Choosing the right business accounting software is an important decision—one that will affect (and hopefully improve) how you manage your day-to-day bookkeeping, accounting, and other financial processes.
As you search through the different accounting software options on the market, there’s no doubt you’ll come across Sage accounting.
What is Sage in accounting software?
A provider of not only accounting platforms, but other business tools as well, Sage, like QuickBooks, is known for offering a variety of different products—including both Sage Business Cloud Accounting and Sage 50—to accommodate businesses of all shapes and sizes.
With all of the platforms that fall under the suite of Sage accounting software, you may be wondering: How do I know which Sage accounting solution is best for my business?
This Sage accounting software review is here to help. We’ll explore the details of the Sage accounting products, including both features and pricing, so you can compare the different options and determine which might be right for your business.
Before we dive into the details of the different types of Sage accounting software products, let’s start with the basics.
Like QuickBooks, Sage provides a variety of accounting solutions, each designed to help businesses automate and optimize their financial processes. Also like QuickBooks, Sage offers their accounting software in both desktop and web-based versions.
The web-based Sage accounting software products, now known under the title Sage Business Cloud Accounting, were once called Sage One.
In terms of their desktop offerings, Sage accounting software offers a suite of products called Sage 50cloud, which was previously called Peachtree Accounting Software.
This being said, Sage Business Cloud Accounting (formerly Sage One) and Sage 50cloud (formerly Peachtree Accounting Software) are the two product suites that are most relevant to small business owners. Although Sage accounting provides additional business solutions, these systems are designed to accommodate larger businesses with enterprise-level needs.
Within Sage accounting software offerings, the Sage Business Cloud Accounting systems are those that are geared directly toward the needs of small businesses.
Within the Sage Business Cloud Accounting suite, Sage offers two plans: Sage Business Cloud Accounting Start and Sage Business Cloud Accounting.
The Sage Business Cloud Accounting products are web-based, allowing you to access them wherever you have internet. They can also be accessed via tablet or smartphone. The Sage Business Cloud Accounting solutions both include bank-level security, the ability to connect to tools in the Sage App Marketplace, and customer support via phone, chat, and email. You can try either of these Sage plans for free for 30 days, no credit card required.
These are the simplest and most affordable of the Sage accounting software products, making them ideal for smaller businesses that are working with modest budgets and need features to accommodate basic accounting tasks.
Let’s dive into the details of these Sage accounting software solutions.
According to the Sage website, Sage Business Cloud Accounting Start is entry-level accounting software, making it an ideal solution for sole proprietors and micro-businesses.
This plan will provide you with basic bookkeeping and accounting capabilities, including:
The second Sage Business Cloud plan, Sage Business Cloud Accounting, costs $25 per month and is well-suited for small businesses that need to manage invoicing and cash flow.
On top of the features included in the Accounting Start plan, this Sage plan also includes functionality such as:
The next type of Sage accounting software is Sage 50cloud, formerly known as Peachtree Accounting Software.
Compared to the Sage Business Cloud Accounting products we’ve just discussed, Sage 50cloud is a desktop product—meaning it’s locally hosted on a single computer. That said, Sage 50cloud does include some remote access capabilities.
Sage 50cloud is available in three different versions and is priced on an annual subscription basis. Moreover, for the two higher-level Sage 50cloud plans, you have the ability to add multiple users, but this will incur an additional cost.
Just like QuickBooks Desktop, this Sage accounting desktop product is more powerful (but also more expensive) than the web-based counterpart. Therefore, these Sage accounting software options are best suited for larger businesses that need greater functionality from their accounting platform, as well as those that prefer a local solution.
Let’s explore the specifics.
The first plan in the Sage 50cloud suite is Sage 50cloud Pro. With this product, you’ll have single-user access for one company. Sage 50cloud Pro will include the following capabilities:
The next step up is Sage 50cloud Premium. With this version of Sage 50cloud, you’ll be able to access more advanced accounting capabilities and add more users.
This Sage accounting software product will allow you to access all of the features of the Pro plan, plus:
For top-tier access, there’s the Sage 50cloud Quantum plan.
