURES

  • CRYSTAL REPORTS – Previously, Premium and Quantum included a full copy of Crystal Reports for designing reports and a run-time version was included for viewing reports written in Crystal. Since users now have access to Sage 50 Intelligence Reporting, Crystal Reports is no longer included and it has been removed from the Reports menu. If you are using Crystal Reports, don’t panic. Your current version of Crystal will continue to work, you will just have to run your reports from Crystal instead of from Sage 50.
  • UPS INTEGRATION – The integration with UPS has been discontinued. Sage is recommending ShipRush or ShipGear for users who need UPS or FedEx integration. Both of them would be worth a look for those of you who never used the built-in UPS integration because of its lack of features.
  • Sage 50 FAS Tax Service – Like the UPS integration, this will affect very few users, but I’m including it here in the interest of giving a complete listing of what is new and changed in Sage 50 2015. For users that need this functionality Sage is recommending Sage Fixed Assets – Lite Depreciation for Sage 50.

NEW FEATURES

  • Sage 50 Intelligence Reporting interface and usability updates – In the Sage 50 Intelligence Reporting Report Manager, the old menus and buttons have been replaced with a more modern, easy to read ribbon, in the style of Microsoft Office.

Did you expect that new feature list to be longer? If you look in the help, it also lists “live chat support” as a new feature. But since that was available in version 2014 with one of the service releases, I don’t count that as a new feature in 2015. And the “What’s new in 2015” pop-up window lists “streamlined payment processing” as a new feature. This is a great add-on service that allows you to process credit cards within Sage 50 or take mobile payments. If you take credit cards, you should call me to talk about using this service. But it’s not a new feature; it’s an add-on service that has been around for some time.

When Sage announced their plan to require all payroll users to purchase annual upgrades in the form of a Business Care plan, like most of you I was concerned that forced upgrades would take away Sage’s incentive to improve the product by adding new features with each release. When version 2014 came out, it had many small but useful new features and that helped relieve my fears. I thought it would take years of forced annual renewals to make Sage feel complacent enough and secure enough in your  acceptance of Business Care to release a new version without new features. But here I am looking at version 2015 and, unless there is something Sage hasn’t told us, it has no new functionality.

Because I am so heavily invested in Sage 50, I get very worked up about things like this. But my job is to take care of all of you. So if you’re happy, I’m happy. If you’re not happy, let me know. If you don’t want Sage to continue in this direction, you need to tell them. Pascal Houllion is the CEO of Sage North America. His email is pascal.houillon@sage.com. Connie Certusi is Executive Vice President and General Manager, Small Business Solutions at Sage North America (the division responsible for Sage 50). Her email is connie.certusi@sage.com. Sage also has a presence on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter for those of you who are active on those platforms.

 

5/20/2014 UPDATE TO ORIGINAL POST

Based on the information I had received from Sage, I told you that there would be no 2015 versions of Sage 50 Complete or Sage 50 Premium for Construction, Distribution, or Manufacturing. Since what has happened is slightly different that what Sage described in my conference call with them I wanted to take a minute to clear up any confusion.

The versions listed above do exist in release 2015, but only as upgrades for current users of those editions who are already on Business Care. Since Business Care provides you with all upgrades released during the time of your subscription, your initial 2015 upgrade will be of the same edition as you are/were currently using (Complete, Distribution, etc.) Later you will be moved up to the next level: Complete users will move up to Premium and vertical market users will move up to Quantum. They have been renewing Business Care Plans for affected users at grandfathered rates (ie. at Complete or Premium rates). Future renewals will be at the normal price for the version you are on then (ie Premium or Quantum, respectively.)

[Facebook] [LinkedIn] [StumbleUpon] [Twitter]