Category: Desktop


Yesterday finally saw the release of the much-anticipated Service Pack 2 for Sage 200 Extra 2015.

One of the key items as part of this is the support of Windows 10 operating system.

There are lots of fixes and some additions as detailed in this document released with the update –

Reports

There are some New Reports to be aware of which are not installed automatically as well as Layout updates too. Check these out with your BP. The introduction of the SOP Profitability reports which include Returns and Credit Notes will be music to some people’s ears, although if you needed this previously you have probably had the report written already.

There also some nice Stock reports, offering different views of Sales by Customer, Product Group and Monthly Sales etc.

Summary Screens

My particular favourite addition in this service pack is the added drill down functionality to the Summary screens. Previously a great visual aid (and Sage Sales Persons dream!) they were not altogether complete from a ‘day to day’ point of view. However we are now able to drill all the way down to the transactional items which makes them much more beneficial as an analysis tool.

Sales Summary Outstanding Debt (Totals)

Sales Summary Outstanding Debt (Totals)

 

Sales Summary Outstanding Debt (Drill down to Customers)

Sales Summary Outstanding Debt (Drill down to Customers)

 

Sales Summary Outstanding Debt (Drill down to Transactions)

Sales Summary Outstanding Debt (Drill down to Transactions)

Installation

Service Pack 2 can be applied to sites running either the Base version of Sage 200 Extra 2015 (all SP1 updates are included) or sites with Sage 200 Extra 2015 Service Pack 1.

As with Service Pack 1 there are two installation files:

  • Sage200v2015SP2ClientPrerequisites.exe
  • Sage200v2015SP2.msp

On client machines, both files must be run in the order listed above.

Sage200v2015SP2ClientPrerequisites.exe checks the client files to ensure the correct registry keys are present on the machine.

Sage 200v2015SP2.msp updates Sage 200 Extra.

NB. On a server, you only need to install the Sage 200v2015SP2.msp file.

As ever this Sage 200 Extra 2015 SP2 Installation and Release Notes document gives all the information needed to install the service pack.

 

Its been billed as the most important update in years and I have to say, I do not think users will be disappointed. Here are some details of the new features within Sage 200 2015 which was officially released at the end of February.

Look and Feel
Whilst the basis is familiar to current Sage 200 users, the screens and menus have changed in appearance giving a more modern design. Many of the changes are designed to make it easier for users to navigate Sage 200 and find/access what they want.

Look 1

Homepage

List View

List View

Look 3

Redesigned Process Maps

The 2015 design is much more intuitive.  A really nice feature is the frequently accessed page where the system remembers the functions you have used the most, so there is a quick way of getting back to them. What’s even more impressive is it remembers by day. So if you access something on a Friday, the next Friday it will be in your recently accessed.

Frequently used

Frequently used

It is now possible to use a search function on the menu allowing you to search for a menu item and the menu is filtered by items containing the word searched.

Menu Search

Menu Search

Custom colour settings can be applied and you are able to make each dataset/company you work in a different colour to make it more obvious which one you are working in.

Homepage and Favourites still exist whilst being more easily managed. Favourites can be added with one click, and can be arranged in folders, easily renamed and re-ordered.

Fixed Assets
After years without one  a simple Fixed Asset register is now included within the Financials modules for Sage 200. This is a welcomed introduction allowing you to set up, depreciate, dispose and delete assets.

Excel Reporting
Excel Reporting gives you more choice over how you can produce the reports you want. The important thing to note here, and I am not sure how I feel about it, is that some Excel reports are provided free while others are available if you subscribe to Excel Reporting. You are able to preview reports within the program to see what you would get in subscription packages.

Excel reports

Excel reports

Excel Reporting 2

Summery Screens
New Graphical Workspaces give a great visual representation of certain KPI’s. The Graphs also allow a drill down function to gain more specific answers.

Summaries 1 Summaries 2

Summaries 3

Other Improvements/changes

  • The Logon speed has significantly increased and you will struggle to find time to make a coffee before it has opened. Joking aside this is a major improvement.
  • There is a completely new ‘list view’ that does away with the older-style list views of the previous Sage 200 versions. These new list views include improved searching and filtering methods, and mixes the function of workspaces with the easier to read layout of the old list view.
    • List views can be opened up in a separate form/window. With a scroll bar!
    • Totals have been added to quickly show the cumulative values of selected records.
  • Workspaces also run more quickly, and also make better use of screen space.
  • Enquiry Screens have returned (I know they could be added to the menu manually in 2013) so the normal forms can be accessed of the menus as per 2011.
  • Project Accounting now includes the much requested Work in Progress (WIP) function which accrues for part-delivered project work. This is automatically posted to and reversed from the balance sheet as projects complete. This means costs can be posted to the same period as revenue to ensure true project profitability is shown in financial reports.
  • Increased narrative length
  • Ability to edit manual nominal journals so that you can amend references or narrative.
  • Functionality to properly account for the VAT legislation changes for early settlement discount. If you deal with a lot of settlement discounts you must upgrade for this alone.
  • Support for SQL 2014 is now included.
  • Ideas Hub this gives an easier route to offering Sage ideas of what changes you would like to see. It also gives you the opportunity to join a Sage 200 community, and hopefully this will offer an increased source of information and communication for users of Sage 200 (hopefully not turning people away from Talking Sage 200!!!!).

