Sage 50 2017 (and its companion 2017c) will appear in the “Check for Updates” window within the existing version of Sage 50, on or about Tuesday, July 12, 2016, for all users who have an active Sage BusinessCare plan.
Sage will no longer send download links and activation keys to existing Sage 50 users, choosing instead to distribute all new releases “in application”, whether service release or completely new version.
As with all new releases, this one must be installed first on the server, and then on all workstations that have Sage 50 installed now. Once the new version is installed on the server, workstations will be unable to connect to Sage 50 until they are also upgraded with the new release.
As always, we counsel clients to refrain from immediately installing an upgrade until 3-4 weeks following the initial release. We suggest this both because you should take the time to carefully plan for the upgrade (staff downtime, changes to server install paths, new hardware, etc.) and because software companies have – occasionally -been known to release “buggy” versions prematurely (No, really??!!!). These usually get fixed with a supplemental release within a day or two of discovery.
So, what is new in Sage 50 2017? Actually, not too much as far as features visible to most typical users. The biggest change is the ability to process credit card, debit card, and ACH (electronic bank transfer) transactions directly in Sage 50, and review your merchant account transactions from within the new Payment Center dashboard in Sage 50.
This capability requires the user to contract with Sage Payment Solutions as the user’s merchant account processing service. Sage Payment Solutions (SPS) is a very price-competitive merchant account service offering a range of processing services focused on the customer’s specific needs. If you are not now accepting credit cards in payment for products and services, or you are interested in exploring an alternative to the service you use now, we can help you obtain an account analysis and price quote for the SPS service.
Users of Sage Intelligence reporting will be pleased to learn that, effective with the 2017 release, Sage Intelligence Reporting will be activated automatically, without needing to enter a separate activation key (as has been the case in the past). Some steps have also been taken with the 2017 release to further streamline the overall Sage 50 installation process, and simplify the application of product updates released from time to time.
The WebSync Wizard embedded in Sage 50, used for Payroll Direct Deposit and various other synchronization tasks, has been “modernized” such that it no longer requires certain browser-based COM technology (which Microsoft no longer supports). The WebSync app now uses native components embedded in the Sage 50 code itself, minimizing problems with conflicting browser applications.
In our view, unless you make extensive use of credit card transactions for customer payments, this release is not a “must have” for most users. We believe it is important to stay current with your accounting software, however, and with the Sage BusinessCare plan in place there is little or no cost to doing so (depending on who does the installation). Plan your upgrade, however, at a time when it will be least disruptive to your daily operations.
If you need help deploying this latest release of Sage 50, give us a call at 610-941-2116 so we can put you on our schedule for onsite installation services. And if you are at all interested in exploring a new merchant account for processing credit card transactions, do give us a call. We will put you in touch with the right people to bundle credit card processing with your Sage 50 software.