Sage Abra Suite: Announcing the retirement of Sage Abra Suite

Sage is committed to providing the highest quality products and services to our customers. As a technology developer and provider, we understand that technology evolution allows our customers to establish and maintain competitive advantages and achieve operational efficiencies. We've recently undertaken a full review of our portfolio. As a result of this review, we have made the decision to retire the Sage Abra Suite product as of December 28, 2020. This decision will enable us to focus our time and resources differently to ensure we continue to deliver market leading solutions for our customers.

What does this mean for you?

With the retirement of Sage Abra Suite, Sage will no longer provide updates, security fixes, tax and legislative updates after the September 2020 release. Additionally, access to the support center for assistance will not be available as of December 28, 2020.

What do you need to do?

We understand this announcement will require a shift to a new system, as such we aim to facilitate your transition in the most seamless way possible. Please contact either a Sage business partner or Sage account manager for additional information.

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  • Please correct me if I'm wrong, but this implies that current Abra Suite users will not be able to complete their year end process next year (2020).

    No updated tax reports, no ability to file W2 or ACA forms and no help from Sage, even though they've paid their maintenance.  Will Sage prorate the support for those that will not be migrating to HRMS?  With the 20% price increase for both the software and support, many are looking to alternative solutions that are more cost efficient.

    Anyone else have the same interpretation?  Does Sage have an answer for those customers that are asking?

  • I have no idea either.  We are looking at alternatives also - and we've been on the product for more than 20 years!  We have tried the SQL version (which is just FoxPro hooked into a SQL Server database) and it's bad - really bad!  Nothing but problems for out payroll department.  Support was unable to help also - so we reverted back to 9.2 (at least it was a known problem set we could work around).

  • Correction: Did your switch to HRMS (and then your switch back to 9.2) occur within the last three years?

  • To answer quickly...yes within the last 3 years.

    We followed the classic FoxPro track 7.x, 8.x, 9.x of Sage Abra Suite and have the Payroll and HR module.  We've built all kinds of custom front end code to import timesheets, gather GL data from Sage to drive our Accounting profit and loss system, etc, etc, etc.  It's 20+ years of stuff.  Not a big deal to convert all that to work with SQL, so we plunged forward with a migration. 

    It was a disaster - HRMS is 2 separate modules.  HR and Payroll are technically separate (not integrated like in Sage Abra Suite).  So if you update an employee in HR, you have to run a Sync command to update the Payroll module.  If you forget, you could pay people wrong.  The GL side of payroll was a mess too.

    It was no fun for anyone!  Sage Support was bad too!

  • Interesting!  We are aware of the HR and Payroll databases being separate, but had not heard about the Sync command to update the Payroll module.  I would think there would be a SQL trigger or some process in HRMS to make that update happen without manual commands.  

    May I ask what you are going to do in 2020 since Sage is sun-setting Suite?  We are currently in progress to migrate to HRMS from Suite 9.2.

  • Good question....the answer at this time....I don't know!  Weighing all the options.

    Sage could make this process really easy.  There have been no new features to Abra Suite 9.x for years.  ACA was the last thing and it was so screwed up and they were so late to add the feature, we wrote the code in-house pulling all the data from Abra.  We were afraid we'd miss the filing deadline.

    Quarterly Updates - which are just payroll tax updates - is really all we're getting from Sage.  Truthfully, that's all I want.  I'd happily continue paying for that.

    There is no reason they can't do that - they have to do it for Sage HRMS Payroll, so just keep doing it for us too.  I'll understand.  I have all the legacy FoxPro tools to handle database corruption, truncation, etc, etc, etc.  I know the problem set.  I'd live with it.  It works for us.

    I was thinking....just thinking....I would just update the tax tables myself by creating an HRMS to 9.x quarter tax code mapping and just do it all myself.  Not that hard.  If I had extra time, I'd write the code and give it away to the community.  There's got to be hundreds of little shops using the 9.x product - and all they want is the multi-state and federal tax updates each quarter.

    If you're current on support (which we are) - Abra shouldn't care what product you're on!  You'd just have to know you won't get support.

    Not holding my breath on Abra helping us out and back peddling.

  • Not sure a mapping would work since in HRMS whenever the release notes say "(Federal/State) withholding tables and instructions have been updated" it is not an update to the payroll database but actually an update to the .dll's in the UT program folder. For Abra, if all of this is in FoxPro you could research federal and or state publications for more details to figure out what updates you need to make to the taxes. You could address changes to the W2 and ACA forms by creating a custom crystal report. 

    I am sorry to hear about your experience with Sage HRMS Payroll. Sage could have provided more guidance specifically with documentation about what is different between the two payroll systems, several material things like: HRMS Payroll using Aatrix for tax filing, job codes being in HR only, employee earnings distributions requiring the same earnings codes on the time sheet each payroll, gl segment overrides, accruals for hours worked being in the payroll database etc. 

    We have had success overcoming these challenges with our clients mostly by integrating Sage Time and Attendance. It's secondary job code feature and earnings distribution is a lot closer to what is in Abra. It also helps to work with a business partners who deals with Sage 300. Sage HRMS Payroll is in substance Abra HR converted to sql with Sage 300's payroll, bank and gl modules accessible in the same interface. 

    I don't disagree that the Open Payroll Process can be a mess and that there should be a way to automate it. Sage has made attempts to automate this using Windows Task Scheduler, but I have been told they have ran into issues when there is more than one Employee Configuration setup. Perhaps this may be a good place to put your in house development efforts, replacing the Open Payroll Process with sql mapping from SageHRMS_Live to the payroll database. Unfortunately, for everybody else this ends up being something that is really just for you guys since it is specific to your earnings codes, deduction codes etc. 

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  • Not sure a mapping would work since in HRMS whenever the release notes say "(Federal/State) withholding tables and instructions have been updated" it is not an update to the payroll database but actually an update to the .dll's in the UT program folder. For Abra, if all of this is in FoxPro you could research federal and or state publications for more details to figure out what updates you need to make to the taxes. You could address changes to the W2 and ACA forms by creating a custom crystal report. 

    I am sorry to hear about your experience with Sage HRMS Payroll. Sage could have provided more guidance specifically with documentation about what is different between the two payroll systems, several material things like: HRMS Payroll using Aatrix for tax filing, job codes being in HR only, employee earnings distributions requiring the same earnings codes on the time sheet each payroll, gl segment overrides, accruals for hours worked being in the payroll database etc. 

    We have had success overcoming these challenges with our clients mostly by integrating Sage Time and Attendance. It's secondary job code feature and earnings distribution is a lot closer to what is in Abra. It also helps to work with a business partners who deals with Sage 300. Sage HRMS Payroll is in substance Abra HR converted to sql with Sage 300's payroll, bank and gl modules accessible in the same interface. 

    I don't disagree that the Open Payroll Process can be a mess and that there should be a way to automate it. Sage has made attempts to automate this using Windows Task Scheduler, but I have been told they have ran into issues when there is more than one Employee Configuration setup. Perhaps this may be a good place to put your in house development efforts, replacing the Open Payroll Process with sql mapping from SageHRMS_Live to the payroll database. Unfortunately, for everybody else this ends up being something that is really just for you guys since it is specific to your earnings codes, deduction codes etc. 

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