The QR code on the Simply Accounting box can be scanned in-store by smartphone for comparison shopping.

Sage Simply Accounting 2012 aims to simplify payroll functions

Sporting features to make payroll functions easier for its SMB users, Simply Accounting 2012 hit the shelves on Tuesday, the last version of the product line to be released by Sage Group Plc under the well-known branded title.

Sage worked for two years on thepayroll feature changes included in the 2012 version after surveyingits customers on what they needed, says Alistair Ellis, senior productmanager at Sage’s Simply Accounting unit in Vancouver.

“It’s all focused on the feedback we’re getting from our customers andour partners to make it easier for them to do their payroll,” Ellissays. “It was a huge effort as far as the research and developmentwent.”

Many of the upgrades to the payroll part of Simply Accounting 2012 areto the visual layout. Users now see only the details they needon-screen, with inactive details hidden to cut down on visual clutterand make use of the system more efficient, Ellis says.

“We’ve made it a lot easier to enter overtime amounts and salaryamounts…and just really cleaned up the screen so it’s a lot easier tofollow,” Ellis says.

 The software also gives users the ability to instantly switchbetween paying one employee to paying multiple employees. For payrolladvances, the software automatically calculates and withholds amountsthat must be withheld to meet Canada Revenue Agency requirements.

Additional changes include updated tracking of Quebec income benefits,new tools to manage Workers Compensation Board rates and provincial andfederal tax credits for employees, and more options for recordingremittance payments made by cash, cheque, credit card or directdeposit.

According to Sage, its Simply Accounting line is still the onlybilingual accounting software on the marketthat supports multicurrency invoicing. That means users can print offinvoices in either French or English regardless of which languageversion they’re using, Ellis says.

“It’s very unique in the sense that our competitors offer either aFrench program or an English program,” Ellis says. “In Canada that’sdefinitely an asset where there’s two official languages. Everybodythinks it’s (only in demand in) Quebec but it’s also New Brunswick.”

SMBs can now get an overallsnapshot of the state of their business with Simply AccountingIntelligence, which gives them a detailed project income statementreport they can compare over time.
The 2012 version is the last that will be released under the Simply Accounting banner as Sage moves to rebrand all of its software lines under new product line titles bearing the name Sage and a number starting next year, with higher numbers reflecting more features or greater functionality.

Simply Accounting 2012 is available at the following Canadian suggestedretail prices:  Simply Accounting First Step ($79.99), SimplyAccounting Pro ($199.99 without payroll or $449.99 with payroll),Simply Accounting Premium for two users ($399.99 or $649.99 includingpayroll). Simply Accounting Enterprise is available for direct purchasefrom Sage for $2,699.99 for a five-user license or $4,199.99 for a10-user license.

The 2012 suite comes with a QR code on the box that listsextra product information when it’s scanned with a smartphone,something that may come in handy for shoppers with so many competingaccounting software suites on the market.

According to IDC figures listed on Sage’s Web site, UK-based Sage isthe world’s top SMB vendor of enterprise resource planning (ERP)systems with 21 per cent of global sales. That puts it ahead ofMicrosoft (12 per cent), Oracle (nine per cent) and Intuit (six percent).

Many of Sage’s rivals, such as SAP, have already taken their accountingsuites into the cloud. Although Sage announced plans last month to enter the cloud later this autumn,the company told itbusiness.ca on Tuesday that it will announce moredetails of its cloud strategy “in the nextmonth or so.”  

Christine WongChristineWong is a Staff Writer at ITBusiness.ca. Follow her on Twitter,and join in the conversation on the IT BusinessFacebook Page.

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