Our Sage accounting software review involves setting up an actual company on a free trial.
Sage offer lots of different options for their software and include:
- Sage Business Cloud Accounting used to be called Sage One
- Sage 50cloud accounts
- Sage 200
We are looking at the Sage Business Cloud Accounting Standard plan for this review. As your business grows, it is possible to upgrade to the different packages.
As a bookkeeper, I have used lots of software and get asked what is best for the business. Every business will need different features, so no one package fits all. For this reason, we do not give stars but give details on the features and ease of use.
Choosing the best accounting software sometimes comes down to personal preference or if another small business owner or accountant has recommended a package. Most accountants and bookkeepers will use several different accounting packages, but it is worth checking if they use the one you choose or have any offers for pricing.
Here is Sage’s introduction; it is worth taking a few minutes to watch as it explains some of the main features.
Our business accounting review will look at how user friendly it is, the history, pros and cons, pricing and features. We will show screenshots of the different features and how they work.
When writing this article, Sage did not offer a free trial period but offered the first 3 months for free. It has some advantages as you can trial the software for 3 months, but you have to give payment details on signing up. Therefore if you decide not to use the software, remember to cancel the subscription. You can cancel the subscription at any time.
Setting up Sage business accounting software is quick and straightforward. It asks a few questions about the business type, number of employees and VAT.
We are using self-employed, with no employees and not registered for VAT for our trial.
Sage Business Cloud Accounting Overview
Sage business cloud accounting is a cloud-based accounting system for small businesses. Once you have a subscription set up, you can access it anywhere with internet access. Sage is compatible with most computers using a web browser and a smartphone using the app.
Sage started as a business start-up in 1981. The Founder was David Goldman. he wanted to create estimates and basic accounting processes and worked with a Newcastle University team to create Sage.
Sage then went from strength to strength as more small businesses automated their accounting processes. Sage is now a worldwide software provider.
Who is Sage For?
Sage has been developed for all businesses, from start-ups to long-running companies. It is suitable for a freelancer and small and medium-sized enterprises.
Both Accountants and non-accountants can use the software. They have tried to make it as user friendly as possible while including as many features.
It has been designed to make the accounting process more straightforward, with the option to invite your accountant or bookkeeper to share the software.
Many professional accountants use Sage as their chosen reliable accounting software.
Why use Sage Business Cloud Accounting?
There are lots of reasons to use Sage for your small business accounting, including:
- Efficient Bookkeeping- Keeping all your records in one place on accounting software that has everything for a small business. Although Excel spreadsheets are helpful, they do not produce the same level of reporting.
- Accurate and Timely Preparation of Reports – With the accounts process improved, it is easier to produce accurate and on time reports.
- MTD – With the introduction of making tax digital for VAT, self-assessment and corporation tax, you can rest assured that Sage will streamline the connection with HMRC.
- Business Planning – Having timely reports means that business decisions can be made by looking at the data. Using the cash flow forecast will assist with this.
- Payroll Services – Using the add on payroll will make everything easy, keeping the process in one place.
- Cloud-based accounting software – You can run Sage on any device as long as you have a decent internet connection. Invite additional users to work on the software together and let your account complete year-end. You will always be on the latest version of the software and operate at multiple locations.
Sage Accounting Software Review: Pros and Cons
Sage Business Cloud Accounting is software for small business accounting using Sage cloud. As with any software, it has pros and cons. We have read through some recent reviews to see what real users think of it.
Pros – easy to use, good customer service available 24/7, unlimited users
Cons – no time tracking, user interface, steep learning curve, lack of invoice templates
Sage Busines Cloud Accounting – Pricing
Although Sage business cloud accounting software does not offer a free trial, they have the first 3 months for three. It allows plenty of time to dig into the software and see if you like it.
Sages offer 3 pricing plans start, standard and plus, which is their premium plan. The starting price is £12 per month, in line with other accounting software pricing.
Sage Online Accounting Software Features
When reviewing any small business accounting software, you need to look at the business needs. Below are the key features of the software, including screenshots and information.
Chart of Accounts
One of the first things I do when starting new software is to check the chart of accounts in the general ledger.
The reason for this is that there might be additional accounts that the business requires to set up, and it is sometimes easier to set up before processing transactions, although they can be added within the transactions as well.
On setup, the general ledger includes 124 codes. It should be enough for most businesses. Below are some of the expense codes for general overheads; as you can see, they are pretty comprehensive.
One of the essential tasks for any business is to create invoices for clients and get paid on time.
Sage has 6 templates built-in 3 for product-based and 3 for service-based small businesses.
Within Sage, you can send invoices via email or print them and send them by post. When you email invoices, there is an email template that you can amend.
On reviewing the templates, I felt that there wasn’t enough choice. The business logo, branding colours and notes can all be added. Some of the other solutions offer more templates or even allow you to upload your own, allowing more options.
One of the features I do like is being able to track invoices and see when the client has viewed them.
If you provide regular subscriptions to customers, recurring invoices are easy to set up and work similarly to creating a sales invoice.
One of the most important things is to make it easy to receive payments. In the notes section, there are several options in Sage to add your bank details or receive payments directly in the invoice using Stripe.
