Why to use Sage 50 ODBC for Power BI

A Sage 50 ODBC connection provides a much more robust and automated way to connect Power BI, as opposed to exporting your data from a report and re-importing them to Power BI. Here are four reasons why.

Note: this article is written from the perspective of Sage 50 Accounts (UK, Irish) as opposed to Sage 50 Accounting (US Edition) or Sage 50 Accounting (Canadian Edition), but the general thrust would be true for all three.

1. Access to the full scope of Sage 50 data

A Sage 50 ODBC connection gives you access to the full range of Sage 50 tables and pretty much all their data (there are a couple of system data fields that Power BI rejects from Sage 50 Accounts if you try to import them via an ODBC connection, but these fields are not available anyway in your standard Sage 50 reports. 

2. Save time refreshing your Power BI report

It is time-consuming to run your Sage 50 reports, making sure that you have selected the right options for filters etc., waiting for Sage 50 to run each report, and then exporting them to an Excel / CSV file, naming each file correctly and saving each in a place where you Power BI report will expect to see them. Using a Sage 50 ODBC connection, you can refresh all your Sage 50 data in your Power BI report with a single click on the “Refresh” button.

Refresh Power BI Report

3. Reduce the chance of manual errors

If you are manually running Sage 50 reports to export their data, there are many steps along the way where you can unwittingly make an error. You could very easily select the wrong date range for example. Then depending on how you have structured your Power BI report, errors like this may not be immediately obvious.

4. Set up a scheduled refresh for your Power BI report

Scheduled Refresh

If you are using Power BI to deliver sales, stock, accounts receivables, accounts payables or liquidity reports (in other words, reports that you will want updated frequently), then setting up a scheduled refresh makes a lot of sense. This is either not possible or very difficult to do if you are relying on exporting Sage 50 Accounts report data to Excel. This is perfectly possible to achieve via an ODBC connection. You will need to install and configure the Microsoft On Premises Data Gateway (topic of a future blog), that will establish a connection between your Sage 50 Accounts ODBC data source and the Microsoft Power BI Service (in which you can set up your refresh times). For scheduled refresh you will need a Microsoft Power BI Pro, Premium or Premium Per User account

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