Get to grips with Sage Instant Accounts in simple steps.
This comprehensive guide walks you through every aspect ofsetting up and using Sage Instant Accounts, from downloading andinstalling the software to customizing it to your needs. Packedwith handy step–by–step instructions (and fullyillustrated with screenshots), this book is the easiest way to getthe most from Sage Instant Accounts and take control of yourbusiness finances.
- Keep track of money in and out and easily view your cashposition
- Produce reports on your business performance andprofitability
- Store customer information and easily generate quotes, invoicesand remittances
- Record and accurately manage your VAT - and submit your VATreturn to HMRC online
- Prepare for business audits and your financial year-end
|Product dimensions:||7.40(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
Jane Kelly is a Chartered Management Accountant and Sagetrainer. She runs a training company offering support forbusinesses using Sage accounting packages and is the author ofSage 50 Accounts For Dummies and Bookkeeping For Dummies,UK edition.
Read an Excerpt
Sage Instant Accounts For Dummies
By Jane E. Kelly
John Wiley & SonsCopyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
All rights reserved.
Introducing Sage Instant Accounts
In This Chapter
* Introducing the Sage software range
* Considering SageCover
* Installing the software
* Getting help from the wizard
* Navigating around Sage
In this chapter, I introduce you to Sage Instant Accounts. I show you how easily you can install the software and give you a guided tour, so that you can get up and running quickly – essential for busy people!
Sage works on the principle that the less time you spend doing your accounts, the more time you can spend on your business, so makes each process as simple as possible.
I also discuss SageCover, an optional technical support package, which is an addition worth considering. If you experience software problems, SageCover can help. For small businesses, this support is like having an IT department at the end of a phone.
Looking at Two Sage Instant Options
Sage offers two versions of Instant Accounts:
[check] Sage Instant Accounts: The entry-level program. Sage Instant Accounts provides all the features you require to successfully manage your accounts. You can professionally handle your customers and suppliers, manage your bank reconciliations and VAT returns and provide simple reports, including monthly and year-end requirements. This basic version is suitable for small businesses with a simple structure.
[check] Sage Instant Accounts Plus: Contains all the features of the entry model, but in addition includes a simple stock system and also the ability to have up to two users.
I recommend that you install Sage Instant on a Windows operating system. Windows 8 or 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows Server 2008, Small Business Server 2011 or Server 2003 are all recommended by Sage.
Installing the Software
In this section, I take you step by step through the installation process, showing you the screens as they appear on your computer and ensuring that you load up the software correctly. I also let you know about any problems that may crop up while loading, so that you can deal with them effectively.
Anyway, onwards and upwards!
Getting what you need before you get started
Your Sage software package contains a CD, a 'Getting Started with Sage Instant Accounts' guide and, more importantly, a serial number and activation key. Without these last two pieces of information, you can't successfully load the software. But don't worry, if you purchased a genuine copy of Sage software, you have the necessary activation information.
You also need a few details about your company:
[check] When your company's financial year begins: If you're not sure of the date, consult your accountant.
[check] Whether and what type of VAT scheme you use: Again, your accountant can tell you whether you operate the VAT cash accounting scheme or the standard VAT scheme. If you've a VAT registration number, keep it handy.
Moving to the installation itself
The following steps assume that you're loading Sage for the first time for a single company and single user. For those of you loading multiple-user programs, check the instructions provided with your software.
1. Insert your CD into the disk drive.
If your CD doesn't immediately start, you may need to click Run.
2. Follow the options on your screen to run the CD.
A Sage Instant Accounts opening screen appears. Click the Install button to continue as shown in Figure 1-1.
For Vista users, the User Account Control window appears, asking you for permission to continue installing Sage; click Continue to proceed.
The Sage system checker highlights any problems with loading your software, such as hardware speed and so on as shown in Figure 1-2. Click Install to continue.
3. The Accounts Installshield wizard starts up when you click Install and this is followed by the Licence agreement as shown in Figure 1-3.
Be warned, the licence seems to go on forever, if you choose to read it! (Have a quick look through the software licence agreement though, just to see what you're signing up for!) Click Yes to accept the licence.
4. Select the installation type and destination folder and follow the prompts.
You've a choice between a Standard install and a Custom install, as shown in Figure 1-4. The choice you make is important.
Standard install is recommended for most users; it copies the files to C:\Sage\Accounts.
Choose Custom install only if you want to control the destination of the programs being installed; for example, if you want to keep different versions of Sage separately on your computer.
Check with Sage (the company, not the program!) if you aren't sure whether to use the Custom install or not.
If you want to use Custom install and choose a different destination folder, follow these steps:
i. Click the Custom install option.
The destination folder at the bottom of the screen automatically defaults to C:\Sage\Accounts 2011.
ii. Click Browse. With the help of the Browse button you can change the destination folder, as shown in Figure 1-5. I have changed it to C:\Sage\Instant Accounts 2013. Click OK. The destination path has now changed to the new one that you've designated. Click Next to continue.
