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Sage 50 or Sage 200 – Which is right for you?

What are the differences between Sage 50 and Sage 200 and which one is right for you?

When you’re starting to realise that Sage 50 is no longer keeping up with your demands, it can be quite difficult to work out what your business needs next.
Entrepreneur Business Man and Woman Team Meeting

Many people aren’t aware of their need for an ERP system — or in some cases what an ERP system even is. ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning and is a platform that brings all your business functions into a single platform — giving you cross-departmental collaboration, ease of data analysis and real-time reporting. This can result in improved efficiencies across your entire organisation, from managing stock levels accurately to reducing administrative burden.

What is Sage 50?

Sage 50 is a package of accounting software tools that’s designed to help small businesses take control of their finances. It’s a popular choice with these smaller businesses as it’s a more affordable option and is easy to use. In fact, its simple and friendly user-interface makes it easy for even non accountants to understand and get the most out of it. Sage 50 features all the tools many businesses will need, including cash flow and invoicing, VAT management and real-time in-depth reporting.

What is Sage 200?

For more medium-sized businesses who may have outgrown the capabilities of Sage 50, Sage also offers a more advanced suite of software – Sage 200. It offers all of the features of Sage 50 but adds additional capabilities, especially around stock management, customisability and more advanced reporting. It also adds extra capabilities around handling foreign transactions will allow multiple team members to work on the same transaction without any issues.

Sage 50 vs Sage 200 comparison

So how do you know whether you need an ERP platform such as Sage 200, or whether an accounts system such as Sage 50 will do the job? To help you decide, we’ve identified 5 key differences between Sage 50 and Sage 200. If you can ‘tick’ 3 out of the 5 (or more) then there is a good chance that Sage 200 is the right choice for you.

01 – Technology and Finance

  • Sage 50 is built on legacy database technology. As such, there are limitations to the volume of data and the number of users that can realistically use the product without causing problems. Sage 50 slows down, over time, as you keep constantly adding more transactional data. Proper housekeeping can help but, in comparison, Sage 200 is built upon the SQL database platform that does not have such limitations.
  • Sage 50 uses account locking. This means that you can’t have two users working with the same account at the same time, such as one raising an order for an account whilst someone else processes a return. Sage 200, however, uses transactional locking instead so two or more employees can work on the same transaction.
  • Sage 50 is not a proper accounting system. Of course, it is accounting software, but it works on transaction dates, meaning reports are run from one date to another date. Sage 200 uses formal accounting periods (12 or 13 in a financial year typically). Most accountants recognise that as ‘proper accounting’.
  • Sage 50 does not have a financially integrated stock system. Its products feature is independent to the balance sheet. Therefore, in Sage 50 you have to manually process opening and closing stock journals. In Sage 200, the stock is integrated so the balance sheet increases or decreases based on receipts and sales. Plus, it posts Cost of Sale transactions to the nominal – ‘proper accounting’.
  • Sage 50 only allows for like-for-like foreign currency trading (euros with euros etc.). This means you have to invoice in one currency and pay and receive in the same currency. Sage 200 does it properly – you can pay a dollar invoice with any currency you like, and it will post the bank charges and commissions for the exchange.


02 – Reporting Structure

  • Sage 50 is sold per company licence, but Sage 200 comes with unlimited companies. This means that Sage 200 handles consolidation accounting better.
  • Sage 200 has a three-tier nominal structure – nominal account, cost centre, and department.
  • Sage 200 has business intelligence reporting and links to Microsoft Power BI and Microsoft Flow.


03 – Stock Control – The biggest difference

  • Sage 50 can only deal with single location stock. Sage 200 has multiple warehouses and multiple locations within those warehouses.
  • Sage 200 can deem a warehouse to be saleable or non-saleable – aka quarantine or reserved stock (such as goods in transit).
  • Sage 50 only works on FIFO cost accounting with an average cost reporting figure. Sage 200 can be set (per product group) for FIFO, Standard Cost, Average Cost, or Actual Costing.
  • Sage 200 can handle batch and serial number traceability – something Sage 50 cannot do.
  • Sage 200 has the ability to provide for manufacturing, but Sage 50 no longer does (directly from Sage).
  • Sage 200 deals with landed costs.
  • Sage 200 has perpetual inventory – aka cyclical stock take.


04 – Going Beyond Core Accounts

Sage 200 add-on modules are exactly that. Modules. So, you don’t run two systems that talk to each other, it’s all seen as one.

        1. Manufacturing
        2. Warehousing, Distribution, and Barcoding
        3. Hire
        4. Service Management
        5. CRM
        6. Remote authorisation (invoices, purchase orders, expenses, timesheets, holidays)


05 – Development and Customisation

Sage 50 can be developed but the cost of development time would be more than the price of the product. Sage 200 can be much more easily tweak and customised to fit exactly your business’ specific needs.

However, if you were just looking through our list, nodding away as you see all the different ways that your current system might be lacking, it’s probably time to make the upgrade. Sage 200 is the perfect fit for a growing SME that needs the more powerful tools on offer to maximise its potential.

Why choose Thinc?

We're an award-winning Sage partner

We’re a longstanding Sage platinum partner, Sage UK’s “number 1 partner for service excellence” and have helped over 400 businesses successfully scale their businesses through Sage 200. Our extensive knowledge of Sage accounting software, the Sage 200 professional modules, as well as the extensive range of Sage 200 add ons allows us to take a consultative approach and only ever recommend what is right for your business. Having worked with Sage 200 since it was first introduced to the market, we’ve seen the product evolve as the needs of SMEs have progressed.

We don't do 'one-size-fits-all'

Your business is completely unique, so we know that you need a completely unique solution to match it. That’s why we take the time to properly get to know your business, the problems you face and the way you work. That means we can create a tailored solution that exactly fits your needs and can grow with your business.

We're here to help

Our friendly team of experts are on hand to fix whatever IT problems you’ve got with clear communication and long-lasting solutions. We work closely with you and act as an extension of your team, not just another outsourced IT team – so you get complete collaboration instead of quick fixes.

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