Finding the best accounting software for your business can be a lengthy and complex process. After all, as the system that you’ll use to store your most important business financial information and manage your various accounting processes, you don’t want to take this decision lightly. And although there are numerous platforms for small business accounting on the market, if you’re looking specifically for a desktop solution, you may find that your options are rather limited.
However, despite the popularity of web-based solutions like Xero and QuickBooks Online, there are still a few notable desktop-based accounting options, like Sage 50cloud.
Formerly called Peachtree Accounting, the Sage 50cloud accounting software is produced by the business app company, The Sage Group. Although Sage changed the name of this software to connect it to their brand, the solution is the same: a desktop-based accounting software designed for midsize businesses.
Is the Sage 50cloud accounting software, often simply called Sage 50, right for your business? We’ll help you answer that question with our Sage 50 review. We’ll explain how the Sage 50 accounting software works, discuss the three different plan options and their pricing, as well as offer top alternatives—giving you all the information you need to determine which accounting software is best for you.
Let’s start our Sage 50 review by exploring the essential information you need to know with regards to this Sage software.
As we mentioned, Sage 50 is accounting software designed for midsize businesses who prefer a desktop solution. However, although Sage 50 is first and foremost a desktop accounting software and different from Sage’s cloud-based product, Sage Business Cloud Accounting, the Sage 50 accounting software does have some cloud capabilities—hence the name Sage 50cloud.
To explain, like any desktop software, Sage 50 must be purchased and then downloaded to your computer. The majority of Sage’s capabilities and functionality must be used on this machine, unlike a web-based software which gives you the ability to use your account anywhere you have internet access. However, the “cloud” component of Sage 50cloud refers to the remote access this software gives you to your accounting data. Although you cannot actually perform any accounting tasks remotely, Sage 50 does allow you to store and backup your data in the cloud. With this cloud backup, you also can undo data entry errors by restoring data from the cloud as of a particular date.
On the whole, Sage 50 accounting software allows you to manage your accounting, invoices, income, expenses, and payments. You can choose from three different Sage 50 plans, each with increasing capabilities, priced on a monthly or annual basis.
Now that we’ve explained the basics of how the Sage 50 accounting software works, let’s dive deeper into the different Sage 50 plans, discussing both their features and pricing.
As we mentioned, there are three unique Sage 50 plans—Sage 50cloud Pro Accounting, Sage 50cloud Premium Accounting, and Sage 50cloud Quantum Accounting.
Let’s look into Sage 50cloud Pro Accounting first.
Sage 50cloud Pro is the first and most basic of the three Sage 50 accounting software plans. With this option, you’ll have access to essential accounting tools and integration options, as well as customer support. You’ll be able to use Sage 50cloud Pro for one company and have one user account. You’ll also be able to choose whether you’d like to pay for Sage 50 Pro on a monthly or annual basis.
Let’s learn more.
With this version of Sage 50 accounting, you’ll have access to the following capabilities:
Sage 50cloud Pro will only be able to support one user per account and only has two pricing options.
For Sage 50cloud Pro you can choose between a monthly or annual cost—$46.83 per month or $465.95 per year.
It’s also worth noting that Sage offers a 60-day risk-free guarantee, meaning within 60 days of purchase, if you’re not satisfied with your Sage 50 accounting software, you can get a full refund.
Sage 50cloud Premium is the next step up for the Sage 50 accounting software. With the Premium option, you’ll be able to add multiple users to your account, use the software for up to 10 companies, and access more advanced capabilities—allowing you to manage more complex and in-depth finance and accounting tasks.
Let’s explore the details.
With Sage 50cloud Premium, you’ll receive all of the features of Sage 50 Pro, as well as:
With Sage 50 Premium, you’ll once again be able to choose between monthly and annual pricing. However, because this Sage 50 option allows you to have multiple users, you’ll also have to choose the number of users—one, three, or five—that you want, as the Sage 50 Premium pricing differs based on this qualification.
Let’s break it down.
If you prefer to pay monthly, then your options are:
On the other hand, if you want to pay on an annual basis, your options are:
Moreover, just like with Sage 50cloud Pro, with Sage 50cloud Premium, you can choose to add Microsoft Office 365 to your plan for $150 per year.
The last Sage 50 accounting software option is the Quantum plan—the most powerful, and most costly, version of Sage 50cloud. With the Quantum plan, however, you’ll be able to add up to 40 users, an unlimited number of companies, and access even greater and more advanced accounting features.
Let’s explore further.
