I’ve heard from many Sage 50 users confused by the calls they get from Sage sales reps trying to get them to switch to Sage 50c. The first thing you need to know is that you do NOT have to switch if you don’t want to. Here’s my summary of the differences so you can decide if you should switch to Sage 50c or stay with your traditional Sage 50. Also make sure you get the details of their offer fully explained. Sometime they do offer discounts for switching to Sage 50c. But in many cases all they are actually offering is a refund of the unused portion of your existing Business Care plan.

  • Subscription vs Perpetual License – Before we even talk about features, you should know that Sage 50c is strictly a subscription based license. If you choose to stop renewing Sage 50c, your data will become read only. Or to put it another way, you’ll be able to look at your data but you won’t be able to enter or edit anything. If you stop renewing traditional Sage 50, only the payroll stops working. Everything else can be used indefinitely.
  • Price: You would think locking into a subscription would get you a better price, but, in most cases, traditional plan renewals cost less than Sage 50c renewals. (Of course Sage could change prices at any time). Why would anyone pay more to be locked into a subscription? Well, Sage has started adding extra features to Sage 50c. (Update: In mid-2017 Sage changed pricing so that the renewal costs are the same for subscription and renewal.)
  • Sage 50c Exclusive Features:
    – Access your data remotely with Sage Drive: Whether you want to access Sage 50 from home or give access to your accountant, you can share your data on Sage drive. Then another user you’ve granted access to, can open your company file using Sage 50c installed on their computer. Changes they make will be synchronized back to the original data. When this was first introduced, sharing your data made your company single user until you stopped sharing, no matter how many Sage 50 user licenses you have. The 2017.1 update that recently released has improved on that somewhat by allowing other users to have read-only access while the data is shared. Sage says that by summer 2017 they’ll have another update that will allow true multi-user access while the data is shared. If they can make good on that, clearly this feature will become much more useful than it is now.
    – Cloud backup using Microsoft Office 365 Business Premium: If you have a MS Office 365 Business Premium subscription you’ll be able to use it to make online backups of your Sage 50 data. Sage says additional Sage 50c features will be rolled out based on the MS Office 365 Business Premium integration, but no feature list or timeline has been published as of yet.
    – Online and mobile invoicing and payments: Through an integration with Sage One (Sage’s entry level cloud accounting product), Sage 50c users can create and email invoices out of Sage One on a computer or the mobile app. Invoices emailed from Sage One have a Pay Now link so customers can pay online using PayPal or, if you have an SPS merchant account, you can give them the option of paying by credit/debit card. Unpaid invoices can be downloaded from Sage One into Sage 50c. But online payments must be manually entered into Sage 50c.

At this time (12/22/2016), those are the differences between Sage 50 and Sage 50c. So should you switch to Sage 50c? If the added features of Sage 50c are features you’ve been looking for, and you don’t mind having a subscription style license, then Sage 50c is probably the right choice for you. If those features don’t matter to you, or you insist on a perpetual license, then stick with your traditional plan and don’t let Sage push you into something you don’t want.

 

UPDATES TO LIST OF SAGE 50c FEATURES NOT AVAILABLE IN TRADITIONAL SAGE 50:

 

New Sage 50c Exclusive Features Added in v2017.2 (April 2017):

Enhanced Sage One Mobile Invoicing: Online invoicing through integration with Sage One was introduced in version 2017.1; you can read more about that here. Three significant improvements have been made to online/mobile invoicing. (1) Your Sage 50 sales taxes are automatically uploaded to Sage One. (2) Your Sage 50 inventory and service items are automatically uploaded to Sage One. (3) Receipts (from customers who use the click-to-pay option) are automatically downloaded into Sage 50.

Sage Contact app for Microsoft Office 365 Business Premium: The Office 365 connection wizard will sync customer and vendor contact information between your Sage 50 company and Office 365 (requires 365 Business Premium). In addition to being able to having basic contact information, the Sage Contact app will allow you to see the last 5 invoices and last 5 receipts/payments within the last 90 days. Contact information changed in the Sage Contact app will sync back to your Sage 50c data. You can schedule the sync to run every 4, 12, or 24 hours as well as initiating it manually.

Improved Office 365 Cloud Backup: This is another feature that was added in 2017.1 but has been now been improved. You no longer have to run Sage 50 as administrator for the Office 365 Cloud Backup to work, and behind the scenes improvements were made to help with backup of large companies. Lastly, the interface for email notification has been updated.

Added v2018 (July 2017):

  • Sage Capture – This new app allows you to snap a picture of a receipt and enter the details for the transaction on your iPhone/iPad (sorry, no Android version yet). Later the transactions can be imported into Sage 50. The photo will added to the transaction as an attachment and will be stored in your OneDrive account. This feature requires MS-Office 365 Business Premium.
  • Sage Intelligence Reporting Cloud – This takes advantage of the new Office 365 integration by making Sage Intelligence Reporting financial reports available from your Microsoft Office 365 Business Premium dashboard. Several balance sheet and income statement formats are included and can be customized, or reports can be built from scratch. These reports can be generated in a web page (HTML) or exported to the online or desktop versions of Excel.
  • Office 365 User Roles & Permissions – Five new security groups have been added in Office 365 to give you more detailed control of how Office 365 users can access the Sage 50 integrations, such as Sage Contact, Sage Capture, and Sage Intelligence.
  • AP Automation – Sage 50 will be able to integrate with Beanworks, a service that provides accounts payable automation. It can automate the process of entering/coding invoices, approving invoices, and making electronic payments.

Added v2018.1 (November 2017):

  • Sage Bank Feeds – allows you to easily and securely establish an online connection with your bank to download activity from your bank into the Account Reconciliation window in Sage 50. This provides an automated alternative to manually downloading an .OFX or .QFX file from your bank and importing it into the account reconciliation window. Like the manual import process, bank feeds simplify the process of matching up the transactions in Sage 50 with the transactions from your bank and and ensuring that all transactions on your bank statement are accounted for in Sage 50.
  • Sage Dashboard and Office 365 enhancements – Sage Dashboard is a new app that makes graphs and charts for Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, and Revenues/Expenses available in Office 365 so you can view the dashboard anywhere you have internet access (requires both Sage50C and Microsoft Office 365).
  • Cloud & Mobile Navigation Dashboard – Sage 50 now includes a new Cloud & Mobility navigation that provides access MS-Office 365, Sage Drive, and Sage One integration.
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