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The future once Sage 50 and QuickBooks desktop accounting software end

Support for Sage 50 will end on 30th September 2022, sparking consternation among some customers. Sage’s decision follows an earlier announcement from QuickBooks Desktop which will be discontinued in the UK from 1st February 2023.

Both Sage and QuickBooks offer online alternatives, but some customers are far from happy. Paul Sparkes, Commercial Director of iplicit, an accounting software developer explores what the end of Sage 50 and QuickBooks desktop accounting software means for you.

Paul said, “we’ve been getting calls from QuickBooks customers who say the online software can’t handle the same levels of stock as the desktop version. Most QuickBooks Desktop and Sage 50 users will be able to transition to either QuickBooks cloud or Xero, but hundreds of thousands of organisations will have financial complexities – such as multiple legal entities, consolidated reporting, and approval workflow requirements – that are beyond the entry-level capabilities of these basic offerings.”

Firms are discovering that they’ve outgrown their old entry-level software faster than expected because the goalposts have moved. Suddenly those firms need to upgrade to the next level of cloud accounting software.

Paul said, “they’re worried about how much that will cost – because there’s less choice in the mid-market. They fear they’ll have to replace QuickBooks with a much larger and more expensive accounting software set-up than they need because of the void in the middle ground.

“They’re also concerned about how long it’ll take to go live with this new system because higher-level accounting software is not renowned for being out-of-the-box plug ‘n’ play. The last thing they want is to spend months working up a new system – not with the economy in its present state.”

Anger over sunk costs

Some former Sage 50 customers are less than enamoured after being told they’ll now have to pay for cloud-based accounting software (a recurring monthly cost), just six months after investing in the desktop version (a one-off capital cost).

Paul said, “Sage 50 already had its share of leavers and it is predicted that this latest decision regarding the end of desktop support will merely serve to accelerate the flow of customers taking their business elsewhere. You won’t be surprised to learn that money is playing a role in the decision-making process.

“Developers don’t relish the idea of maintaining two sets of code, desktop, and cloud, ad infinitum. The faster they can migrate the customer base to cloud-only code, the lower the ongoing development costs will be.”

So that’s that. Cloud it is then...

Cloud software is ubiquitous, the norm, even for many former sceptics who were initially nervous about parking their app functionality and data on someone else’s servers.

Paul said, “will everyone suddenly stop using desktop accounting software? No, not everyone. There will always be that ever-shrinking minority of users that cling to desktops because they have bespoke or heavily customised accounting software.

“But here’s the thing, the reason they chose that bespoke/customised desktop software in the first place may now no longer exist. Cloud accounting software has evolved rapidly. It’s much more powerful than it used to be. And more intuitive too.

“So it’s entirely possible that a standard platform may now cater to all your needs, and be quick to implement. Even in the rarefied mid-market. On that basis, it makes sense to review your requirements and get some expert advice on the options.”

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