As we mentioned, Sage 50cloud Quantum will allow you to have up to 40 users and an unlimited number of companies. Additionally, you’ll have access to all of the features of both Pro and Premium, plus the following advanced functionalities:
Just like with Sage 50cloud Premium, with Sage 50cloud Quantum, you’ll be able to add additional users and choose between monthly or yearly payments. As a result, you’ll have more than a few prices to consider for Sage 50cloud Quantum:
If you prefer to pay on a monthly basis, you’ll have the following price options for Sage 50 Quantum:
On the other hand, if you prefer an annual subscription, then you’ll have the following price options for Sage 50 Quantum:
Finally, just like with the other plan options, you’ll be able to add Microsoft Office 365 to your accounting plan for an additional $150 per year.
With all of this in mind, let’s discuss what this information means for your business. What are the top benefits and possible downsides of the Sage 50 accounting software?
Starting with the positives, let’s see what Sage 50 can offer as your business’s accounting software.
One of the most notable features of the Sage 50 accounting software plans is that they’re desktop-based with cloud data storage and backup. It’s not often you see this combination, so if you’re looking for the security and legacy associated with desktop accounting solutions, this is a big benefit of Sage 50cloud.
Additionally, with the cloud features that Sage 50 offers, you won’t be without your accounting information completely when away from your computer—you’ll be able to access your information on the go with the cloud backup, as well as without WiFi with the main desktop-based part of the software.
Another of the top advantages of Sage 50cloud is the platform’s advanced capabilities. Although Sage 50 does include the core accounting features that most solutions provide, it also offers more advanced tools for functions like budgeting, job costing, workflows, and more—features you really only find in software like QuickBooks Desktop.
Moreover, with the Quantum plan, you have access to industry-specific and enterprise-level features. Therefore, with this level of advanced functionality, Sage 50cloud is well-suited for larger businesses who can take full advantage (and need) the features this software offers.
Finally, whereas many top accounting software systems require you to pay on a monthly basis, Sage 50 gives you the option to opt for a whole year at a time.
Not only this but if you do choose a Sage 50 accounting software plan on an annual basis, you’ll be saving roughly two months’ worth, compared to paying for 12 months at the monthly rate.
Although there are notable advantages to the Sage 50 accounting software, there are also drawbacks to consider as well. This being said, here are three downsides to keep in mind:
Despite the yearly discount that Sage offers for their annual subscription, on the whole, Sage 50cloud is expensive. With their most basic plan starting at $46.83 per month for one user, Sage 50 is certainly one of the most costly accounting software options out there.
Plus, if you opt for either of the more advanced plans, your cost will grow substantially—especially if you require multiple users. With all of the web-based solutions on the market, you’re going to find platforms that have robust features, at much more affordable costs. Moreover, even comparing Sage 50 to the QuickBooks Desktop suite (QuickBooks Pro, Premier, and Enterprise), it would still be accurate to say Sage 50 is the more expensive option.
Additionally, the expensive cost of Sage 50 becomes even greater when you consider the limited integration options this platform offers, as well as the added costs that are necessary to integrate Microsoft Office and any of the other Sage products.
First, in terms of integration options, Sage 50cloud is severely limited, only connecting to about 50 third-party products—thereby restricting your ability to manage multiple business processes within one platform. Comparatively, solutions like Xero and QuickBooks Online offer hundreds of integrations, saving you time, money, and effort by allowing you to work seamlessly between tools instead of having to work on multiple platforms separately.
Second, if you want to connect to Sage’s other products or Microsoft Office, you’re going to have to pay a significant fee to do so. Comparatively, many other accounting platforms include payroll capabilities or other useful functionalities, especially at the price level of Sage 50. For example, if you use the Gold or Platinum version of QuickBooks Enterprise (most comparable to Sage 50cloud Quantum) full-service payroll is included at no additional cost.
At the end of the day, and considering the two downsides we just discussed, overall, the biggest downside of Sage 50 is that it’s not very small business-friendly. With advanced capabilities, an expensive price tag, and lack of qualities small businesses often need in accounting software (flexibility, mobility, integration options), Sage 50 is probably best suited for midsize or larger businesses.
Perhaps only truly comparable to the higher level QuickBooks Desktop products, like QuickBooks Enterprise, this accounting platform is only really going to be appropriate for businesses who need the advanced features it offers and who can afford such a high annual or monthly cost.
Considering both the positives and negatives of Sage 50cloud, it’s worth looking into alternatives to the Sage 50 accounting software to see if another solution will better fulfill your business’s needs.
