Ina Opperman

By Ina Opperman

Business Journalist

Sage cloud accounting offline for entire week as SMMEs wait to file returns

Sars says it is aware of the problem, but will not consider waiving interest on late submissions, since the problem is not theirs, but between eFilers and Sage.

Most small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs) who have to file their VAT201 returns for the November-December 2020 period are now unable to do so if they use Sage Business Cloud Accounting, which has been experiencing a major outage for the entire week.

Despite promises from Sage to fix the problem, it is still offline and SMMEs are worried that they will be charged a penalty followed by interest for failing to file their VAT.

According to a statement on the Sage website, Sage Business Cloud Accounting ZA is having a major outage and Sage is continuing to investigate this issue.

The latest update on Friday morning stated that although more customers were reporting being able to log in, some customers were still experiencing challenges logging in.

“The service continues to have slow responses during peak times with high volumes. Please be patient and keep trying to log in. The team is continuously working on improving performance,” Sage said.

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The software company explained in the statement that it and its service provider upgraded the Sage Business Cloud Accounting infrastructure to deliver performance improvements on Sunday, 17 January 2021.

“Unfortunately, there was an unexpected error when the system was brought back online. We have been working non-stop on a resolution in conjunction with our service provider and vendors. However, restoring the service is taking much longer than anticipated and the system can only currently cope with limited volumes.

“We are sorry for the impact this is having on customers and will update regularly throughout the day. We understand this is causing serious disruption to our customers’ business and we are working round the clock, with our partners, to restore the service.”

When approached for comment, a spokesperson said SARS has learnt that this is a worldwide issue involving a software package developed and sold by Sage, also affecting Sage Business Cloud Accounting ZA.

“SARS acknowledges that it may impact people’s ability to manage their accounts and indirectly impact their ability to calculate the VAT due to SARS. Obviously, this is not a SARS issue in the sense that SARS is not responsible for the Sage software package nor it being offline.

“To the extent that individual taxpayers are impacted, they will be required to approach SARS for a remission of the penalty and submit the relevant motivation using the normal process in this regard. As far as interest is concerned, as this is the time value of money, the waiving of interest will not be considered. Also be aware that manual filers have until 25 January, while eFilers have until 29 January to file,” the spokesperson said.

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Angry customers

Angry customers on Sage’s Facebook page are not pulling punches.

  • “Still no feedback from support on my mails send. Still no service. Still no answers on when sage will be operational. Still losing money every day due to down time.” – Hugo Truter
  • “Sorry, we are currently experiencing issues with our service. No redirection, no anything. Thanks Sage, now moving to Xero. – Denise Brown
  • “I am not being redirected all I am getting is ‘sorry, we are currently experiencing issues with our service’. Sage if we cannot invoice our customers how do you expect us to pay your invoices if we get no income. It’s 5 days today totally unacceptable. Please can we have the correct information of what is happening and not just apologies.” – Ansie Van Deventer Wollenschlaeger
  • “Sage Business Cloud Accounting has been down for 5 days now! Just how incompetent are you geniuses at Sage? Giving us 1 month free when we did not ask for it does not help us at all!! Sage South Africa should be shut down because that’s exactly what you have done to our businesses!” – Craig Paul
  • “Zero direction to anything. Only an infuriating prompt telling me to be patient. After 5 days of this I think not.” – Cheryl Howard
  • “Sage, Monday is the 25th. That means VAT submissions and payments are due. Will you send some staff over to help us finish the work? Or will you pay the penalties to SARS if we are late? And will you please also explain to many commission earners why they will not get paid on the 25th because no-one using Sage has access to any information. You are utterly disgraceful.” – ZA Ppe
  • “What’s worrying me is that no solution has been found? When does a company make the move over to another provider? It’s month end!!!!! I know its stressful to you guys at Sage as well but we need a time and date so we can make our choices.” – Christine Coetzee

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