Sage – Instant 2000 V6 review

popular accounts package
Photo of Sage – Instant 2000 V6
£85 + VAT

From the number of folk out there using one Sage product or another, you’d think that Sage was the only player in the budget accounting field. It isn’t, but at the last count the company had over 2 million users world-wide and more than 3,200 employees, which gives it a big influence.

At the bottom of the Sage range is Instant 2000, with an enviable upgrade path through Line 50 and multi-user functionality, to Line 100 and full multi-currency, multi-module accounting. Getting people interested at the start could mean big business for Sage later on, so Instant is considered an important door opener.

Sage Instant includes all the tools you are likely to need when starting a small business – the software can handle credit accounts for customers and suppliers, posting manually prepared invoices and credit notes direct. Credit control features mean you can add late payment charges to an account based on an interest rate table – legislation-wise this is now OK for a small business (under 50 employees) trading with a larger concern (over 50 employees).

You can also send statements and ‘overdue’ letters, of course, and you can quickly get at on-screen displays for aged balances, monthly sales and even charts for a more graphical picture. All direct banking, petty cash and credit card activity goes through the cashbook, along with receipts from customers and payments to suppliers – remittance advice slips can be produced to accompany supplier payments. Bank reconciliation is built-in and recurring transactions can also be used for direct debits, standing orders and such like.

Invoicing can work well for the serviced based business, as well as taking items from a stock file. You can take a payment at the time you raise an invoice, which is handy for over-the-counter type situations. For the budding accountant Instant also offers a fully double entry nominal ledger, with a neat ‘financials’ button where you will find budgets, profit and loss, balance sheet information and exemplary VAT reporting.

Unfortunately there isn’t much in this latest release for the upgrader from previous versions, although you get a 32bit rewrite to the underlying code which should make things faster and more secure. You can now perform a global search across all accounting data, and use the result to filter records if you wish. The report designer now also has over 200 ready built templates and a ‘favourites’ menu for your own creations.

Company: Sage

Contact: 0191 255 3000


Verdict
Although Sage is a powerful company, this release of Instant delivers so little for the upgrader that you can only wonder why the company bothered. Nevertheless, it's a good buy for the first-timer, with a great upgrade path as your business grows.