One of our clients, MD Autocare, have used Sage Instant accounts for a few year to do their company accounts. They are our first clients to install the new Sage in the Cloud functionality (Sage Drive) and are the subject of this case study.
MD Autocare are a garage and workshop based in Stoke Hammond, Buckinghamshire. They service and maintain cars and other vehicles and offer a pick up and drop off service for MOTs and services in the local area.
Md Autocare first became a customer on July 2012 when they started using Sage Instant Accounts on site to manage their basic accounting needs, passing the backups to their accountant to do their higher level bookkeeping. Over the first couple of years of using Sage we were able help the office manager to gradually use more and more features of Sage Instant accounts to streamline her job and avoid needless duplication.
Invoicing was moved from Microsoft word into the accounts package, and we were able to edit the invoice designs to help the garage pass on the important information like vehicle advisories to customers all on the same document and then easily email to customers.
Sage in the Cloud
Due to a change in staff in 2015, the new bookkeeper at MD Autocare needed to be able to access the accounts to work from home. They also needed to have the software installed on the office machine too, giving the flexibility of where the bookkeeping could be done.
The installation was not completely straightforward. there are always some teething problems with setting up a new system. But with our support we were able to upgrade the software on the work machine, and then create the mirrored copy of their data on the Sage Cloud servers. There are a number of passwords that need to be created to make this possible, and one lesson learned early on was to make a careful note of the email address and password used for each different part of the system. The encryption password is particularly important as this cannot be recovered if forgotten.
Once the copy of the MD Autocare accounts were securely loaded to the cloud, the bookkeeper was able to install a local copy of Sage on their laptop at home and link their software to the MD Autocare data. There are a couple of pitfalls with this. If you are a bookkeeper for more than one company you can only link to one set of data on your local machine, or use tools to fool the system into thinking you only have one installation. Also if you live in an area with slow internet connection you can sometimes be left waiting for a while for your data to connect with the cloud and send updates.
If the remote machine does not log out of Sage cleanly at the end of a session you can also be locked out of your main accounts machine if you have a single user license. To solve this at the moment you need to log back in at the remote site and close down the software cleanly, but you are a bit stuck if you have already sat at your master machine before you realise.
The owner of the business can now also install the free Sage Tracker app on their phone in order to keep track of invoicing and outstanding monies, enabling him to keep a closer eye on his business.
MD Autocare’s Perspective
Jo says – “I have been a user of Sage for 17 years and for the last 3 months I have been working for a local garage. They previously used Sage Instant Accounts in the office, at home on a laptop, plus the previous book-keeper also used it on her computer at home. There was a lot of backing up and restoring being made to various machines which was less than ideal. On more than one occasion data was lost by restoring over work that had not been backed up.
Sage then introduced the Sage Drive which seemed perfect. It allowed me to work in the office, then come home and continuing working from home without having to risk any data loss.
Its a great system, with the benefits far outweighing any issues.”
Sage in the cloud can be complicated to set up, and might not be advisable in areas with a slow internet connection, but it can provide excellent flexibility for suitable clients and prevents the need for emailing backups between machines and the possibility for errors that can give. Just call for an informal chat to see if it might work for your business.