Sticker Shock Awaits Sage 50/Peachtree Payroll Service Users

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The 2014 version of Sage 50, formerly known as Peachtree Accounting, is available for purchase now. As a result, certain users who rely on the payroll subscription are going to experience sticker shock in the near future. Historically, you could purchase a Sage 50/Peachtree Accounting product and pay an additional fee for the annual payroll service that makes it easy to calculate withholding taxes. As long as your accounting software was one of the three most recent versions, the annual payroll service typically cost around $300/year. Such users are about to see their annual costs increase by a factor of two, three, or even more. 

For several years, Sage has offered an optional Business Care program that entitled users to priority support and automatic program upgrades. This program is now mandatory if you want to process payroll in the software. The Sage Business Care program is being offered at three levels:
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Platinum
The Silver plan offers unlimited support, annual product upgrades, and the Business Intelligence feature that allows you to analyze your accounting data in Microsoft Excel. However, if you wish to process payroll within Sage 50, you must sign up for the Gold or Platinum programs. The Gold program allows you to process payroll for up to fifty users, while the Platinum program offers unlimited payroll as well as priority access to a dedicated support team that offers appointment scheduling.
Business Care is an annual subscription, which means that rather than buying the software and sitting out a couple of upgrade cycles, you must continue your Business Care subscription year after year in order to process payroll in Sage 50.
Sage doesn't disclose pricing for the Gold or Platinum programs on its website, because the pricing varies based on which version of Peachtree/Sage 50 you're currently using and the number of simultaneous users you require. In general, the first year of business care will be at a higher price, with savings each year for annual consecutive renewals. As a point of reference, a Silver Business Care subscription for a three-user license for Peachtree Complete Accounting is $669/year. This doesn't include payroll, so it means your ongoing annual expense will likely be at least $800/year, year-in, year-out, as opposed to the $300 or so that you could formerly pay to add a payroll subscription. 
Keep in mind that at present a Business Care subscription isn't required if you process payroll through a third-party provider or by other means. However, the days of paying once for software that you then use for years are slowly fading into history. This is evidenced by Sage's behavior as well as Microsoft's recent Office365 subscription program that offers the Office 2013 suite for $99/year.
Accountants who have at least one fee-paying client can subscribe to the Sage Accountant's Network to get discounted access to Sage software and the annual payroll service. For everyone else, Sage is offering substantial discounts on the first year of Business Care through April 29, 2013.
Read more articles by David Ringstrom. 
About the author:

David H. Ringstrom, CPA heads up Accounting Advisors, Inc., an Atlanta-based software and database consulting firm providing training and consulting services nationwide. Contact David at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter. David speaks at conferences about Microsoft Excel, and presents webcasts for several CPE providers, including AccountingWEB partner CPE Link.



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This is great news for Intuit's Quickbooks!

And for Payroll Relief.

I have been using Peachtree/ Sage since 2005. My tax table cost went from a few hundred dollars per year to over 900 dollars per year for a plan I didn't want. I canceled and will never send them another dime. I truly detest this company.

I just caught a $800+ charge on our credit card statement from Sage and called in to their customer support inquiring about this amount. It seems that in addition to the newly inflated cost of the payroll processing, they will charge you for the "upgrade" without the go ahead from your company if they have your card information on file. This is the last straw.

A sales rep just told me on the phone that this has been an 8 year work in process plan. If they knew for 8 years that this was going to happen, why did they tell me I had to purchase Sage 50 2013 last year? I don't see how anyone can trust this company.

I've been using Peachtree with payroll from the start (18 years). I can't tell you how much I despise them. Constantly badgering you with updates, forcing updates with ever decreasing planned obsolescence schedules.

Intuit is going to the same model folks... the reality is that 1) this is the new sage... I saw this same implementation model with MAS 100... it was ugly
2) software is now the victim of the advancement of technology... in many ways, I understand. Accounting sits upon an 800 pound gorilla called MS operating systems... which range from XP on. Software that updates and tweaks almost every day.

In a way, can we blame our software providers. If you have to have payroll, just think of business care as installment payments on the software you will install 3 years from no

Linda, thank you for your thoughtful comments!

Grrr....................I chose to leave Peach when they phoned me up and told me I will be paying 800+ because they said I had to. Ticked me off. I found a new payroll program for 2014 and said good bye to Peach after my 2013 end. So.....I go today to file my quarterlies and do my payroll Y/E W2's etc. in Peach and all of the reports I need to end 2013 say "EXPIRED" or "NO LONGER VALID" in big black letters across them! Anyhow......I get on the phone as this does not seem right! They will not let me finish my payroll year????????? You have got to be kidding me!!! Just as I guessed they told me I needed to pay the fee for the year to get 2014 updates and that would allow for me to get my Y/E done!!!!! This has to be some try at extortion I tell myself. Wrong just Wrong!
I kept asking for another person then another person and so on as I was not going to go down easy. Well......I can tell you this, after 4 or 5 different transfers to different departments on the phone 3 hrs, I finally got some one who actually helped!! My point is ......Do not let them get away with this crappy tactic!!!!! Keep at it if you are having these issues. It seems to me that this should be illegal. But I don't know. I do know that it is more than WRONG!!! Plain WRONG!! I am so glad this will be my last dealings with Peachtree.

yup did the same thing to me. I logged a formerly complaint and was told upper management would get back to was a polite way for sage get me off the phone. They should have told me to go F**K myself instead of giving me false hope that they actually cared --- i phoned them the last time and said cancel my auto renewal, and if it gets put through i am phoning my cc company and let them sort it out with visa

hang on! Was told today by a sales rep that they are now going to be changing back to the old system within 6 months. Guess the idiots figured out that you cannot charge such ridiculous prices just to have payroll subscriptions. Even the high end ERP systems are not this much!

Now *that* is an interesting development. Thank you for the heads up!

does anyone know how to remove the install shield wizard for the update? I plan to keep using peachtree for my accounting, but will figure payroll on my on and definitely NOT update.

The image below shows how to remove any software updates that get downloaded to your computer. You also choose Services, and then Check For Updates and clear the checkbox that has the software check for updates periodically.

I am furious at how poor the customer service from Sage50 really is. I was waiting for 3 different call backs from sage because i complained about this new pricing structure and was never given the curtesy of a phone call back. Heres how sage got me

I was sent an auto renewal reminder to continue my sage50 gold that I was paying for since 2013. My company was approaching 10 people and i figured finally i was going to take advantage of the 50 payroll that i was paying for. ONLY after my money was taken was the new invoice showing that Sage changed my agreement to only payroll 10. I never paid attention to that until my 11th employee and all of a sudden my sage50 quick working. I am furious that they can change there terms at there own whim, even though good customers have a service agreement and auto renewal set up in there system. I feel cheated and lied to by sage50.