Select your Program folder – this window allows you to change the program folder to your preferred destination, as shown in Figure 1-6 you can now click Next to continue.
Sage now confirms the destination folders for the program as shown in Figure 1-7. Click Next to continue.
The system then whirrs into action and starts the installation process. It takes several minutes, so you probably have time to make a quick cup of tea!
5. Click Finish when Sage tells you that the installation is complete.
That's it! You've successfully installed your Sage software. This is the message you should see, shown in Figure 1-8. You should see a Sage Instant Accounts icon on your desktop – now you're ready to rock and roll!
Be sure to remove the CD and keep it in a safe place!
Setting Up with the Active Set-Up Wizard
Of course, you're champing at the bit and want to get going with Sage, so double-click the new Sage icon on your desktop to get started. You may get an RSS feeds message (see Figure 1-9) and you can decide whether you want to receive these or not by clicking on the tick box. Click OK to continue.
The Activate Sage Software window opens as shown in Figure 1-10. You're asked to enter your activation key and serial number. You can find these on your delivery note or within your CD case. If you don't have this information, click the My Sage button and follow the online instructions.
When you've entered your activation key and serial number and clicked Continue, a confirmation message appears saying that your Sage Instant Accounts has now been registered. Click OK to continue, the Active Set-up wizard opens. The first screen, shown in Figure 1-11, gives you three options:
[check] Set up a new company: If you're new to Sage, choose this first option. You're then guided through the automatic steps of the Active Set-up wizard. The following numbered steps lead you through this process.
[check] Use an existing company stored on your network: If you already use Sage and are upgrading, choose this option, which lets you copy accounts data from your previous Sage installation.
[check] Restore data from a backup file: Choose this option if you're restoring data from an earlier version.
Choose whichever option is best for you and click Next.
The following steps take you through the process of setting up Sage for the first time.
1. Click Set Up a New Company, then click Next and then enter your company's details. Sage now takes you through a 7-step wizard.
You're prompted to enter your company information, such as name, address and contact details, as shown in Figure 1-12. Make the set-up speedier by putting in just the company name. You can complete the other information later by clicking Settings on the main toolbar and then selecting Company Preferences.
2. Click Next. A screen appears that prompts you to Select Business Type, as shown in Figure 1-13.
3. Click the appropriate business type. For example, I've chosen Limited Company, for Jingles. If you're in any doubt, contact your accountant, who'll be happy to assist. Whichever business structure you choose, Sage applies the appropriate nominal codes and Profit and Loss and Balance Sheet reports for your accounts.
If you don't want to select any of the categories shown, you can click I want to use a pre defined business type and create your own business type. You can then use your existing nominal codes if you're transferring accounts from a different system.
4. Click Next and select your financial year.
The fictional Jingles company I invented ends its financial year on 31 March 2014, so the financial start date is April 2013, as shown in Figure 1-14.
5. Click Next and fill in your VAT details.
If you're not VAT registered, click No and go to Step 6.
If you're VAT registered, enter your registration number and, using the drop-down arrow, select the appropriate VAT rate, as shown in Figure 1-15. You must enter the current standard VAT rate if that's the rate you've selected. Jingles Ltd is VAT registered for the purposes of illustration.
Don't enter any transactions until you're certain of which VAT scheme you operate. Failure to use the correct scheme means that your VAT is calculated incorrectly. Sorting out the wrong VAT scheme can be extremely messy!
6. Click Next and choose the base currency that you use as shown in Figure 1-16. Click Next again. Note: The currency option is only available if you've purchased the currency module.
7. The final screen summarises the data you entered on your Active Set-up wizard, as shown in Figure 1-17.
If you need to make any changes to your data, you can click Back and revise any information.
8. Select Create when you're satisfied that the information is correct.
The system now configures and then asks you whether you'd like to customise your company, as shown in Figure 1-18. If you click the Customise Company button, Sage then takes you to a wizard style menu, where you can choose to set up the defaults and records for your Customers, Suppliers, Banks, Products, Financials and the Administration areas of your software. You will find helpful videos that you can play to assist you in setting up the individual modules within Sage. Sage also has a tick box you can use when you've completed each section. If you click Setup Now, Sage automatically takes you to the default screen for whichever module you're setting up. See Figure 1-19 for an example of the Customer Default window.
When you start the customisation process, it can be time consuming to go through each section, and more than you can sensibly manage in one sitting. You can close the screen, which takes you to the Sage Welcome page. When you're ready to go back to the customisation wizard, click Help from the menu bar and then Customise your Company.
I would recommend setting up Sage manually, as you can take your time familiarising yourself with Sage. You're in danger of information overload if you try to set up all the modules in one go without taking time to navigate around Sage first.
I'm going to talk you through setting up the modules manually so that you can see where all the options are within the Sage software. The remainder of the chapter shows you how to do this.