Stripe has simple pricing for 1.4% + 20p per transaction for European cards. So not only is there no monthly charge, but the rates are good for accepting payments.
Customer statements are created from the contacts list; there is an option to make a single statement within the customer, create a customer statement run or set up automatic statements in each customer.
Business Bank Account
It is easy to connect the business bank account and links with most major banks.
Linking bank accounts is the same for nearly all accounting software packages. You choose your bank, sign in as you would for online banking and allow access. Sage will then ask for the date you require transactions from. Some banks will only allow the last 90 days, but I imported transactions for 9 months.
You can set up multiple bank accounts and credit cards, which will enable you to keep track of them all in one place.
Other software I have reviewed have an easy bank link on the dashboard with sage to view the bank transactions you have to go into banking.
Once all the transactions are downloaded, you can create, match or transfer each statement line.
Within Sage business cloud accounting, when you import the bank statements it is at that point it tries to match the transaction to an invoice or bill. If it finds a match, you can accept it.
As a business owner, you may create sales invoices on time but not enter bills until you need to complete your accounting. As Sage creates the match at the point of statement entry, if you post the transactions later, you will need to complete a manual match.
Sage Business Accounting Financial Reports
Generating the best reports for the business within any accounting software is essential. Sage business cloud accounting includes most of the popular reports:
- Profit and Loss (Income statement)
- Balance Sheet
- Trial Balance Report
- Sales Revenue
- Nominal Activity
- Audit Trail
- Vat Return
- Cash Flow Forcast
There is also the option to create and customise reports within an additional feature called Sage Intelligence. Sage Intelligence is included in the standard and plus plans.
For most small businesses, the standard reporting features is enough.
Several options for getting Sage customer support include online chat within the software, telephone support, forums, help section, and videos.
Unlike other accounting software, Sage offers 24/7 unlimited support. The have an excellent support team ready to point you in the right direction.
On UK Trustpilot, their customer support has 85% excellent reviews.
One of the problems I had while setting up the software was when I completed a Google search unless I specified Sage Accounting, I would also get solutions from their other products. It is, therefore, best to search within the software. All in all, their customer support is good.
Using a dedicated mobile app is essential for some businesses on the road a lot. It allows a business owner to create invoices, check bank balances, see how much customers owe and keep on top of the day-to-day running.
Sage allows you to use any mobile device, including Andriod and Apple.
After downloading the app, all the major features are available, including; bank transactions, quotes and estimates, sales invoices, entering bills, and adding attachments.
After adding a sales invoice, there is no option to email it within the software. It is possible, however, to download it and email it across manually.
Overall, the app is suitable for use on the road while out and about.
General Journal Entries
As with all accounting software, Sage can create and post general journals. Journals are required to transfer any figures from one nominal account to another. Journals are used for bad debts, depreciation, prepayments, accruals, correction of errors and any other adjustment.
Sage Business Cloud Accounting Add-Ons
So far, we have looked at the main business cloud accounting features; we will now take a brief look at some of the features that form the Sage business cloud.
If you want to save time on the data entry, Sage links with Auto Entry.
Auto Entry is a product that will capture, categorise and publish financial documents. It extracts essential financial information, uploads it to Sage and saves manual data entry.
An additional cost is involved; it is often free for the first few months and then starts for 50 credits for 11 Euro. A credit is a single invoice or receipt = 1 credit. An invoice or receipt with line items to be captured = 2 credits. A single page of bank statements = 3 credits. Full pricing is available on Auto Entry.
If your small business needs to track stock, keep records of stock levels and re-order levels, you will need the plus plan.
Multi-currency is offered on the Sage business cloud accounting plus plan at £30 per month. It allows you to process transactions in foreign currencies for payments, invoices, credit notes and receipts—the exchange rates for the European Central Bank.
As with most accounting software, Sage offers a payroll service. Their payroll systems are an additional app but integrates with the accounting software.
The pricing of the payroll is based on the number of employees. With a minimum of 5 employees, the price is £17.50 per month. If you only have 1 or 2 employees, it is more expensive than other providers.
Quotes and Estimates
If you send Quotes and estimates to customers, Sage business accounting software can do it for you. Once the quote or estimate is fulfilled, the document can be converted into a sales invoice.
Sage offers a complete HR product that includes time tracking, expenses, performance and leave management. Each module has an additional cost per month per person.
What are the Alternatives to Sage
Sage Accounting is a great cloud-based software and will grow with your business, but what are the alternatives for your financial records? Here we will look at a few options, including other leading software.
FreshBooks – Great for Freelancers, with a simple dashboard and app.
QuickBooks Online – Popular with self-employed and small businesses. The pricing is similar to Sage.
Xero – Recommended by lots of bookkeepers and accountants. It has an easy to use dashboard.
Zoho Books – offers a free version up to a turnover of £35,000. Zoho has over 40 apps that can be added to the accounting solution.
You can also check out our accounting software comparison page.
Sage Accounting Software Review Summary
Sage Business Cloud Accounting is a good all-around accounting package for small and medium-sized businesses.
The pricing plans are similar to other competitors and allow your business to grow by upgrading to other plans.
I found the software not as user friendly as some of the alternatives and their dashboard not as clear.
To see if Sage is suitable for your small business, either take on a free trial or sign up on their offer.