- Very detailed summary page
- Fully customizable invoices
- Intelligent inventory
- Check printing by default
- Google Drive integration
- 30-day free trial
- No recurring invoicing
- Limited third party app integrations
- No yearly subscription available
When it comes to online accounting solutions there is one company that is considered to be the alpha and omega of all things accounting: Sage, a company founded in 1981 in the UK. Despite its origins, the company’s best-known solution, Sage Business Cloud Accounting, is ideal for businesses based in the U.S. thanks to the fact that it is a powerhouse when it comes to accounting features.
With this software on board, accounting becomes a much simpler experience – and not just because it covers all the needs of a striving business, like the easy creation of invoices, quotes and estimates, well-detailed summaries of the business’s performance and automatically created reports. Sage Business Cloud Accounting also boasts an extremely intelligent inventory with real-time tracking, plus it saves newly created items to Google Drive without the need for any third party add-ons – which can still be applied if you want to further automate tasks. And if that’s not enough, Sage Business Cloud Accounting can be purchased for affordable prices or trialed for free for the first 30 days of use.
Sage Business Cloud Accounting may well be one of the most feature-packed tools when it comes to accounting, but its use definitely requires some practice. Take, for example, the Summary page, which has five different tabs that crams in access to the most important commands, two separate dashboards showing sales and expenses, a cash flow statement and a cash flow forecast.
The list of main features available from the online account is equally extensive, consisting of everything you might need: from sales and expenses to contacts and reports, the last of which has so many types that your accountant will be more than happy. There are also additional settings that hide other important features, particularly covering taxes, checks and currencies, but also dealing with options for faster invoice payment or integration with Google Drive.
However, the most important functions revolving around payments, invoicing and bills can all be quickly accessed by clicking a dedicated button. Newcomers will really appreciate the option to activate a guide that briefly explains everything about individual features, a huge asset in helping users make the most of Sage Business Cloud Accounting and its long list of features.
Creating an invoice, whether from a quote or estimate or put together from scratch, is pretty easy, especially since the software already stores information about customers, inventory items and tax rates. Certain aspects of the invoice must first be set up in the settings, such as particular tax rates, quick payment options or even the overall appearance of the invoice, but once all this has been tweaked the actual process of creating, saving, emailing and even printing an invoice is incredibly quick. From then on all your invoices are tracked, so it’s always possible to see their current status.
However, there is one major and rather annoying problem that cannot be avoided, regardless of which Sage Business Cloud Accounting subscription plan you’re signed up to: the software doesn’t support recurring invoices at all.
Although it’s only available in the top Sage Business Cloud Accounting plan, the inventory is one of the main strengths of the software due to the richness of its features. Creating an item is already quite an involved and thorough experience, since all sorts of information can be entered, from the sale and purchase price to various attributes of the item in question. Not only that, but items can be categorized according to their type – stock, non-stock and service – and if they form part of your stock then they are tracked by the software, which will warn you should it need to be refilled.
Creating a check is no more complicated than putting together a bill, since all it requires is the vendor, the bank account that will be used for payment and the amount that will be paid. Once all these things have been set, the check is ready to be printed out right away, provided that you possess the right check paper stock as issued by either Sage (sold separately) or – and this is quite surprising – by QuickBooks.
The good news is that Sage Business Cloud Accounting is accessible from mobile browsers and has no features disabled. However, using the regular account is not recommended for smartphone users, since the website doesn’t adapt to mobile screens too well.
The other option for managing your accounting is with the Sage Expenses & Invoices app, available for devices running iOS or Android. As its name suggests, the application mostly focuses on functions for invoicing and expense management. In this way invoices can easily be created, sent and tracked on the go, or even record a client’s payment on the spot.
Interestingly, the app also provides inventory management, which is a huge asset in keeping stocks up-to-date at all times. And, naturally, the app is a great tool for expense management as well, since receipts can be captured with the device’s camera and attached to bills in an instant.
Sadly the app’s list of features stops here. Being able to see the current performance of your business and manage your contacts is indeed a great asset, but to access reports, journals, banking features, and any other settings you’ll annoyingly need to head to the desktop version.