Finding Out How Easy Sage Is to Use
Sage is a user-friendly system, using words and phrases that people easily understand rather than accounting jargon. Sage also has a lot of graphics to make the pages look more appealing and easier to navigate. For example, an icon appears next to the Bank module that looks like the entrance to a grand building – like the Bank of England, perhaps?
Burying the accounting jargon
Sage uses terms that users understand and steers clear of accounting jargon. So, instead of using debtors and creditors, Sage uses customers and suppliers; rather than nominal ledger, it uses company.
Accounting terminology isn't altogether done away with, for example you still have to print Aged Debtors reports and Aged Creditors reports, but most of the program uses simple language.
Looking at the screen layout
When you open Sage, the first screen you come across is the Sage Welcome screen, as shown in Figure 1-20. It provides useful links and various Help pages, including a Just Practice section, where if you're not sure how to do something, you can try it out in the practice company first.
If you look closely at the bottom of the screen, you find two tabs. The first is for the Welcome to Sage Instant Accounts screen, and the second is called Customer Process – the arrow points to it in Figure 1-20.
Introducing process maps
Process maps look like flow charts, they illustrate specific customer and supplier processes in a pictorial format. Click the Customer Process tab to see the process map, as shown in Figure 1-21.
Figure 1-21 shows the various stages of the customer paper trail in the Customer Process map, from the original quotation through to chasing the debt and receiving the money from the customer. You can click on any one of these boxes, and Sage takes you directly to the screen necessary to process that action. For example, if you click Customer Receipt you're taken to the Customer Receipt screen, so that you can process the payment received.
On the Customer Process screen, the words Change View appear in the top right corner. Clicking Change View produces a drop-down menu that gives you two more options to change the appearance of the screen:
[check] Customers: This view, shown in Figure 1-22, is the traditional Sage screen. The main body of the screen appears blank when you're starting out with Sage, but it eventually fills up with your customers' names, balances and contact details.
Across the top of the screen, below the Customers heading, the icons that form part of the customer pages appear – Customer Record, Activity, Batch Invoice and Batch Credit, to name just a few.
[check] Customer Dashboard: The dashboard offers a graphic representation of the customer information. It shows the Customer Cash Overview, Aged Debt and Today's Diary Events. This presentation appeals to people who want quick access to the key information in the accounts.
Before you input any data, the Customer Dashboard screen looks extremely boring. However, even just the Sage demonstration data illustrates the dramatic impact of presenting data in this way, as shown in Figure 1-23. To open Sage using demo data, click File from the top toolbar, then Open, then Open Demo data. At the screen login, choose Manager and no password, and then Sage opens with new company data called Stationery& Computer Mart UK.
Alternatively you can use the Practice data to play around with Sage (you access the practice data in the same way as the Demo data).
Navigating Around Sage
At the very top of the Sage Welcome screen is the name of your version of Sage – Sage Instant Accounts Plus, for example – followed by the company name you entered when you set up Sage. (Refer to the 'Setting Up with the Active Set-Up Wizard' section, which walks you through getting Sage up and running.)
The Sage Instant desktop is divided into three key areas: The Menu Bar is found running horizontally across the top of the screen and is one method of navigating around Sage Instant. (See Exploring the Menu Bar later in this chapter)
The Navigation bar runs vertically down the left-hand side of the screen, (see the 'Navigating the Task pane, Links list and Module buttons' section later in this chapter for more detail). The navigation bar is further subdi- vided into three areas:
[check] The Tasks pane
[check] The Links pane
[check] List of Module buttons
Excerpted from Sage Instant Accounts For Dummies by Jane E. Kelly. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Excerpted by permission of John Wiley & Sons.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Part I: Getting Started with Sage InstantAccounts 5
Chapter 1: Introducing Sage Instant Accounts 7
Chapter 2: Creating Your Chart of Accounts and Assigning NominalCodes 35
Chapter 3: Setting Up Records 55
Chapter 4: Recording Your Opening Balances 75
Part II: Looking into Day-to-Day Functions 93
Chapter 5: Processing Your Customer Paper work 95
Chapter 6: Invoicing Your Customers 107
Chapter 7: Dealing with Paperwork from Your Suppliers 117
Chapter 8: Recording Your Bank Entries 127
Chapter 9: Maintaining and Correcting Entries 143
Chapter 10: Keeping Track of Your Products 153
Part III: Running Monthly, Quarterly and AnnualRoutines 163
Chapter 11: Reconciling Your Bank Accounts 165
Chapter 12: Running Your Monthly and Yearly Routines 177
Chapter 13: Running Your VAT Return 191
Part IV: Using Reports 205
Chapter 14: Running Monthly Reports 207
Chapter 15: Tackling the Complicated Stuff 221
Chapter 16: Running Key Reports 235
Part V: The Part of Tens 251
Chapter 17: Ten (Okay, Eleven) Funky Functions 253
Chapter 18: (Not Quite) Ten Wizards to Conjure 257
Appendix: Glossary 263