The Quantum plan will be the most costly, yet most advanced version of Sage accounting software.
This product will allow access for up to 40 users and is best-suited as accounting software for medium-sized businesses.
In addition to the features of the previous two Sage 50cloud plans, the Quantum plan will include:
As you can see, the different versions of Sage 50cloud are pretty advanced. Therefore, these Sage accounting software options are going to be well-suited for those businesses that need enterprise-level accounting capabilities and can afford this type of solution.
This being said, it’s also worth noting that although not designed for small businesses, Sage does offer additional accounting software products, like Sage Intacct. These Sage accounting software options are all offered on a quote basis and you can learn more by contacting Sage directly.
Now that we’ve reviewed the features associated with the different types of Sage accounting software, let’s discuss pricing.
As you might expect, the cost of Sage accounting software will vary based on which solution you choose—and with any of the more advanced versions of Sage, like Sage Intacct and Sage 500cloud, you’ll need to contact Sage for pricing information.
With Sage Business Cloud Accounting and Sage 50cloud, on the other hand, pricing can be broken down as such:
As a web-based accounting solution, Sage Business Cloud is priced on a monthly subscription basis.
You can also sign up for a 30-day free trial of either of these plans.
In comparison to Sage Business Cloud Accounting, the Sage 50cloud cost is a little more complex.
With this Sage solution, you’ll have can opt for a monthly or an annual subscription—with a discounted rate if you choose to pay annually. Additionally, with Sage 50cloud Premium and Quantum, your price will vary based on the number of users you require.
Moreover, with any of the Sage 50cloud plans, you have the option to add Microsoft 365 to your account for $150 per year.
Keeping in mind all of the specifics regarding Sage accounting software and the different options available, let’s discuss the most noteworthy benefits and drawbacks of these accounting solutions.
Here are two advantages to consider:
One of the most notable benefits of Sage accounting software is the opportunity for customization that Sage provides. With two unique web-based solutions, as well as multiple versions of Sage 50cloud, you have the ability to explore various Sage accounting products—each with particular features and cost—and find the platform that will work best for your business.
More specifically, in addition to simply deciding between web vs. desktop solutions, within each of these suites, you have different plans to choose from, depending on your needs, and—in the case of Sage 50, you can choose between monthly and annual subscription prices.
With one of the most robust catalog of products, therefore, Sage accounting gives you an impressive ability to find and customize the solution that will best accommodate your business bookkeeping and accounting needs.
The next highlight is, in fact, tied to the customization opportunities that Sage offers. Within the various Sage accounting products, especially the Sage 50cloud solutions, Sage provides some particularly robust functionality, with advanced features that rival QuickBooks Desktop.
Although the Sage 50cloud options are, without a doubt, some of the more expensive accounting software plans out there, they can offer capabilities for budgeting, job costing, auditing, and automated workflows, as well as industry-specific features.
Therefore, if you have a larger or quickly growing business and need your accounting software to accommodate more advanced needs, Sage accounting offers a variety of products that may serve you well.
Now that we’ve covered the positives of Sage accounting software, let’s look at the downsides. Although individually, Sage Accounting Business Cloud and Sage 50cloud may have unique downsides, as a whole, the drawback of the Sage accounting suite can be summed up as such:
Although the advanced features of Sage 50cloud may be a benefit for some, there’s no doubt that overall, the Sage accounting products are costly and geared toward larger businesses.
With all of the different platforms that Sage offers, they only produce two accounting software plans that are suitable for smaller businesses, those within the Sage Business Cloud Accounting suite. This being said, with all of the other products Sage accounting provides, between Sage 50cloud, Sage Intacct, and more, there are many more options for larger businesses that can afford an expensive, enterprise-level solution.
Moreover, when it comes to the two Sage Business Cloud Accounting plans, both are pretty simple and straightforward—and while their basic accounting tools may work for small businesses, there’s nothing to say that there isn’t a comparable or preferable solution available from another provider, as we’ll discuss below.
If you’re unsure if Sage accounting software is suitable for your business’s accounting needs based on the features and pricing we’ve reviewed, it might be helpful to research customer reviews and take a look at what other business owners have to say about their experience with this provider.
