Sage Accounting is an excellent platform for businesses that regularly manage their stock list. It has a convenient inventory feature and a tracker to manage your item quantity. Sage Intelligence, one of Sage Accounting’s free add-ons, is also suitable for businesses that need to spruce up their reports with colors and charts.
Even though it’s easy to use and includes most of the standard features that other platforms have, it has limited automation options. Additionally, the features in its cheapest plan, Accounting Start, are not worth the price, as you can get most of them for free with its competitor, Wave Accounting.
If Sage Accounting sounds like the best platform for you, check out its free 30-day trial or continue reading this Sage Accounting software review for more details.
However, if Sage Accounting is not right for you, you can browse through our best accounting software article to find the best fit for your business.
What Is Sage?
Sage is a company that provides software to help businesses manage their resources. Sage Business Cloud Accounting, or Sage Accounting, is its cloud-based accounting platform designed to help small businesses manage their finances.
Besides Sage Accounting, Sage also provides supporting tools for its services and platforms for bigger businesses. For now, though, let’s talk about Sage’s most affordable platform, Sage Accounting.
Strengths & Weaknesses
- Dependable inventory tracker
- Can process credit card payments
- Attractive reporting through Sage Intelligence
- No payroll
- No recurring bills or invoices
- No automatic invoice reminder
Alternatives for Sage Business Cloud Accounting
Sage’s features are easy to use, and its inventory tracker is very helpful. However, it lacks some basic features, such as payroll and recurring bills, which causes Sage to lack that extra punch needed to match its competitors.
Sage’s automation options are almost nonexistent, which makes Sage a poor choice if you want to increase efficiency. You can add more features through Sage’s add-ons and integrations.
The most notable feature with Sage is its inventory tracker. Sage lets you keep three types of items in your inventory: stock, non-stock and service. To add an item to your inventory, you can either click the “new item” button on Sage’s “services & products” page or click the “+” button on the right side of the navigation bar to open the quick-add menu.
Sage tracks your item quantity through the invoices and bills you created. You can also monitor the overall state of your inventory through the “products & services” page, which displays a detailed table of your items.
When creating or adding a new inventory item, Sage’s menu lets you pick the details that will be included in your invoices and bills. You can add up to three sales prices for one product, so you can alternate between prices with one click when creating a new invoice.
You can also set up a reorder point. There’s a summary at the top of the “products & services” page that will tell you the state of your inventory. However, unlike QuickBooks Online, Sage doesn’t let you restock from this page. You have to manually restock an item by billing it through the “expenses” page.
Besides the features available on Sage Accounting, Sage offers other basic features, such as payroll and payment processing. However, these features are add-ons for your account. Other platforms, such as Xero, offer these features within one subscription plan, which you can learn more about in our Xero review.
Even though Sage has its own payment processing service, you can still accept credit card payment by connecting your Sage Accounting plan with Stripe through the “settings” page, which other platforms, such as Wave and FreshBooks, also do. Keep in mind that there is an extra fee for processing credit cards through Stripe.
Even though Sage Accounting’s pricing seems low at first glance, Sage’s service holds less value than other platforms. Its Accounting Start plan only lets you use Sage’s invoices and bank connection features. In comparison, Wave lets you use both features for free (read our Wave review to learn more).
You also need to contact Sage’s support to get the price for extra features, so you can’t estimate how much money you’ll pay to use Sage’s full service.
Sage Accounting’s pricing is lower than most accounting platforms. It has two pricing plans: Accounting Start and Accounting. The only accounting platforms that have a lower price for their starting plan is Xero, with $9 per month on its Starter plan, and Wave, which is free for its basic version.
However, if you focus on the features, you’ll find that Sage is not that cheap compared to other platforms. For instance, its Accounting Start plan, which costs $10 per month, only gives you access to Sage’s invoicing and bank reconciliation features.
Sage vs Xero
In comparison, Xero’s Starter plan unlocks all of Xero’s features (with some limitations), including inventory and reports. With Sage, these features are available in the next plan, Accounting, which costs $25 per month. This upgrade unlocks additional features, including estimates and bills.
