What is Sage?
Sage Accounting is a software platform offering accounting, analytics, payroll, HR, and other features for small-to-medium businesses. For over a decade, Sage has grown and iterated to include more functionality (like acquiring CakeHR for human resource features) and scaling for medium and larger businesses.
Today Sage Accounting has developed strong cloud accounting features and the ability to scale with your business, though it is still largely used as legacy accounting software.
Sage Pros & Cons
|Free trial||Basic design|
|Lots of integrations||Over-complicated|
|Desktop, cloud, and mobile access||Difficult to learn|
|Great for entrepreneurs and very small businesses||Limited data storage|
|Multiple company functionality||Poor customer service|
|Strong reporting features||No payroll or time tracking|
The biggest advantages Sage offers are the many, many integrations available. Unfortunately, this is a limited advantage as many of the integrations or extensions are only available in the UK.
Another major drawback is the lack of transparency and definition around Sage’s product offerings. They offer a wide range of products and plans, but fail to clearly define and differentiate those products. For example, small business owners might not know whether Business Cloud Accounting, Sage Intacct, or Sage 50cloud is the right choice for them (or even the difference between them).
Sage leaves much to be desired in the visual interface, and simply can’t compete with the smooth and attractive design of QuickBooks, Freshbooks, or ZipBooks when it comes to online accounting software.
Through Sage you can create, send, and track invoices automatically to improve your bookkeeping process and cash flow. This feature also allows for quotes and estimates that are particularly useful for service industries like construction who need to manage customers on the go. With Sage50 you can also add a “pay now” button and receive one-click payments through PayPal or Stripe. This invoicing provides some light project management, but isn’t the ideal accounting platform for detailed project management.
Link your bank account with Sage software to automatically import your expenses and create reports for analyzing cash flow. Sage Business Cloud Accounting also allows for extensive workflow creation and auto-entry of receipts and invoices for smarter expense tracking and easier bookkeeping. Reporting is visible in the Sage Business Cloud dashboard, and includes cash flow forecasts, revenue, and sales goals.
Many small businesses prefer Sage as an accounting solution for the included inventory management software with lower-tier plans. Inventory and price management is included in the Sage Accounting and Sage Accounting Start plans for $10/month or less. (With QuickBooks you don’t have access to inventory management until you jump to QuickBooks Plus at $70/month). This is an easy choice for small business shops who rely on good inventory management at a competitive price.
Customer support options
Sage Business Cloud offers support in a variety of ways, including:
- Live chat, phone, and email
- Community forums
- Live Q&A every weekday from 9 am – 6 pm EST
- Sage University
- 1:1 Sage accounting coaching
Some features are only accessible under higher tier plans or as paid add-ons (such as one-on-one sessions and some of the Sage University courses), but are considered to reflect the value of the support and education. Still, this might not be a sufficient option for modern online accounting software, especially for a first time business owner.
One feature that is attractive to business owners is the ability to use Sage products on a variety of platforms. Sage is available on Windows and Mac, as well as iOS and Android devices. Sage applications are even available on Apple Watch. Cloud options allow you to access your books anywhere you can open a browser, even if the majority of your computing power is in the desktop version. Sage 50cloud combines desktop power with cloud security and updating. These options allow for flexible bookkeeping in whatever medium the business owner prefers.
One of the most useful features of the Sage accounting program is the onboarding setup process. Many accounting software programs have a quick tutorial or setup wizard, but Sage makes it very easy to set up your Sage account and import all of your data from CSV files or existing accounting software.
Sage products & plans
|Sage One Start||$10/month||Small and cash-strapped businesses||Simple income and expense|
|Sage One Accounting||$25/month||Growing businesses needing integrations||Integrations|
|Sage 50cloud Accounting Pro||$56.08/month/1 user||Solopreneurs and very small businesses||Microsoft Suite integration
Desktop + cloud
|Sage 50cloud Accounting Premium||$84.58/month/1 user||Accounting teams of 1-5||Job costing|
|Sage 50cloud Accounting Quantum||$139.58/month/1 user||Industry-specific customizations||Multiple business functionality|
|Sage 100cloud||$76/month||10-200 employees||Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)|
There is considerable overlap between the plans, and very poor documentation of the differentiation between products. We recommend speaking to a Sage support representative to determine which products or plans might be right for your unique business.
Sage 50 payments
Sage 50 accounting plans all have access to Sage 50 Payments. Businesses can add a “pay now” button to invoices, and accept payments via PayPal or Stripe on the go. Similarly, Sage Payment Solutions allows you to accept payments from your customers wherever they are.
Unfortunately, some of the most desirable add-ons (such as Payroll, Timeslips, and HR software) are only available in the UK. Some features are available globally, so speak to a Sage representative to determine availability in your area.
Sage 50cloud accounting allows you to add on in-house payroll options that are tiered to the number of employees as well as the 50cloud accounting plan you use. For example, if you’re a Pro user you can add Sage payroll for up to 10 employees for $91.08 per month.
For $90 per month you can add a time tracking integration through Sage. Timeslips allows for time entry, time tracking, invoice creation, billing, and team collaboration—including mobile access.
Sage 50 CRM
Sage offers a CRM integration add-on that will help businesses manage their communications and sales leads, as well as seamlessly link invoices to customer profiles. The Microsoft Outlook integration is particularly appealing to businesses relying on that platform. Pricing is usually custom, but will likely start around $39/month for one user.
Is QuickBooks better than Sage?
Generally QuickBooks is preferred to Sage, due to the expansive features, ease of use, and accessibility in the United States.
Can you convert QuickBooks to Sage?
You can migrate your QuickBooks account to Sage with relative ease. Sage allows for many migrations and integrations, so switching is pain-free.
How much does Sage cost per month?
Sage starts at $10/month, increasing with additional features and users.
How much is Sage 50? Sage 100?
Sage 50 starts at $56.08 per month, and Sage 100 starts at $76 per month.
Is Sage user friendly?
Sage is user friendly for those with a strong accounting background, or for accountants who use it for their small business. Business owners can learn to use Sage’s features, especially with the help from the Sage knowledge base.
Sage has some tempting features, especially if you favor Microsoft integrations and if you are located in the United Kingdom and can take advantage of the full range of features. If you need better functionality and a more modern interface, we’d recommend QuickBooks or the more cost-effective Wave.
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