This being said, whether you’d prefer to stick with a desktop-based platform or are willing to explore web-based options, there are a number of top accounting systems that might be right for your business. Here are three different solutions to consider:
As we’ve mentioned, perhaps the most comparable accounting solution to Sage 50 is the products within the QuickBooks Desktop suite. Therefore, if you’re looking for a similar solution with greater options and a lower price tag, you might consider either QuickBooks Pro, Premier, or Enterprise.
All three of these QuickBooks products are desktop-based, but also offer plan options that include hosting as well. If your business is on the smaller side, you’re probably going to want to look into QuickBooks Pro, one of the most feature-rich accounting solutions out there and the most small business-friendly out of the three options (although, admittedly QuickBooks Pro and Premier are quite similar). You can purchase QuickBooks Pro for a one-time payment of $299.95, which will give you access to core accounting and business finance features, as well as up to three users and a platform that is much easier to set up and use than Sage 50cloud.
On the other hand, if you need more complex and involved accounting software that can offer the most advanced features, you’ll want to look into QuickBooks Enterprise. QuickBooks Enterprise, like Sage 50 includes industry-specific capabilities, as well as top-tier inventory, reporting, and pricing tools.
Ultimately, with more options than Sage 50, more affordable plans, and a platform that is one of the most well-known in the industry, any of the QuickBooks Desktop products are worthy alternatives to Sage 50, especially if you’re looking for another desktop-based solution.
On the other hand, if you’re not tied to a desktop-based accounting solution, you might consider one of the most popular accounting software options on the market, also from QuickBooks, as an alternative to the Sage 50 accounting software: QuickBooks Online.
Unlike QuickBooks Desktop or Sage 50cloud, QuickBooks Online is web-based, giving you account access wherever you have internet. With four plans to choose from and prices ranging from $25 to $180 per month, QuickBooks Online is first and foremost designed for small businesses. Each of the QuickBooks Online plans gives you the flexibility, mobility, and accessibility that Sage 50 is missing—with hundreds of integration options, a mobile app for accounting on the go, and an intuitive platform with core bookkeeping and accounting tools.
Plus, as a QuickBooks product, QuickBooks Online has an extended network of resources, from accountants and bookkeepers to QuickBooks ProAdvisors and community members. Therefore, if you need accounting software that’s reliable, affordable, and offers options that are better suited for small businesses, you’ll certainly want to consider QuickBooks Online.
Finally, you might also consider Xero accounting as a Sage 50cloud alternative. Like QuickBooks Online, Xero is a web-based accounting software—and in fact, has quickly grown to be one of the top QuickBooks Online competitors. Known for the platform’s solid features, intuitive interface, and overall user-friendliness, Xero can easily serve small businesses of all shapes and sizes.
Xero offers three different plans, ranging from $9 to $60 per month. On the whole, Xero provides the capabilities you need to manage and streamline your accounting, from basic invoicing and reconciliation to paying bills, managing inventory, and sending purchase orders. Plus, Xero gives you the ability to connect to over 700 third-party tools, as well as offers direct-payroll integration through their partnership with Gusto.
Therefore, like QuickBooks Online, Xero is a great Sage 50cloud alternative to consider if you’re not tied to a desktop-based solution and you’re looking for an effective and flexible solution that can meet a variety of small business needs.
Now that you’ve made it through our comprehensive Sage 50 accounting review, the final verdict is yours to make. With all of the information about Sage 50cloud that we’ve discussed, plus the knowledge about your business, you’re in the best position possible to decide if this accounting software is right for you.
Overall, it seems like Sage 50cloud is designed first and foremost for midsize businesses that need an enterprise-level accounting solution. Although each of the three Sage 50 plans offers advanced accounting features, the plans are also some of the most expensive on the market. Moreover, as a desktop-based solution with no mobile accounting app, Sage 50 is missing the accessibility and flexibility that many small businesses need.
Nevertheless, only you can determine if this accounting solution will meet your businesses needs and budget—and at the end of the day, if you decide Sage 50 is not right for you, you have many other options to choose from. On the other hand, if you determine that Sage 50 is going to be the best platform for your business, you can easily order and download their accounting software directly from the Sage website.
Meredith Wood is the founding editor of the Fundera Ledger and a GM at NerdWallet.
Meredith launched the Fundera Ledger in 2014. She has specialized in financial advice for small business owners for almost a decade. Meredith is frequently sought out for her expertise in small business lending and financial management.
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