Sage is one of the best software options for inventory tracking — along with QuickBooks Online and Xero — so if you need an inventory feature, the price is fair. Otherwise, you can get most of Sage’s features through Wave for free.
To get access to Sage’s add-on for payroll and payment processing, request a demo through Sage’s website. Other accounting platforms also often add payroll as an extra. However, because you have to contact Sage’s customer support, it’s unclear how much money you’ll need to pay for Sage’s full potential.
Setting up an account with Sage Accounting’s free 30-day trial is easy; you only need to fill out your email address, personal details and business details.
However, if it’s your first time trying out Sage, it’s a little confusing because there are a lot of software options to choose from. Sage offers its extra services separately, so you have to contact Sage’s customer support for more information.
To set up a free trial, select the “free trial” button on the “pricing” page, and then you have to fill out a series of forms, including your email address, password, business details and tax details.
The first time you log in, you’ll see a welcome page where Sage suggests what you need to do to set up your account. Compared to FreshBooks or QuickBooks Online, Sage’s welcome page is not as user-friendly or intuitive. Like Xero, there is a lot of text and many links to click, which can overwhelm a new user.
Even though the welcome page is crowded, the other pages are easier to understand, looking more clean and professional. There is plenty of space on each page, and they all display a detailed table of your data. You can customize the tables through the gear icon on the left side of the column head, so you can pick what column you want to see for each table.
You’ll find Sage’s navigation bar on the top of the window containing all of Sage’s features, its help link and the settings. Sage organizes the navigation bar neatly, with the features grouped according to their functions. The “+” button on the right side of the navigation bar lets you quickly add entries, such as invoices or bills.
The “summary” page keeps an overview of all of your finances in one place. This page divides your data into several categories: “sales,” “expenses,” “cash flow statements” and “cash flow forecasts.” The summary presents your business’ data through charts, making it easier to understand.
Sage’s invoicing feature is easy to use. The “invoices” page displays a detailed table of your invoices and a “new invoice” button on the top-left side. Creating an invoice is quick and easy, if you already have your customers and items on Sage’s contacts list and inventory.
The table on Sage’s “invoice” page is slightly more detailed than Xero’s, as it shows your customers’ phone numbers. If you primarily contact your customers by phone, this format is useful because you don’t have to open each invoice to retrieve your client’s contact information.
However, Sage doesn’t allow you to set up invoice reminders or recurring invoices, which would help you run your business more efficiently.
To create a new invoice, you can either click on the “+” button on the navigation bar and select the “sales invoice” option or click the “new invoice” button on the “invoices” page. If you have accepted quotes or estimates, you can also quickly create an invoice through the “create invoice” button on each quote’s or estimate’s status pages.
Sage will take you to the “new invoices” page after you click on the “new invoice” option on the “+” menu or the “invoices” page. You can fill in the details of your invoice in this “new invoice” page, including the items, customer and date. You can type on the “customer” form to pick a customer from your existing contacts or create a new one through the “add a customer” button.
To select an item for your invoice, type in the box marked “item,” and you can pick an item from your inventory or add a new one through the “create item” button.
If the item is already in your inventory, Sage will automatically fill out everything according to your inventory details, except for the “discount” column. It’s not locked in, so if you have a special condition for a particular sale, you can change it manually.
A downside to Sage’s “invoice” feature is that you can’t make recurring invoices or invoice reminders. For some businesses, these features are important, especially if your main goal is to automate most of your business’ finances. However, Sage allows you to print packing slips for your invoices, which is useful if you often need to send your customer orders.
Similar to its “invoices” feature, Sage’s “bills” feature is easy to use, but it lacks the automation functions that can help you manage your expense tracking.
There are two ways to create a new bill: the “+” button on the navigation bar or through the “vendor bills” page by clicking the “new bill” button, which takes you to the “new vendor bill” page.
As with invoices, you can create a new vendor or pick one from your vendors list when you click on the “vendor” box. When you type in the “item” form, you can select an item from your inventory, which will show up below the form. Sage automatically fills out the details of your item if you use your inventory.