Integrations & Extra Services
Although Sage Business Cloud Accounting already provides one built-in integration option – Google Drive – and fully supports custom add-ons through its API, its list of third party apps is limited to only 28 items. It doesn’t seem terrible at first, but when compared to the apps offered to the UK clientele or by Sage’s competitors the list is quite small indeed. Still, the available add-ons do pretty much cover everything you might need, whether that’s expense management, customer relationship management, billing and invoicing apps, and even taxing solutions. Some of the key extras that are compatible include:
With this sales tax automation software on board, managing tax-related tasks like accurately calculating, validating and remitting taxes becomes easy as pie. And to make things even better, Avalara is based on the revolutionary concept of blockchain technology, the future of online accounting.
Providing a service for as low as $5 per month is one thing, but the reason why Expensify is considered to be one of the top expense management tools on the market is its vast list of features, which includes automated categorization of expenses, immediate processing of receipts captured with a smartphone, and even a built-in time tracker available for the app’s mobile version.
This document management solution automatically fetches all financial data from Sage Business Cloud Accounting and creates matching transactions that contain all key data of the original invoices, quotes and bills alongside the source documents.
Not only is Sage Business Cloud Accounting’s pricing policy ridiculously simple – providing only two subscription plans – but it also allows newcomers to try out the accounting solution for free for the first 30 days. However, there is one catch with this free trial: users will have to decide in advance which version of Sage Business Cloud Accounting they want to try, although subscribers of the basic plan are more than welcome to upgrade at any time.
As for the plans themselves, there is Sage Business Cloud Accounting Start, the basic plan that costs $10 per month comes with the most important features, like debtor tracking, the automated bank feed, check printing, and even 1099 management. Sage Business Cloud Accounting Accounting, on the other hand, adds inventory management, unlimited users, quotes and estimates, and cash flow forecasts into the mix. Moreover, it’s also capable of handling multiple companies with a single account – a very rare feature – and can issue invoices in different currencies as well. With all these extra features sadly the cost does rise, meaning that Sage Business Cloud Accounting Accounting is $25 per month with no option of reducing this cost. With either plan, payment methods include wire transfer or Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover credit or debit cards.
It’s pretty unfortunate that the prices of both plans are fixed and have to be paid on a monthly basis. On one hand this pricing policy is good news, since subscriptions can be terminated any time without any major restrictions. But on the other hand, however, this means that options for discounts – whether the result of a long-term contract or a temporary offer by the company – are sadly out of question.
Customer service and additional support options are definitely the forte of the Sage Group – but they are scattered all over the place, meaning that finding the right method for help may take longer than expected.
The easiest way of getting the necessary support is by starting a live chat, where all questions are answered in an instant in a prompt and courteous manner. There is also the option to leave an inquiry on Sage’s Customer Community page, but note that getting answers may take up to 48 hours. This sort of live support is limited to business days, too, and available between 8am to 6pm ET.
For everything else, the options are quite robust: from the incredibly extensive blog, community forums that deal with various topics, tutorials on how to use Sage Business Cloud Accounting (or any other Sage service), and even free of charge online courses available through Sage University.
After seeing the full potential of Sage Business Cloud Accounting first hand, it’s not surprising that the company has been around since the early 80s. However, we can’t help but feel that Sage’s solution is trying too hard to prove that it’s capable of almost everything that businesses expect from accounting software – and that diligence has sadly lead to some serious hiccups, such as the lack of recurring invoicing.
Despite this, Sage Business Cloud Accounting is a powerhouse with many great features, like the insanely detailed dashboards, the intelligent inventory – which is one of the best that we have come across – and built-in integration with Google Drive. But it’s the convenience of Sage Business Cloud Accounting that is its biggest asset, since it not only highlights the most important features but provides access to them in the dedicated mobile application, too. All of this is provided with two very affordable pricing plans that come with free trials and an extensive customer service, making Sage Business Cloud Accounting a considerable choice for those who are intending to take their business accounting seriously.