You may have received information about the new Sage50c. So I thought I would take a moment to explain what it is, what it’s not, and who might be a good candidate to use it.

Sage describes it as “Reliable desktop software with anytime, anywhere cloud access. Perfect for working with your accountant or while traveling — anywhere you have Internet access and Sage 50c installed.” The “c” in Sage 50c obviously stands for cloud, but you’re probably wondering how that works if it’s also desktop software. The key is in the last part of the quote, the part that reads ..”anywhere you have Internet access and Sage 50c installed.”

Sage 50c is the same desktop software you are using now, just with an added “cloud” twist. Sage 50c is not cloud based software, it is desktop software that uses the cloud to share your data with a user in another location and synchronize changes back to the original database via a service called Sage Drive. When you have a Sage 50c subscription you can choose to share your data with up to 5 remote users that you invite plus one accountant user. Then they can download and open your Sage 50 data right from the copy of Sage 50 that they have installed on their computer (it has to be the exact same version as yours). When they are done, their changes will be transferred back to the original data. You can even share multiple companies.

Sounds pretty good so far doesn’t it – access from anywhere you can get internet access without having to maintain a Terminal Server or VPN? Unfortunately there’s a serious limitation. Even though you can set up multiple remote users, you are limited to single user access. And not only are you limited to one remote user at a time, but the moment you share your company files via Sage Drive your company becomes single user until you stop sharing your data, regardless of how many user licenses you have. That single user can be a local user or a remote user but not both at the same time.

Once you turn off sharing you will go back to having multi-user access. But the next time you want to share your data over Sage Drive you’ll have to set up your remote users again in order to grant them access. A feature to pause and restart sharing is supposed to be in the works.

When your data is shared, even when no remote user is logged in, there are a few limitations on what you can do, although they won’t usually interfere with daily routines. The functions you can’t access while your company is shared are: data verification, restore backup, year-end wizard, purge wizard, maintain company information, archive data, and setup user security

Sage 50c has great potential, and I hope Sage can work past this critical limitation. Until then it seems that its usefulness is limited to single users who want evening or weekend access from home, or someone who doesn’t spend a lot of time in Sage 50 and wants to grant access to an outside accountant or bookkeeper.

You also need to be aware that Sage 50c is only available to those who are on a monthly or annual subscription, not those who have purchased a traditional Sage 50 license. When you purchase Sage 50 in the traditional manner you have what is referred to as a perpetual license. That means you can use the software as long as you want, even after it’s no longer supported. When you subscribe to Sage 50, if you choose not to renew your subscription, you will only be able to view your data. You won’t be able to enter anything new or edit existing data. Please contact me if you have any questions.