AtoV’s appointed a new Sage 200 provider to improve its experience with the software, Xperience Group helped the company to boost efficiency of the financial processes, including the payment run and P&L balance sheets. They now easily manage bank, investment and cash accounts for complete cash flow control and streamlined forecasting.

In summary, a new Sage 200 provider has enabled AtoV to:

  • Enjoy a wealth of reporting capabilities to support business management decisions
  • Track the sales and costs of projects through the use of transaction analysis codes 
  • Benefit from faster, more efficient processing of transactions for easier VAT returns
  • Easily manage bank, investments and cash accounts for complete cash flow control
  • Enjoy quick, accurate data entry by specifying defaults to suit typical business processes

The need for specialist Sage 200 provider

Michelle Barron is AtoV’s Company Accountant. She explains why the company brought in Xperience as its new Sage 200 provider in January. “Basically we weren’t happy with our existing Sage provider,” she says. “They’d literally ‘provided’ us with the product and left us to it. So we had this sophisticated software which we didn’t really know how to use or what features were available to us.

“For instance I’d call the support desk and be directed to somewhere else. It was a case of us chasing them for the answer or having to wait days for a reply, which was not acceptable as the business was growing. On a couple of occasions our IT Technician managed to sort our issues before the provider came back with the solution. In fact it got so bad that, at one point, I was even considering looking at Sage 50, purely because I had used the product before and knew much more about it.

“Thankfully we made the decision to source a new provider instead, someone who could give us a thorough grounding in the Sage 200 product. Also, as our current software was out of date, it made sense to upgrade to the latest version of Sage 200 Financials at the same time.

“I Googled ‘Sage 200 providers’ and Xperience came up. I browsed through the website and someone called me back immediately. The guy wasn’t at all pushy or salesy, just very helpful. It was mainly his demeanour, attitude and in-depth product knowledge that convinced us to go with Xperience.”

Back to basics

“As we already had a version of Sage 200, I wanted to get to grips with the basics of that before upgrading to the new product. Xperience were happy to oblige. I made a long list of questions and they spent a day taking me through everything in depth, giving us various ideas and examples relating to our own business.

“It was a real eye-opener,” says Michelle. “Having used Sage 50 I was aware of some of the features in Sage 200, but I didn’t know how to use them or the extent of what it could do. Take our cheque run, for example. I was surprised at just how quick it could be done.

“There were other features that I had no idea were available as we’d previously been left to it, the facility for unauthorised invoices, for instance, and the fact that we could adapt reports via the Report Designer feature. Also, you can import standing orders and direct debits without making mistakes. They are recurring so you don’t forget about them and you can delete them at any time, but they’ll will still show up on reports. All the time I was discovering everyday procedures that could be automated to increase efficiency, eliminate error and save time.”

Once Xperience were confident Michelle understood the basics of Sage 200, the system was upgraded to the new version. This was followed by a further day’s training on the upgrade and another on the Report Designer. “It’s such a flexible feature, enabling me to get the information I need, in the format that I want. We are able to design and include our logo on remittances, which we were never able to do before. We can also email suppliers and customers with a click of a button, which again saves time. It’s something we never did before the training,” says Michelle.

Considerable time-savings

Seven months on from the upgrade, Michelle is clear about which Sage 200 feature she finds the most useful. “Without doubt, the payment run,” she says. “It saves me so much time. Discovering that I can build my own profit and loss balance sheets in as much or as little detail as I want, has been a revelation.”

The future? “We are expanding and another great feature is that you can add as many companies as you wish. At present we have two, so I’ve set them both up on Sage 200. It’s so easy.

“Really there is so much we can do that we couldn’t do before. For instance transaction analysis codes enable us to analyse how much a project is costing so we can see where we’re making money. Also, VAT returns are incredibly easy. I am much more confident on using functions such as ‘Reverse Transaction’ to write off small amounts, as I know where they are being coded due to the set-up of the company in training. All in all, Sage 200 has saved us an enormous amount of time which, of course, translates as cost savings. For instance I used to just do the accounts, but Sage 200 has freed me up to focus on other things that benefit the business.”

Was the move to Xperience the right decision? “Absolutely,” she says. “The three training days were outstanding. We had two of their guys in and both were as good as each other. The helpdesk has been brilliant, too. They’re easy to get hold of and answer questions straight away. And if I don’t understand something, they’re more than happy to go through it again, just to make sure.

In conclusion? “I was a Sage 50 fan,” says Michelle. “But now I would recommend Sage 200 to anyone. It’s more expensive, but it gives you an unlimited number of companies whereas with Sage 50 you have to buy each company separately, so it could be more expensive with Sage 50. Sage 200 is more bespoke to your business, so it’s worth it – and you can get add-ons, so you can start with the basic package and then add on to it as and when you need to.

“Every time I talk to Xperience support I keep going on about how impressed I am with what Sage 200 can do now I’ve been trained up on it properly. Xperience have been absolutely superb and I would recommend them to anybody.”

About AtoV

Based in Manchester, AtoV has been providing high quality projection, display and video equipment rental since 2002