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Post Info TOPIC: Sage v. spreadsheets


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Sage v. spreadsheets


Hello, I would be very grateful for some advice, please. My boss wants me to take on the accountancy work. I have several years book-keeping experience and produce the month-end reports from Sage 50, bank accounts, HMRC, etc but I am not an accountant so the accountancy firm he uses are providing training in their methods. They use very detailed and complicated spreadsheets for month-end reports, but I see this as duplication of what Sage 50 can produce, and with room for human error. Data is taken from the P&L and BS to be added to the spreadsheets. Are Sage reports not adequate or am I missing something? Thank you.



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R A Lauchland


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Depends what you use sage for, bookkeeping or management accounts. Coding can be very different in each scenario. Sounds like the former and the Accountants are then adjusting things outwith the software (often the case). But it depends what they do, who knows. Two points (1) Should you be taking this on if you cannot do the Accountancy (or Management Accountancy) work, what does your ethics and professional body think of this? It seems to go against ethics in a big way and frankly is storing up big problems for the future. The Accountants can hand hold and train as much as they like but it will not cover any shortfall in your knowledge, which is HUGE, that occurs in the future, once your boss has sacked them,which sounds like he is doing just to get a cheaper deal by bringing it in house, dangerous. You should refuse the work. (2) for the MI,which is slightly less dangerous, although could also be potentially an issue if they are relying on said reports to make financial decisions, but why not put this question to the people who know, rather than having us guess with very little to go on.

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Thanks for your reply. The Accountants are not being sacked and I don't have a professional body. I'm co-operating with the wishes of the company's owner, my employer, so didn't think that ethics were an issue. He calls the shots. If his plans are not realistic we will deal with that. I've discussed the MA methods with a couple of independent accountants, both very helpful and also baffled by this reliance on spreadsheets so I am looking at alternatives. Maybe it makes more sense to ask my questions of accountants instead of other bookkeepers

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R A Lauchland


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Im a Chartered Accountant!

It appears then that you are not being asked to do the year end Accounts as you seemed to indicate in your first post, instead just the MI.

If the existing Accountants can view your sage plus training you I cannot think of a logical reason why are you not just asking them? Information from the horses mouth is more appropriate than asking for an opinion with vague input.

Or are you not asking because there is a suggestion that they are doing something underhand or charging excessively for the MI production?

But how can anyone realistically comment on what they are producing without seeing the MI pack or the sage set up or knowing more information? If they are producing information via excel the inference is that sage is not holding all the information and/or information is not being inputted in the required manner for meaningful MI production.

Professional ethics still apply, whether self employed and an employee but without a professional body there is no-one to pull you up for being in breach.



-- Edited by Zoorbing on Wednesday 20th of October 2021 10:31:10 PM

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Hi Zoorbing,

all a matter of horses for courses.

Sage is fine for keeping the data but to provide meaningful information and what if type analysis I would choose Excel every time.

Must admit that I don't come accros Sage too much nowadays. All seems to be bespoke packages with relational databases sat behind them but no matter what the data source Excel is always the weapon of choice... Might not be what the management of an organisation think that they are using as so often they fall for the salesmans bullsh*t without asking the people who need to use the software but on the ground floor its always Excel (ok, using Power Query and Power BI which in reality also uses the Excel Engine).

The one weakness of Excel in my experience is that everyone thinks that they know how to use it and confuse recording Macro's as writing VBA code. They also use the wrong formula's and then blame Excel for performance issues (just say no to conditional formatting and Vlookups which are both performance nightmares in anything but thee simplest workbooks).

Shaun.



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Shaun

Responses are not meant as a substitute for professional advice. Answers are intended as outline only the advice of a qualified professional with access to all relevant information should be sought before acting on any response given.



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Scotty wrote:

... They use very detailed and complicated spreadsheets for month-end reports, but I see this as duplication of what Sage 50 can produce, and with room for human error. Data is taken from the P&L and BS to be added to the spreadsheets. Are Sage reports not adequate or am I missing something? Thank you.


Hi Rosalind,

Everyone will have their own views on the adequacy of Sage reports. Perhaps the large number of users doing just what you're being asked to do gives an answer to the question without being specific about the reason why. Human error is a concern. I often see manual exercises being conducted monthly/quarterly that require the user to "keep their wits about them" to avoid problems. It may be that that's what you feel about the exercises before you.

Perhaps it may be helpful to consider some of the automated options for bespoke reporting pack production that are available in the marketplace? Many offer highly bespoke reporting capabilities. It depends on your requirements. As well as our own Onion Reporting Software you could trial, for free, offerings by Hexner Ltd (Proud Numbers), Roveel, Pendragon Systems, Advantage Services and Analyser Accounting. It's always better to try products with your own data and speak to the helpdesk if you have any questions about how best to meet your requirements.

Kind regards,



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Ian

Ian Brown FCA
Onion Reporting Software Ltd

www.onionrs.co.uk

Sage accounts in Excel. No set-up necessary. Free trial.

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