Unfortunately, this is all you can get from Sage’s “expenses” feature. You can’t set up a recurring invoice or an invoice reminder, like you can with QuickBooks Online, nor can you pay your bills online (read our QuickBooks Online review if you want to learn more).
Sage’s “bills” feature is great for keeping track of your expenses, but similar platforms, such as QuickBooks Online or Xero, take it one step further by providing automation functions, such as repeating bills or bill reminders. Read our Xero vs. QuickBooks Online comparison to find out which platform is better.
Sage offers 23 report templates and access to Sage Intelligence, its reporting service. Sage Accounting’s reporting feature, on its own, is nothing special. It limits the report customization option to the date range and sorting order for most reports.
However, an add-on to Sage Intelligence makes Sage’s reports look more appealing, and you can also create a custom report template.
Sage’s 23 report templates are divided into seven categories: “essential reports,” “detailed reports,” “cash reports,” “tax reports,” “product & service reports,” “online payment reports” and “data reports.”
The “essential reports” category contains the main reports you use to monitor your business, such as “profit & loss,” “balance sheet” and “accounts receivable.”
The “detailed reports” option offers more in-depth knowledge about your finances, such as “general ledger,” “profit analysis” and “sales revenue.”
The “cash reports” contains reports — such as “cash flow statement” — about your cash flow and transactions so you can see where your money is moving.
The “tax reports” category has two reports, the “sales tax report” and “1099 vendor report,” which are useful when the U.S. tax season comes around.
The “products & services” option only has one report, “stock movements,” which lets you see the state of your inventory during a certain period.
The “online payment reports” also only has one template, “Paya,” which is a payment service that can be used with Sage to see the payments made using Paya.
The last category, “data reports,” contains the “contacts personal data” report, which lets you remove contacts you don’t need anymore.
Besides Sage Accounting’s reporting function, you can also access Sage Intelligence through the “sage intelligence” link on the top right of the “reporting” page. Sage Intelligence’s report formats are more appealing than Sage Accounting’s standard reports.
The colors and charts in Sage Intelligence’s templates makes it looks better compared to Sage Accounting’s standard report. Sage Intelligence also lets you export your reports into an XLSX file or a PDF file.
As of December 2019, there are fewer than 20 report templates you can use. However, you can create a custom report by going to the “my reports” tab and clicking the “create a custom report” button.
Sage offers a wealth of information for its users to explore, including a blog, help pages and paid courses.
To reach Sage’s support, click the “help” button on the right side of the navigation bar, which will open your profile on the Sage Customer Community. On the very top bar, you’ll see a search box where you can look for both discussions and articles in the Sage Customer Community.
Through the Sage Customer Community, you can access Sage’s help articles, discussion and Sage University, where you can purchase courses offered by Sage. There are courses on Sage’s products, but there are also courses on general skills, such as accounting and bookkeeping.
If you want to reach Sage’s support, click the green “chat offline create a case” button on the right side of the profile page. Then, fill out a form to clarify your problem, and Sage’s customer support will get back to you within 48 hours.
Sage lacks the extra features needed to beat its competitors. The lack of reminders and recurring bills or invoices may be a deal breaker for some business, especially for those that are looking to increase their efficiency.
However, its inventory feature is great and has a tracking function, which other platforms rarely have. Sage Intelligence — its reporting add-on — produces reports that look great, and you can create custom reports.
Sage’s price may seem cheap at first, but it doesn’t offer a lot of features for $10. Many of the features offered at this price are also available with Wave, a free, small-business accounting tool.
Sage’s pages have a neat interface, which makes it easy to navigate. However, some pages are overcrowded with links, which can overwhelm users. Sage Accounting’s support offers a lot of content, including paid courses, help articles and a discussion forum.
If you like what you’ve read so far, try Sage’s free 30-day trial to see for yourself if Sage is a good fit for your business.
Have you used Sage before? We’d love to hear what you think in the comments section below. Thank you for reading.