With this in mind, let’s see what users have to say about both Sage Business Cloud Accounting and Sage 50cloud.
To start, you’ll find that Sage Business Cloud Accounting is rated fairly well across popular review sites—averaging at least four out of five stars in most places.
This being said, here’s a breakdown of the most common positives and negatives you’ll see in these Sage accounting software reviews:
In comparison to Sage Business Cloud, Sage 50cloud isn’t as highly rated across online review sites. Whereas Sage Business Cloud typically averages four out of five stars, or higher, Sage 50cloud tends to fall below four stars, averaging anywhere from 3.5 to 3.7 stars.
This being said, here’s what Sage 50cloud reviews most often highlight:
With all of the accounting software solutions on the market, it’s worth looking into Sage alternatives—especially considering the limited options Sage offers for small businesses.
This being said, here are two Sage accounting software alternatives to keep in mind:
As we’ve mentioned, with a variety of both web-based and desktop solutions, QuickBooks is similar to Sage in many ways.
However, with less expensive—and yet just as functional, if not more—plans for both QuickBooks Online and Desktop, these accounting software solutions are better designed for meeting the needs of small business owners.
Therefore, you might consider either QuickBooks Online or even one of the QuickBooks Desktop products as an alternative to Sage accounting software.
QuickBooks Online is one of the most popular accounting solutions out there, and with five different plans, ranging in price and functionality, this platform can accommodate a wide range of small businesses. Plus, QuickBooks Online is web-based, includes a mobile app, and gives you the ability to connect to hundreds of other tools—making it a highly flexible and customizable solution.
When it comes to QuickBooks Desktop, on the other hand, you’ll be able to choose from multiple versions—Pro, Premier, and Enterprise—each of which has increasingly advanced features and accommodate those larger and growing businesses that may be interested in Sage 50cloud. On the whole, however, the QuickBooks Desktop products start at a lower price point, with Pro costing a one-time payment of $299.95, than the Sage accounting desktop solutions, with similar, if not greater and more approachable functionality.
Another alternative to Sage accounting software that’s worth considering is Xero Accounting.
Quickly becoming one of the biggest QuickBooks competitors, Xero provides significant accounting functionality with a platform more wholly designed for small businesses.
With Xero, you can choose from three plans—Early, Growing, and Established—which range in price from $9 to $60 per month. Although the Early plan will limit you in terms of the number of invoices, bills, and bank transactions, the Growing and Established plans will provide capabilities comparable, if not greater than those included in the Sage Business Cloud Accounting solutions.
Most notably, Xero allows you to add an unlimited number of users, integrate with over 700 third-party tools, and access your account using their mobile app, as well as accept payments, manage expenses, and monitor project performance.
Therefore, comparing Xero vs. Sage, with approachable, mobile, and affordable accounting plans, Xero is a particularly noteworthy alternative to Sage—especially for small businesses who aren’t impressed with the Sage Business Cloud Accounting options.
At the end of the day, the right business accounting software for you will be the one that best meets your needs and budget.
Will Sage accounting software work for you? Ultimately, that’s for you to decide.
There’s no doubt, however, that considering all of the accounting software solutions designed specifically to accommodate small businesses, Sage falls short.
Although either of the Sage Business Cloud Accounting plans may be able to support very small businesses, there are certainly comparable web-based, low-cost solutions (or even free business accounting software options) that might work as well. Moreover, even though Sage 50cloud may be designed in the vein of QuickBooks Desktop, this solution is certainly better suited for larger businesses—with a high starting cost of over $500 per year for the simplest plan.
That said, only you can determine which accounting platform will best serve your business, and therefore, if you’re interested in any of the Sage accounting software products, it’s worth signing up for a free trial or contacting Sage directly for a demo.
Randa Kriss is a senior staff writer at Fundera.
At Fundera, Randa specializes in reviewing small business products, software, and services. Randa has written hundreds of reviews across a wide swath of business topics including ecommerce, merchant services, accounting, credit cards, bank accounts, loan products, and payroll and human resources solutions.