I am nothing but positive about Sage 200 2015. A number of the key issues have been rectified and it is definitely the most updated and improved release since the move to a SQL database.

I realised that my posts and responses to comments have slowed dramatically over the last few months or so.

This is due in part to a new job role keeping me busy (which isn’t a complaint) and also a touch of writers block.

I hope to be inspired over the next few weeks by the imminent release of Sage 200 2013.

We have been waiting in anticipation for the release of Sage 200 2013 for what seems like an age now and we are not far way.

2013 will be the first Sage 200 release for two years and there will be lots of things to get our heads around with the new features and differing deployment options such as cloud-based subscription.

Some features you should look out for are :-

Two choices of deployment – on premise or in the cloud

Fully integrated Cashflow facility and Reporting (I cheered too!)

New ‘web’ user allowing access to key information from any device

All new web workspaces for all modules allowing dashboard views inside and outside the system!

Integration with the latest Microsoft developments such as Office 365, Server 2012, and the cloud solution will run on Microsoft’s Azure platform.

Although Sage have not ‘officially’ announced a release date for Sage 200 2013, it is expected to be available by the beginning of June. There will be 3 types of licensing available including the Cloud offering (Sage 200 Online):

Sage 200 2013 (On premise perpetual)
Sage 200 2013 (On premise subscription)
Sage 200 Online

I am excited to share some of the new features that Sage have advised we can expect. I am yet to see the product but am itching to get my hands on it.

Sage 200 Workspaces
One of the major changes for Sage 200 2013 is the way that you will be able to view and manipulate data. As predicted when workspaces were first introduced, new workspaces will replace the existing enquiry screens and list views that you will currently be familiar with.

New Workspaces:

  • Will be available via the desktop or through the web client which gives you access to your data at anytime, anywhere, using devices running a web browser (including tablets and mobile).
  • Will allow you to configure the default views and enquiry screens to show the information that you require.
  • Can be launched from a menu item.
  • Allow you to navigate from workspace to workspace, using a selected item. E.g. select a customer account on one workspace and navigate to another workspace that shows the transactions for the selected customer.
  • Can be configured by the user to meet their individual needs. Users can:
    • Add and remove data fields
    • Find the required records using quick filters for each column of displayed data.
    • Filter and sort information using advanced filters that can be saved and shared with other users.
    • Print the data displayed on the workspace.
    • Export the data displayed to an Excel spreadsheet.
    • Launch related forms to perform tasks (desktop only).
    • Print related reports.

Importing nominal cost centres and departments

Import routines for Cost centres and Departments will be available alongside your other Financials data. The new Import Cost Centres option, allows you to create new cost centres in the Nominal Ledger. Likewise, the Import Department Codes allows you to create new departments into the Nominal Ledger. This is going to be a huge benefit when setting up new systems.

Using the same conventions as previous imports, you can set up an XML or CSV file with your new import details. A report is also generated to show you which records have been imported successfully and which have failed.

Free Text Credit Notes

In Sage 200 2013 will be the ability to raise Free Text Credit Notes within the Sales Ledger.

Entered in the same way as you would enter a free text invoice, you can use this new feature to enter free text credit notes directly onto a customer’s account.

Short Term Cash Projection

A new Short Term Cash Projection enquiry will help you forecast the amount of cash you will have in your bank accounts after your outstanding transactions have been paid.

This will allow you to view the forecast balance, and the list of outstanding transactions, within a date range that you can specify. You can create accurate forecasts by choosing specific bank accounts and transactions to be included in the forecast totals. You can even add transactions that you know are coming but have not been entered into your Sage 200 system.

You can then print a Cash Projection report, or export the information to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.

Future Years Budgets and Cash Flow Reports

These new features will allow you to enter budget values for your nominal accounts for up to five future years, as well as design your own financial statement layouts, based on this budget data.

For the Future Years Budgets feature, a new tab has been added to the Nominal Accounts records so that you can enter your budget values for up to five years in the future. The Maintain Accounting Periods screen has also been amended to display the end dates and status of each period for up to five years in the future.

The import of nominal accounts has also been changed to allow you to import new future budget values.

In addition, the Cash Flow Report allows you to project your cash flow from the present year, to five years in the future, based on your Sage 200 budgets. Values are displayed, per accounting period, and allow you to see:

  • opening balances
  • values for each income heading
  • total cash receipts value
  • the value for each expenditure heading
  • total cash paid out
  • the closing balance

The new report uses the actual balances for those nominal accounts that have been nominated as bank accounts in the cash flow layout.

All the above information was received from Sage.

The above new features are just a taste of what to expect. If the above is anything to go by then Sage 200 2013 is going to be a massive improvement and will prove to be a great asset to businesses!

Sage 200 List views

A common bug bear with the Sage 200 list views is that there is no scroll bar. This is basically a bug that has existed since they were introduced, but there is a simple work around.

Right click on the list view, select Find, select Ok (no need to enter any criteria), Ok the message that appears and there is now a scroll bar.

This will need to be done every time you go to a new list view, however you obviously only need do it if you need the scroll bar functionality. It does help when selecting multiple records.

I have also attached a document about navigating the desktop that gives some good tips about making the best use of the options that are available. For example creating filters on a list view, and using wild cards in filters.

Talking Sage 200 – Navigating the Desktop